(LAWRENCE COUNTY) – After three weeks of technical and employability skills training, six inspiring Lawrence County residents will become the first graduating class of the Lawrence County Introduction to Local Jobs and Skills program.
Back in December of 2017, Former Bedford Mayor Shawna Girgis wrote a grant to the Department of Indiana Department of Workforce Development with three goals in mind:
- Prepare students for careers in high school
- Increase post secondary attainment
- Increase adult education and training programs, certifications, and employment
Thanks to the Lawrence County Economic Growth Council’s Workforce Coalition, its many partners and the students’ dedication, each student has received a certificate of completion and a clear path to their next steps.
The graduation ceremony took place Friday, July 31st at the StoneGate Arts & Education Center where graduates received certificates and awards. Each graduate spoke about being part of the program and all said they were thankful for the opportunity to take part in the program.
The graduation was a celebration of student achievements as every student is walking away with one or more opportunities for their future. This includes job offers to continuing education.
“This wasn’t simply about getting individuals exposed to potential careers and sharpening skills, but also coaching students to help discover what they want their futures to look like,” says Heather Nash, Director of Programming. “These students are leaving the program with the tools and motivation to take that next step, whatever it might be.”
As a member of the Skillful Indiana Governor’s Coaching Corps, Nash was able to counsel students by implementing the career coaching training she’s received.
Through this process, students were able to decide on paths of education, employment or a combination of the two.
Three will be continuing their education with the Lawrence County Adult Education program to obtain their High School Equivalency Diplomas (HSE).
Two intend to enroll in Indiana’s NextLevelJobs program as they’ve shown interest in advancing on to coding and welding careers. In addition to these life-long education opportunities, full-time job offers have been extended to at least two graduates and more are expected to follow as two others will be interviewing for their dream jobs.
The Indiana Laborer’s Institute has also been very involved, accepting three student applications and interviews for the Laborer’s Union Apprenticeship. Jeremy Brewer, the Apprenticeship Coordinator with the Institute, says, “The education, development of soft skills and hands-on training these graduates have received has prepared them for a new career in the construction industry. Following the interviews, there will be an opportunity for a life-changing career.”
Accepted applicants will be earning a combined living wage over $42/hour, including full healthcare with vision and dental for their families, plus a pension and annuity at no cost to the member. As a result of the success, plans are already in place to continue the program and quickly begin the next cohort.
“We’d like to thank our community partners, particularly the North Lawrence Career Center and instructors for supporting this effort,” says Joe Timbrook, Director of Career Development for the LCEGC. “This program is life-changing and it’s been humbling to witness; however, none of it would have been possible without this community of invested stakeholders coming together to make it happen.”
Classes were conducted at the North Lawrence Career Center with three focuaes including welding, construction trades and machining taught by certified NLCC instructors David McCart, Matt Olson and Brad Gilbert, respectively.
Linda Henderson with Families Forever also taught three soft-skills sessions focusing on a wide range of professionalism topics such as workplace etiquette and effective communication.
Lawrence County Prosecutor Sam Arp told the six men to “Pay it Forward” in his closing remarks to the graduates.
The Workforce Coalition is currently accepting students for the next class. If you are interested in participating in the program, or an employer interested in conducting interviews and/or getting involved, please contact Heather Nash at 812-275-4493 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.