CCCC program helps strengthen workforce for employers
LILLINGTON - Smithfield Packing Company's Human Resources Manager Kenny Cabral ran into some problems when he tried to staff positions at the plant in Clinton.
Many of the job candidates lacked basic learning skills and were not even aware of how to dress appropriately for a job interview. Central Carolina Community College's Human Resources Development Department helped solve his company's problems. Cabral explained how it happened during a May 14 meeting for area business and community leaders at the college's Harnett County Campus.
"One of our greatest assets at Smithfield Packing is our long-term employees, but they are aging out of the workforce," Cabral said. "When we began looking for replacements through the North Carolina Employment Security Commission, many of the job applicants lacked skills and demonstrated inappropriate behaviors such as dressing too casually, taking cell phone calls during the interview, and even bringing their children into the interview room. That's when we looked at Central Carolina's HRD program."
CCCC's Human Resources Development program educates and trains adults through the development of essential skills needed for securing and maintaining employment or furthering education. To meet these objectives, HRD offers a variety of courses such as computer and employability skills for office assistant or medical technology careers, resume, interview, and job search training, and preparation for the North Carolina Career Readiness Certificate and ACT's WorkKeys Assessments exam.
"HRD addresses the student's self-concept, employability skills, technology awareness and other proficiencies vital to the work place," Nicole Brown, HRD instructor/coordinator for the Harnett County campus, told the business leaders. "You don't have to worry about receiving complete and accurate resumes or finding candidates suited to your needs. We're mobile and can offer classes at any time, any place. We can even start instruction in the middle of a semester."
Through its Career Readiness Certificate (CRC) program, HRD offers preparation for a credential that helps unemployed and underemployed adults, adults in transition and incumbent workers find their place in the workforce by demonstrating skills in Reading for Information, Applied Mathematics, and Locating Information for various occupations, explained Patricia Stone-Hackett, CRC coordinator. "It also reduces training time and turnover for the employer and produces a higher quality of worker."
HRD works with some of the largest area employers including Red Wolf, Coty, the Lee and Harnett County School Systems, and Smithfield Packing, Stone-Hackett added. A total of 3,076 students have received nationally recognized North Carolina Career Readiness Certificates under the HRD program.
One of the HRD students is Delores Yeager, who spoke at the Harnett County meeting.
After 13 years as an accounts payable specialist, Yeager lost her job in 2007. She drew unemployment for a while and worked for a temporary agency, but no one seemed to be hiring full-time. Yeager heard that CCCC's Human Resources Development Department offered career classes for displaced workers, so she signed up. She will receive her associate's degree in Office Administration in August.
"The HRD/CRC program was a foundation upon which I was able to build my confidence and complete an associate's degree in a curriculum program," said Yeager. "HRD is a vital stepping stone that bridges students over to a full-time job or to become a full-time student. I hope this program is here to stay to benefit other people who are trying to find their direction through education."
Industry leader Cabral's opinion of the program is just as enthusiastic.
"The HRD program is a major complement to our business," he said. "If an applicant is willing to go through that class and cement their skills, that is the kind of person we want. Today, I can pick up the phone and call HRD and say, 'I really want you to focus on getting me someone who is flexible enough to fill in on other job areas,' and they will. I really believe our turnover has gone down significantly since HRD came on board."
Class fees are waived for unemployed adults, underemployed adults, adults who are working and eligible for the federal earned income tax credit and adults who have received notice of layoff.
For more information about CCCC's HRD/CRC program, contact HRD Instructor/Coordinator Nicole Brown at 910-814-8852 or by email at email@example.com, or CRC Coordinator Patricia Stone-Hackett at 919-777-7716 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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