“This is an 82 percent placement within their field. Students were only counted if they received a job in their field,” Smith said. “Our employment rate is low for us, but when you consider the unemployment rate, then 82 percent placement rate is pretty good.”
Smith said he could say with confidence any student who receives their diploma and is serious about going to work will be hired. Placement rates differ between the programs.The following were given as examples: Auto Tech, 100 percent placement; Auto-Collision, 80 percent; Welding, 100 percent; Industrial Maintenance and Industrial Electricity, 60 percent; and Machine Tool Technology, 100 percent.
TTC at Athens will celebrate 50 years in 2015. The center is accredited by the Council on Occupational Education. Completion and placement rates must be maintained to retain accreditation. Programs range from a year to 21 months.
“They learn not only the technical skills and hands on skills, but also the soft skills. These include showing up on time, following directions, and working as a team,” Smith said.
Students attend courses 30 hours a week. Classes are either Monday through Friday six hours a day or Monday through Thursday seven and a half hours a day. The same instructor is used throughout the day.
“As these student progress, the instructors learn about their lives. They have the opportunity to really care about the students and to make a real change in their lives,” Smith said. “Its amazing how many students come in who you think would never get hired. Through the program they graduate and are ready to go.”
According to Smith, high job placement is a product of a technical skill shortage in America.
“The average machinist is 59 years old. As you can imagine, a lot of those folks are leaving the workforce with no one coming in to replace them,” Smith said.
Studies reveal the same can be said for a variety of technical skill workers, like welding and electrical. According to Smith, plant managers at McMinn identified the shortage as one of their main concerns. They reported there is a need for technical trained and ready employees. There were 100 job openings between the 18 plant managers.
“Historically, folks have had this idea you learn a trade if you are not smart enough to attend college. Thats just not the case anymore,” Smith said. “The math, reading, and technical writing skills required in these fields are not anything for a dummy.”
TTC at Athens operates on the trimester system. Each trimester is $1,049. A year would cost $3,147. If a student receives the full 1,296 hours of training then it would be approximately $2.43 for every hour. This number would be different depending on the program and hours required.
Smith said a recent graduate will be making $25 an hour after he finishes his apprenticeship.
“He is at the beginning of his career and is already making $25 an hour,” Smith said. “As fewer folks go in to the field, the price for those skills goes up.”
Smith said financial aid options are available to students. For more information on the program, visit www.ttcathens.edu.
Additional information from the meeting includes:
- Four Kiwanis scholarship recipients were chosen. These winners are Nicole Flowers, Blake Allison, Austin Lambert and Bethany Griffin. The Kiwanis scholarships are funded through the Kiwanis of Cleveland Foundation. Flowers and Lambert were presented with their certificates at the luncheon. Allison and Griffin could not attend due to previous engagements.
- Pooches to Pedigrees show will occur Saturday, Aug. 25 at the Tri-State Exhibition Center. This event is a Kiwanis fundraiser to assist youth of the Bradley and Cleveland area. Admission is $1 per car with contest entry fee of $5 per category. Registration begins at 9 a.m. through 10:15 a.m.