SANFORD - Retired firefighter Jack Bost waited patiently in the bustle at the Oct. 13 Central Carolina Community College JobsNow kickoff.
Like the 100-or so other people at the kickoff at the Dennis A. Wicker Civic Center, he came with the hope of finding a job training program that would result in a job in the near future.
"I worked in metallurgical laboratory quality control for GKN for 23 years," the Sanford resident said. "GKN shut down that Sanford plant and a lot of jobs went to Mexico. I need a job and I've sent out so many resumes, but only heard back from one."
Bost, the son of former Sanford Fire Chief Sam Bost, used to be a fire fighter as well as an emergency medical technician. With that background, he came to JobsNOW to sign up for training as a phlebotomy technician.
Most of those attending the kickoff were displaced or dislocated workers looking for job training that would produce results within a few months. That is the goal of the JobsNOW program. Training is offered in Nursing Assistant I, Phlebotomy Technician, Optometric Assistant, Sanitation & Safety/ServSafe Certification, Introduction to Food & Beverage Serving Techniques, Medical Office Administration, and Welding.
These courses were chosen by the college to be offered through JobsNOW because there is demand in the local area for people with these skills. All are continuing education certificate programs. They are in addition to the ongoing continuing education and curriculum job training programs offered by the college.
Those completing the JobsNOW training can re-enter the workforce immediately or use their training as a prerequisite for more advanced continuing education or curriculum programs.
"I am so pleased to see so many people come out to learn about what CCCC has to offer," said Theresa Cry, the college's director of Enrollment/JobsNOW coordinator. "It was important for us to expose those who are out of work to all that we can offer them, from receiving their GED to ultimately enrolling in one of our curriculum programs. I am excited about the prospects that await them as they turn this challenge in their lives into a wonderful opportunity."
Sisters Maejean Hunter and Billiejo Johnson, both of Cameron, were part of the JobsNOW kickoff. Both are currently unemployed, but left the kickoff with information about enrolling in the nursing assisting or phlebotomy programs.
Jose Ramirez, of Sanford, and Gelacio Garcia, of Olivia, both lost their jobs recently when Hanesbrands closed. They came to JobsNOW to check out the welding program, but also learned about the college's Basic Skills educational offerings.
"This is your foundation," Helen Cotton, a Basic Skills program recruiter, told the men. "If you don't have your high school or GED diploma, you start with that."
Cotton speaks from experience. She was laid off from the textile industry in 2005 and came to Central Carolina Community College for her GED and job training. She was so enthusiastic about sharing the message of going back to school, no matter one's age or circumstances, that the college hired her to help get the message out.
"My long-term goal is to be an auto mechanic," Ramirez said after speaking with Cotton. "I know I need to get my GED diploma if I want to do that."
Bridgett Wiley, of Siler City, has been working as a waitress. She came to find out about training to become a phlebotomy technician.
"I always wanted to do that," she said. "I'm looking for a new career. This event is good. It's an opportunity to look around, see what is offered and make decisions."
JobsNOW is a statewide initiative of Gov. Bev Perdue to help deal with the growing unemployment from the current recession. Its goal is to put North Carolinians back to work as quickly as possible and boost the state's economy. The North Carolina Community College System and Department of Commerce's Workforce Development Division developed the program concept. JobsNOW job training programs are offered through the state's community colleges, with each one offering targeted workforce retraining for jobs available in its service area.
Statewide, JobsNOW is funded by a $13.4 million grant from the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Central Carolina received $300,000 of ARRA funding to establish its JobsNOW program, which will enroll up to 170 dislocated or unemployed workers. Local N.C. Employment Security Commission offices are referring clients who need job retraining to the college. The ESC offices will help find jobs for those completing the programs.
"The key to improving the economy is employment, and we intend to focus on retraining programs that will prepare our local dislocated workers to reenter the workforce," said Stelfanie Williams, vice president over the college's Division of Economic and Community Development.
For more information about JobsNOW or other short-term job training at Central Carolina Community College, contact the Continuing Education office at one of the college's campuses: Chatham, (919) 542-6495, ext. 223; Harnett, (910) 814-8823; or Lee, (919) 718-7225; or JobsNOW coordinator Theresa Cry by email at firstname.lastname@example.org