September 2014, Jason Bullock and Richard "Sterlin" Newton became proud completers of the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center's Work Ready Foundations Program© (WRF). The seven-week work readiness training program prepared Bullock and Newton with the skills, knowledge, and credentials needed for entry-level employment in an advanced manufacturing environment.Bullock and Newton interviewed with Brent Gates, Vice President of Operations at TMI Auto Tech, Inc. in Alton, Virginia at the WRF end of program mini-job fair. It didn't take long for them to showcase their potential, and make an impression on their future employer.
"During the mini job fair Jason and Sterlin seemed enthusiastic about working for TMI. Seeing that they took the initiative to participate in the Work Ready Foundations program and showed up for eight weeks of training that proved that they were serious about wanting a job," Gates stated. Within weeks of completing the WRF program, Gates offered both gentlemen positions as assembly technicians--the most difficult position within the TMI organization.
"The assembly technician is not working on just one part, but has to learn the entire vehicle. The chassis comes to the technician and everything else is assembled in this department to complete the car. Their job is very specific and the most detailed one we have at TMI Auto Tech, Inc.," Gates stated.
It takes a unique individual with special skills to work in a small manufacturing facility like TMI Auto Tech, Inc., and Gates believes the Work Ready Foundations program provided the foundational training needed for Bullock and Newton to be successful. "The general knowledge, hands-on practice, and OSHA training all gave them the foundation they needed to be successful. We look for employees who are enthusiastic about their work--who enjoy what they are doing. Jason and Sterlin have a sense of pride in their work," Gates continued.
For Jason Bullock and Sterlin Newton, the Work Ready Foundations training was a life changing experience. Prior to enrolling in the work readiness-training program Bullock was doing odd jobs and Newton was unemployed. Deloris Jones, project coordinator for Workforce Services@SVHEC stated "when WRF successful completers tell me they like their job and look forward to coming to work I know this training program did what it was supposed to do. It is absolutely wonderful helping our citizens increase their skills, knowledge, and abilities that enables them to become gainfully employed."
Today, Bullock and Newton are gainfully employed, making a living wage, with fulfilling work. "I look forward to coming to work," Bullock stated.
Both men say the WRF program provided them with valuable skills they put to use every day. "Being in class mentally prepared me for the learning process I went through on the job. The applied math came in handy because of the different ratios I have to memorize, and OSHA 10 gave me a greater understanding of how these skills are needed in an advanced technician position," Bullock continued.
Newton agreed the WRF skills he learned were invaluable. "I learned teamwork and how to pay attention to details. The mechanical concepts and electrical fundamentals classes Mr. Ricky Gordon taught really prepared me for the work I'm doing at TMI."
The Work Ready Foundations program is an initiative of the Workforce Services division of the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center. The SVHEC is now recruiting for the next cohort of Work Ready Foundations participants. The program boasts an 86% job placement rate for successful program completers. To learn more attend an information session at the SVHEC at 10am or 2:30pm on December 4th, 9th, 11th, 16th, or 18th and during January 2015 or contact Deloris Jones at 434-572-5593 or 1-800-283-0098 ext 5593.