In a recent speech to members of the Bradley Sunrise Rotary Club, Creasy, the director of workforce development, outlined some of the changes in the works.
One of the most recent changes was the addition of new training equipment to allow companies to evaluate potential employees in partnership with the college’s OneSource Workforce Readiness Center.
“You’ve got employers saying ... ‘we can’t find qualified workers,’” Creasy said.
Even with people looking for employment every day, he said he knew of some job positions unfilled for that reason.
With the goal of helping remedy the problem, Creasy said the workforce readiness center is beginning to offer a training program where students can learn new skills and companies can find employees who already have the skills they need.
Students can learn skills used in manufacturing on three types of machines the college recently acquired: the Mechanical Skills Assessment machine, Electrical Skills Assessment machine and Programmable Logic Control Assessment machine.
Students will also take part in job skills training where they learn how to do create resumes and present themselves in a professional manner.
All this will be packed into a “Scientific Management Techniques” training program with students generally working between 40 and 60 hours to train for available job positions at a specific company. Whenever there are new openings, manufacturers can work with the college to host job training programs to hire for the specific openings.
At the end of the training, which would usually last a week, the companies are meant to choose the best-performing students in the program to interview for the job openings.
Creasy said the program would allow the college to tailor students’ learning to the skills employers say applicants must have.
The training programs will be free for job applicants and not use any “taxpayer money” to fund them, Creasy said.
He added the local Cormetech facility has already said it will use the assessments to hire new employees in the near future.
Before the program started in the planning stage in April, Creasy said the college gave local manufacturers the chance to have current employees evaluated as they tested the new machines so they would know what students would be learning. Cormetech, Merck, Whirlpool and others took part in the first assessments with Cleveland States machines.
Bre LaMountain, coordinator of workforce development, showed the audience one of the pieces of machinery used in the assessments, explaining how students who learned on it could potentially do similar tasks in real work situations.
Creasy said Cleveland State was one of two colleges in Tennessee that have made one of the three particular types of machines available to its students.
The view of manufacturing jobs as being people working in “hot, oily conditions” is no longer accurate within many companies, he said.
He used Volkswagen of Chattanooga as an example of a company that relies heavily on computers, which requires employees to have both mechanical and technological skills.
“It’s like Star Wars down there,” he said jokingly.
While the amount of new technologies workers have to master has increased, Creasy said colleges have not kept up at the same rate in training students for jobs.
He said Cleveland State has begun to try.
For more information about the college’s workforce development programs, call Creasy at 614-8763 or LaMountain at 320-8437.