Cleveland State Community College recently wrapped up its most recent job training program through its OneSource Workforce Readiness Center.
On Friday, 26 students concluded the last day of training before possibly being interviewed for jobs at local manufacturer Cormetech today and Tuesday.
For the second time, the college has partnered with a local company to assist it with its hiring process. Students have spent time in the classroom and working hands-on with machinery, with the ultimate goal of having their work rewarded with a new job.
Rick Creasy, the college’s director of workforce development, said it has been an effort to help companies find applicants who are actually qualified, something that has become increasingly difficult as manufacturing technologies have become more advanced.
“Even though there’s a huge unemployment rate, there’s a lot of manufacturing jobs available,” he said.
Since Jan. 27, students have been visiting the college each day to listen to class lectures about factory machinery and try out what they have learned on miniaturized versions of that equipment. Other topics covered in the class have been things like “soft skills” such as how to handle oneself in a job interview.
As students learn, try out what they have learned and interact with other students, the college’s staff observe and assess how they are doing. After the training is done, the staff members give the company recommendations of who it should hire.
Those students are then interviewed for the jobs. While no student is guaranteed a job after the interviews this week, Creasy said some students were hired after the last training the college did with Cormetech.
Sonya Gresham, one of the few women in the class, said she was getting the chance to pursue a newfound interest in machinery. Though she once worked for local appliance manufacturer Whirlpool, she said that position had her working in an office setting.
The recent OneSource training class has had her learning about things she said she had never thought she would. Instead of desktop computers and phones, she has learned about gears and levers and other machine parts.
“This is a good class to learn machinery skills,” Gresham said. “The people here — they work with you.”
Though her classmates also served as her fellow competitors for jobs, she said she has felt like her fellow students have been able to work as a team. Even if she does not end up with a new job, Gresham said she was glad for the training opportunity.
While students are not paid while they take part in it, Creasy said the training is free to the students.
Because even those who do not receive jobs with Cormetech will have had the training necessary to do such jobs, he added that the college’s staff will likely try to recommend students for positions with other companies.
Student Stephen Chatfield went into the class specifically hoping to end up at Cormetech. In fact, he said he had already tried to apply there and was told he should take part in the program.
Though he had previous experience with the type of work he would be doing there, he said it had been about 14 years since he last held such a job.
“It’s a good refresher for me,” Chatfield said.
Though he said there has been a sense of competition surrounding the training, he said he has not hesitated to help those who did not share his level of experience. He said he believes in someone getting a job based on “pure ability,” and not because students might be willing to hold back a classmate who is also trying to learn.
Creasy said this type of training taking place in a classroom setting is just one kind the college can do. He said 12 companies, including the likes of Merck and Georgia-Pacific, have so far worked with the college to either train and assess either potential employees or existing ones onsite or on campus.
The kind of training the college does in partnership with a company depends on what the company needs, he added. Cleveland State President Bill Seymour, who began his job in January, said he was glad to see the college communicating with local companies to see how it could help them find new workers.
“It really speaks to the focus that Cleveland State has on workforce development,” Seymour said.
The most recent training class ended on Friday. Today and Tuesday, students the college staff have recommended for interviews will be interviewing for an undisclosed number of jobs at Cormetech.
Out of 44 applicants for the most recent program, only 29 were accepted, Creasy said. Out of those, only 26 stayed in the training until the end. He said any future training opportunities like this one will be advertised in the local newspaper and online at www.clevelandstatecc.edu /onesource.