Want2Work students are winning awards and landing jobs!

March 7, 2024

Want2Work students are winning awards and landing jobs!

March 7, 2024

Through the Americans Helping Americans® Want2Work initiative, our partners – the Lee County and the Estill County Area Technology Centers (ATC), both located in Kentucky, and the Lee County Career and Technical Center (CTC) in Virginia – are helping to ensure that promising students can complete their certifications leading to promising, and lucrative, careers.

At the Lee County ATC, principal Craig Herald reported that grant funding from Americans Helping Americans® provided welding jackets, gloves, and caps for every student last fall.

But the biggest news is that “During the winter months, welding students took their welding jackets, gloves and welding caps to competition.

“Students competed at the regional SkillsUSA welding competition where they won the regional contests,” he reported. “One Lee County ATC student won first place using his Americans Helping Americans®-funded PPE (personal protection equipment).

“This student received scholarship and job offers.”

In addition, Principal Herald reported that welding and automotive students were taken about 75 miles from Beattyville, located in rural Appalachian Kentucky, to Lexington on a recruitment trip to Link-Belt Cranes. This American industrial company develops and manufactures heavy construction equipment specializing in telescopic and lattice boom cranes and is headquartered in the city.

“Link-Belt recruited the students with starting jobs at $25/hour, full benefits, and a 401(k) with a 30 percent employer-matched fund,” he reported.

Lee County ATC automotive students who completed their industry certifications each received a Craftsman socket set and scan tools to diagnose computer faults with the grant funding from Americans Helping Americans®, enabling them to start working at their homes on local vehicles and for on-the-job use in their automotive careers, Principal Herald told us.

In addition, “Automotive students competed at regional SkillsUSA and won first with the training they received with the new textbooks Americans Helping Americans® bought for them.”

An electricity student who received a set of tools purchased with funding from Americans Helping Americans® is now using those tools for a co-op job at a local factory where he is working a couple of days a week with an hourly pay rate of $16.50.

Construction trade students are completing their industry certifications, with completers receiving toolsets bought with grant funding from Americans Helping Americans® that they can use in the industry.

“These tools are required if students choose to go on to the carpenter’s union,” said Principal Herald, noting that carpentry students also attended the SkillsUSA competition “and took first, second, and third while using their tools from Americans Helping Americans®.”

The school’s health sciences students received scrubs and shoes with grant funding from Americans Helping Americans®, and seven of them completed job shadowing in eight areas of healthcare – and among those, two have already been hired for full-time employment at local healthcare facilities, while a local nursing home has hired four others.

“The scrubs and shoes purchased by Americans Helping Americans® allowed these students to secure these jobs,” reported Principal Herald.

In sum, “Students and community partners are seeing the investment Americans Helping Americans® is making in the lives of students at the Lee County Area Technology Center, and they want in,” says Principal Herald.

“Electricity students are so excited about receiving tools from Americans Helping Americans® after completing their industry certifications that they are completing an extra NCCER (National Center for Construction Education and Research) industry certification never offered to high school students before.

“The local community college has seen the investment Americans Helping Americans® has given to the health science students that prepared them to enter the workforce and is also finding ways to provide additional support for these students.”

And Principal Herald adds, “The students want to make a living wage. The tools and items purchased through the grant have removed a few barriers to students having the necessary equipment to go to work upon graduation.

“Young adults in the rural areas of eastern Kentucky have a strong work ethic, but they need support to help them overcome the geographical barriers that affect the region.

“The uniforms and tools help get the students started on the career path early when they still have the support of the staff of the Area Technology Center.

“We are now getting regional employers reaching out to actively recruiting students to come to work at their organizations.”

In Estill County, ATC Principal Tammy Combs said, “We are thrilled to share the latest progress and achievements made possible by the generous support of our grant.”

Among the highlights:

Health Sciences — Fourteen students completed and passed the State Registered Nurse Aide Exam and are working at local nursing homes, with one student employed at a local pharmacy. Additional students are pursuing a second industry certification in phlebotomy. The students who received scrubs and shoes through the Americans Helping Americans® grant now utilize them at work.

Engineering – Students are on track to complete industry certifications and acquire the Engineers Black Book and the RAK multi-tool set to support their learning and practical application of skills.

Computer Science – Students are undergoing testing processes and planned distribution of iFixit Manta Driver Kits and iFixit Repair Business Kits during the end-of-year awards ceremony to empower students with practical repair skills.

Diesel and IMT – Tools purchased enhance the learning experience for students completing the programs and earning industry certificates, purchased multimeters, and help with partnerships formed with Gates Ford, Boyd CAT, Manns Chrysler, and ABR Construction for work-based learning opportunities.

Looking ahead, Principal Coombs says, “We remain committed to our school goals and are excited to celebrate our students’ achievements.

“The tools and certifications they have acquired will undoubtedly serve them well as they pursue further education and enter the workforce.

“We extend our sincere gratitude to the grant providers for their invaluable support in advancing our students’ educational and career pathways.”

At the Lee County CTC, Program Director Sherry Allen, RN, reported that the grant funding from Americans Helping Americans® allowed them to purchase “some much needed, updated equipment and supplies.

“Our first-year students are now learning necessary nursing skills and are able to practice with new equipment to better prepare them for their clinical rotations and the actual work world,” she reported. “The improvement to the skills lab will allow the students to transition more easily to a clinical setting and then to an actual nursing position after graduation.”

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