Ratchet Up for next job

Friday, April 3, 2009

With Marshall County suffering the 10th highest unemployment rate in Tennessee, area leaders have scheduled classes so people can get training in skills local employers say they need in their work force.

"This is important now, especially with people getting laid off," according to Greg Lowe, one of the coordinators for the program presented by the South Central Tennessee Workforce Board. "Courses are offered to all workers who would like to increase their skills."

Ratchet Up Marshall County, a series of workforce development training classes, is a response to what was heard during a conference at Columbia State Community College in January when employers were asked what skills they want in workers.

The courses are paid for by the South Central Tennessee Workforce Board and Lowe some of the funding is coming from the federal stimulus program to restart the economy.

"Tennessee got $69 million for workforce development," Lowe said of funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, "and $3 million s coming to our eight counties" served by the local workforce board.

The classes are as practical as the proper use of hand tools and comprehension of measurements, a class to be taught by Lyn Stacey of the Marshall County schools system on May 4 and 7 from 4:30-7:30 p.m. at the community college on South Ellington Parkway.

A math refresher course will be taught by Sara Campbell of the county's Adult Learning Center on April 21 and 24 from 8 a.m. to noon, also at the college campus here.

Use of computer programs such as Microsoft will be taught by Ron Beck of Columbia State Community College. His office is in Columbia, but he will be teaching at the campus here on May 7, 14 and 21 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Workforce ethics will be taught on June 2, 9 and 16 8 a.m. to noon at the college.

More classes will be scheduled if enrollment shows a need.

Some classes are being conducted specifically for employees of employers such as CKNA and Teledyne. The classes for those employers are on problem solving. The CKNA class is on April 20.

Lowe said people interested in taking the courses may call him or Lisa Jacksn at Lewisburg City Hall at 359-1544. They're working with the city's industrial developer, Terry Wallace and Mike Wiles, the executive director of the Joint Economic and Community Development Board.

"The math class is geared toward helping people who want to take the Career Readiness Certificate test," Lowe said of a program that allows an individual to show prospective employers that they have skills the business needs.