Starting in January, Piedmont Technical College is launching a new program titled “Ready to Work” that is designed to help individuals overcome challenges that may prevent them from finding jobs. The program will provide training for well paid, highly skilled careers in manufacturing.
“We are very excited about this new program,” said Rusty Denning, Associate VP for Economic Development and Continuing Education. “We hope it will help members of our community get back to work and fill the workforce needs of area employers.”
Based on recent feedback from SCWorks, readySC, and employers, many of the individuals who aren't currently working in the region include "at risk" populations with lacking skillsets, and, in many cases, with background issues. Due to upcoming labor force demands, employers will need to utilize these groups in the community to fill positions in their organizations.
“These groups can’t get to work without some assistance,” said Denning. “And that’s where Piedmont Tech comes in.”
The “Ready to Work” program will help participants with more than just job training.
“We are taking the guesswork out of it for them,” said Trish Buis, training coordinator for Economic Development and Continuing Education. “Somebody can go through this program and develop the skills and credentials they need to get to work and we will be there to help them every step of the way.”
According to Buis, participants will receive personalized case management from Piedmont Tech employees to help connect them with community services they may require, such as record expungement and GED preparation. The program will also provide each participant with a clearly defined, three-step training process that will position them for successful careers and actual jobs that are in demand now.
“We have partnered with employers in the region to help program participants get to work after they’ve completed their training,” said Buis.
The program begins with a three-week comprehensive workshop geared toward preparing these individuals for the modern workforce.
“The job readiness workshop is designed to provide participants with a foundation of manufacturing knowledge,” said Denning. “Participants will also be demonstrating to employers that they have the necessary skills, and are committed to becoming employed.”
The second phase of the program will allow participants to bridge their training into a Quickskills certificate program at the college. Specifically, those who have successfully completed the workshop can enroll in the Manufacturing Production Technician certificate program, which includes certifications from the Manufacturing Skills Standards Council (MSSC), as well as Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt certification.
Participants who continue to the third phase of the program will enroll in an associate degree program at the college. They will be able to bridge the training from the previous phases to a degree in either Machine Tool Technology or Mechatronics Technology.
All of these steps end in an important place for these individuals—a career.
“Beyond connecting them to services and providing training, participants in this program will be gaining skills through each step of this process that employers have told us they need in their employees,” said Denning. “And they are going to be connected with HR reps, and companies who are hiring in this region every step of the way.”
To make this program more accessible, the college has also secured funding that will allow participants to complete parts of this training at little or no cost.
“The tuition for the first two steps of the program are free for qualifying participants,” said Denning. “Combined, the workshop and the certificate are close to a $3,000 value.”
Participants must be at least 18 years old, provide proof of residence in South Carolina and complete the WorkKeys job skills assessment. They will also need to do a background check and drug screening, requiring a $55, non-refundable fee. This fee will be credited toward tuition when the individual continues on to the associate degree phase of the program.
“With the new year on the horizon, it’s a great time for those who could benefit from this program to make a resolution to increase their skillset and make themselves more employable,” said Buis. “Even if they have something in their past that has made it difficult for them to find a job, this program could help them overcome that obstacle.”
The job readiness workshop starts on January 26.
Interested persons may attend an information session any Tuesday at PTC’s Continuing Education office on North Emerald Road. Identical sessions will be held at 10:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.
To learn more about the program, visit www.ptc.edu/ready or call 864-941-8400.