As Rockford area manufacturing companies expand, so does their need for high-skilled workers. Several local students, right out of high school, get a crash course in a field they can't wait to work in and these students won't have to wait very long. In just 10 weeks, 11 high school graduates will be ready-for-hire.
"One of the things they're asking for, they really need is young workers people who are going to be employed in the manufacturing industry for their lifetime." -says Rock Valley College Automation Skill Program Coordinator Stan McCord.
More than 200 of Rockford's top high-schoolers took the Work-Keys test as part of their ACT's. 11 qualified for Rock Valley College's Manufacturing Job Training Program. Statistically, it sounds like the test was tough to pass.
"It wasn't hard, the test was pretty simple," "That was actually pretty easy to me, I'm pretty good at taking tests so it didn't bother me too much," and "It was easy," are a few phrases you'll hear from the program's participants.
A few of these kids wish their high-schools would have offered more manufacturing-type classes, but say they've been life-long learners of the trade.
"Well, I was planning on doing this anyway, my dad is in manufacturing as well." -says East High School graduate Colin Ruthe.
Jefferson High School graduate Maria Ramirez is part of the 5% of students who made it into the course, but individually she makes up an even smaller statistic.
"Hopefully next year more females sign up for it, I mean it's just me this year." -she says.
During the 10-week course, students will learn skills like blueprint reading, metal composition and maintenance. It's a short class, but they say it sets them up for long-term success.
"I want to be able to have a career that I enjoy, something that is fulfilling to me that I can be able to support a family with." says Jefferson High School graduate Reginald Cauthen.
McCord says students will finish the job training with National Institute for Metal Working Skills certification and some will get hired right away.
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