WEST CHESTER – For all those folks who work in industries that are hard-hit by COVID-19, the job you had before might be bringing home much less than you did before, or you might be laid off.
Targeting the over 12,000 Chester County residents who are currently unemployed, the Chester CountyWorkforce Development Board, working with the county’s Economic Development Council and the Manufacturing Alliance of Chester and Delaware Counties, is hoping to give those folks the skills to start an entirely new career – in manufacturing.
Enrollment period ended last week, on February 12, for a three-week manufacturing skills boot camp. Only five people are enrolled for the course, which is free of charge entirely, starting Tuesday, February 16.
CCEDC’s Jim Lauckner wants to get the word out about this program and hopefully, get people signed up for the next round, which he hopes to have in March following the end of the current boot camp.
“We have more jobs than we have people signed up for the course,” said Lauckner, who is senior project consultant with the CCEDC. “We may well run a second cohort once this three-week course is done, because I know there are plenty of people who need jobs and these are jobs that are perfect for folks like those in the hospitality industry – where you have to be punctual, you are accustomed to being on your feet for 10-12 hours and you are reliable. We want to get the word out.”
While it may seem like a huge shift in career and former hospitality workers may not be accustomed to reading blueprints, or know about industrial automation and control, Lauckner said there are plenty of skills that workers from the hospitality industry – waitstaff, bartenders, hostesses, hotel workers, etc., have; skills that employers are always looking for “and that is people skills.”
“These are folks that know how to deal with the customer, with changing dynamics, with pressure,” he said. “Yes, it is a career change. But, like I said, we have employers ready and interested in hiring these students.”
For those five students enrolled, the boot camp offers a half-day of training, Monday through Friday for on-the-job skills, as well as those skills you need to land the job – career coaching, mock interviews, resume and cover letter help and referrals to manufacturing employers.
Lauckner said the second round of classes for the manufacturing bootcamp will likely start up a week or so after this round ends.
What are the requirements for students?
- High school diploma or GED
- Pass the Bennett Mechanical Comprehension Test
- Pass a Drug Screening
- Participate in a pre-screening interview with staff.