Registration deadline approaching for PluggedInVA Trades Program

Marci Gore • Jan 4, 2016 at 8:55 PM

GATE CITY — Upon successful completion of 14 weeks of free, intensive training, adult learners will have a shot at full-time construction jobs — benefits included — with major local employers such as Brock and TEC Industries.

The Regional Adult & Career Education Program of Lee, Scott, Wise and Norton Public Schools, Brock, TEC Industrial, Mountain Empire Community College and the Southwest Virginia Workforce Development Board have partnered to offer the PluggedInVA Industrial Construction Trades Program that will prepare adult learners for careers in construction jobs.

Classes for this new program are set to begin in early February and will be held from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m., three nights a week at the Scott County Career and Technical Center in Gate City.

The training will help students obtain the skills required by employers such as Brock, TEC Industrial and other local construction firms.

Participants can also earn a GED, if needed, along with the NCCER Core certification, a credential that is highly valued and often required by employers in the construction industry.

Students will also earn 12 college credits from Mountain Empire Community College, OSHA Safety, Digital Literacy and Career Readiness Certifications.

Karen Sheets is the Human Resource Manager at Brock and says an aging workforce in the construction trades, especially in areas such as insulation, scaffolding and carpentry, is creating a need for a trained workforce. She says companies such as Brock will provide future employment opportunities in the construction industry in this region.

Pay and benefits for these types of jobs tend to vary, depending on the employer. At Brock, entry-level pay for jobs in the construction trades is based on the specific craft and employee experience, but, typically, such positions currently offer a beginning wage of approximately $12 per hour or $25,000 annually, increasing to $35,000 to $40,000, depending on job classification and performance.

“Working with industry partners such as Brock and TEC Industrial, we have identified a number of high demand sectors in the construction trades where jobs are available now and for the foreseeable future for candidates with the right training and credentials,” said Jan Stallard, PluggedIn Coordinator for Regional Adult & Career Education of Lee, Scott, Wise and Norton Public Schools. “Let me stress that these jobs are available now, and they are full-time jobs with benefits and they are available locally. In the past year, Brock alone hired 180 people for construction jobs.”

Those interested in registering for the 14-week training program should register no later than 4:30 p.m., Monday, Jan. 11.

The program is free for eligible participants. High school graduates are eligible for consideration, but priority will be given to applicants who either have a GED or who are currently working to earn a GED.

Space in the program is limited to 14 seats, and candidates must meet specific standards. Adults will need strong reading, writing, math and communications skills with good listening comprehension.

Successful applicants must be drug free with a high degree of physical dexterity and good climbing skills. The ability to work at heights of up to 125 feet or more while maintaining balance on ladders and scaffolding may be required for certain positions, and physical strength, with the ability to lift 50 to 90 pounds, is also required. A valid drivers license may be required for many positions. Finally, candidates must be flexible with regard to work schedules, with the ability to work varied shifts, rotating shifts and/or overtime.

For more details or to register, call Amy Statzer at (276)386-2433 or (844)697-2231.

The Regional Adult & Career Education Program also offers free adult education classes throughout the region to prepare students for the GED Exam and to become career and college ready. Class schedules, directions to class sites and email addresses for instructors may be found on the website at www.MyRACE1.org.

These are free services of the public school divisions of Lee, Scott and Wise counties and the city of Norton.

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