A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for adults interested in jobs in the industrial construction trades is underway. Recruitment of students for the new program, preparing workers for locally in-demand jobs, will begin in December.
Industrial construction jobs in the region are unique for the fact that they are in demand. This means that there are few certified candidates for the current job openings. In fact, local employers currently have many open, full-time positions that offer stability and advancement for trained adults. These positions offer a beginning wage of approximately $25,000 ($12 an hour), increasing to $35-40,000 depending on job classification and performance.
The Regional Adult and Career Education Program of Lee, Scott, Wise and Norton Public Schools, Brock, TEC Industrial, Mountain Empire Community College and the Southwest Virginia Workforce Development Board have partnered to offer a short-term, intensive training program from February to May in Gate City. Called the PluggedInVA Industrial Construction Trades Program, the training will help students obtain the skills required by employers such as Brock, TEC Industrial and other local construction firms.
The training will support crafts such as industrial painting, carpentry, insulation and maintenance. Participants can earn a GED, if needed, along with the NCCER Core certification, a credential that is highly valued and often required by employers in the construction industry. Students will also earn 12 college credits from Mountain Empire Community College, OSHA Safety, Digital Literacy and Career Readiness Certifications.
The program is free for eligible participants. High school graduates are eligible for consideration, but priority will be given to applicants who either have a GED or who are currently working to earn a GED. Classes will begin in Gate City at the Scott County Career and Technical Center in early February and will be held three nights a week, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m.
Space in the program is limited to 14 seats, and candidates must meet specific standards. Since full-time jobs are available at the end of training, only job-suitable students will be trained. Adults will need strong reading, writing, math and communications skills with good listening comprehension.
Successful applicants must be drug free with a high degree of physical dexterity and good climbing skills. The ability to work at heights of up to 125 feet or more while maintaining balance on ladders and scaffolding may be required for certain positions, and physical strength, with the ability to lift 50 to 90 pounds, is also required. A valid driver’s license may be required for many positions. Finally, candidates must be flexible with regard to work schedules, with the ability to work varied shifts, rotating shifts and/or overtime.
“Working with industry partners such as Brock and TEC Industrial, we have identified a number of high demand sectors in the construction trades where jobs are available now and for the foreseeable future for candidates with the right training and credentials,” said Jan Stallard, PluggedIn Coordinator for Adult Education. “Let me stress that these jobs are available now, they are full-time jobs with benefits and they are available locally. We are excited to be able to provide a group of adult learners the education and industry training and credentials that are required for these jobs.”
Registration is now open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. by calling Amy Statzer at 276/386-2433 in Gate City or 844/697-2231 toll free.
“This is an unprecedented opportunity for 14 very fortunate adults who are interested in a career in the construction trades with premier local employers. Space is limited, so I hope those who are interested will call as early as possible to begin the registration process,” concluded Stallard.
Anyone with questions may Statzer at astatzer@MyRACE1.org or Stallard at jstallard@MyRACE1.org; or call 1/844-MyRACE1 (844/697-2231), or 276/386-2433 in Scott County. These numbers may also be called to register for GED classes.
The Regional Adult and Career Education Program also offers free adult education classes throughout the region to prepare students for the GED exam and to become career and college ready. Class schedules, directions to class sites and email addresses for instructors may be found on the website at www.MyRACE1.org.
These are free services of the public school divisions of Lee, Scott and Wise counties and the city of Norton.