Workforce Coalition marks milestone with tenth graduating class

BEDFORD – After three weeks of technical and employability skills training, seven Lawrence County residents became
the tenth graduating class of the Lawrence County Introduction to Local Jobs and Skills program, marking a milestone for the county’s Workforce Coalition.

Each participant now has a clear path to their “next step,” whether it involves completing their High School Equivalency (at no cost), post-secondary education, Next Level Jobs training (at no cost), a job/career, or a combination of these.

Through this process coordinated by the Lawrence County Economic Growth Council’s (LCEGC) Workforce Coalition, students were able to decide on paths of Construction, Machining, and Welding. One participant chose to test for an American Welding Society Qualification in Gas Metal Arc Welding (MIG) and passed the test. That student has now been accepted into welding school, tuition-free, beginning in November. All participants could also learn about Health & Safety careers and receive certification in CPR, first aid, and Stop the Bleed. A portion of the participants will be continuing their education with the Lawrence County Adult Education program to obtain their High School Equivalency Diplomas (HSE). A few intend to enroll in Indiana’s Next Level Jobs program as they’ve shown interest in advancing on to construction, machining, welding, and health careers.

Lawrence County Economic Growth Council Director of Career Development Joe Timbrook says, “We know there is a large population of residents in Lawrence County that, with some training, could fill the current increasingly high employment openings we see with our local and high-demand jobs. During this program, we were excited to have representatives from Bedford Machine & Tool, General Motors, Harris Services, IKORCC, ILTI, IN-FAB, Lehigh, Living Well Home Care Service, and WF Meyers speak about their companies, current employment openings, and additional training opportunities to ILJAS participants. Grace Thompson, a local Purdue Extension educator, also joined us to discuss how to prepare a resume/cover letter, interview skills, dress for success, and practice team-building principles.”

Joe Timbrook

“We’d like to thank our sponsors, Lawrence County Community Foundation and Duke Energy; our partner, North Lawrence Career Center; with special thanks to our instructors, Brad Gilbert, Matt Olson, David McCart, and Arienne Evans for supporting this effort,” says Timbrook. “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.”

The Lawrence County Workforce Coalition is currently accepting students for the next cohort. The ideal student is a Lawrence County resident not yet earning a living wage. If you are interested in participating in the program, or an employer interested in conducting interviews and/or getting involved, please contact Joe Timbrook at 812-583-1095 or

About the Lawrence County Economic Growth Council: The Lawrence County Economic Growth Council is a non-profit, local economic development organization (LEDO) existing to support the growth of Lawrence County Businesses including startup support, workforce solutions, and technical assistance which promotes investment that improves the quality of life for our citizens. Learn more at