The Southern Virginia Higher Education Center (SVHEC) recently held a completion ceremony for the second cohort of students to complete the Advanced Manufacturing Boot Camp: Work Ready Foundations (WRF) program. Jessica Bowman, Jason Bullock, Valerie Falcon, Cassandra Hurt, Richard Newton, Christopher Toombs-Womack, Keonte Walker, and Darryl Wilkerson all successfully completed the seven-week work-readiness training program and have the credentials and training to prove they are work ready.
“The purpose of this program is to equip individuals to go to work,” said Workforce Services@SVHEC Project Coordinator Sandra Conner. “We provide a combination of technical and soft skills including 32 hours of mechanical-electrical training and tours of manufacturing facilities in the area. We then give the participants back to the community as work-ready job applicants,” Conner continued.
Program completers earned 10 college credits and eight industry-recognized credentials including the National Career Readiness Certificate, OSHA 10, Lean Principles, 5S, and Standard Work Certificate. One participant, Jason Bullock, also earned the Virginia Manufacturer’s Association Manufacturing Specialist Certification. In addition, a mini-job fair was held for program completers and all participants received at least one job offer.
During the seven-week WRF program, participants attended class 37-40 hours for per week for a total of 230 hours of training. Classes covered both
technical and soft skills needed for entry-level success in today’s workplace. Technical skills training included Electrical Fundamentals, Mechanical Concepts, Applied Math Fundamentals, and Introduction to Programmable Logic Controls (PLC). WRF soft skills training including courses like Job Search Strategies, CPR/First Aid, and OSHA 10 General and Construction.
WRF program completer Cassandra Hurt stated, “When I heard Manufacturing Boot Camp I thought ‘that’s not something I would do’ because I’ve been a personal care aide for many years. But I decided to do something different and I’m so glad I did. I’m glad I learned through this process to be open-minded about everything. Don’t ever put yourself in a box.”
Dale Moore, CEO and Founder of Moore’s Electrical & Mechanical and founder of Virginia Technical Institute both in Altavista, VA, served as the completion ceremony’s guest speaker. He told program completers he was proud of them for stepping up. “When you don’t have a job you can get consumed in that but you didn’t let that happen--you did something about it,” he said.
Although he is now a successful businessman, Moore shared his humble beginnings describing himself as a high school drop out who “hated school” all of his life. “I grew up poor and thinking I was stupid.” After leaving school in the 11th grade he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corp, and eventually attended a technical school where he trained as an electrician. It was there that the light turned on for him and he realized that he enjoyed working with his hands and was technically gifted. He eventually started Moore’s Electrical and Mechanical--a successful HVAC and construction company employing 600 people and serving residential and commercial customers in North Carolina and Virginia. Moore shared the key to workplace success is putting others first. “The more unselfish we become the more blessed in life we are. Always put others first--that’s how we grow.”
Work Ready Foundations is a competency-based comprehensive training program designed by Workforcce Services@SVHEC staff and others to prepare individuals for entry-level positions with area employers. The program was created in response to the needs of local employers, and is endorsed by the Halifax County Chamber of Commerce’s Senior Executive Roundtable. “Employers who support Work Ready Foundations will benefit by having an applicant pool of skilled, work ready individuals available to fill their vacant positions,” said Deloris Jones, Workforce Services@SVHEC, Project Coordinator.
Enrollment is now open for the next Work Ready Foundations cohort. For more information visit www.svhec.org/workready or contact Deloris Jones, Project Coordinator at email@example.com, 434-572-5593, and toll free 1-800-283-0098 ext. 5593.