Last updated: August 07. 2014 8:37AM - 429 Views
By - mstrother@civitasmedia.com

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Applications for the last class of Troup Trained are due Friday, and some of the program’s now-employed graduates are encouraging anyone who has the opportunity to sign up.

Troup Trained is described as a “fast-track, advanced training program aimed at helping unemployed Troup County citizens get back to work” and is free to participants who qualify. Local employers helped design the curriculum of the seven-week program, which is setup like a job with normal business hours Monday to Friday at West Georgia Technical College.

Rodney Davidson had been in construction for about 20 years, about eight of them were spent running a business. However, when construction work dried up and he needed something more stable, Davidson found it hard to break into manufacturing, even with manufacturing experience prior to his years in construction.

Taking to online job application sites, Davidson sent out his resume, but didn’t receive any calls back. He had a hard time getting his foot in the door even for an interview.

When he heard about Troup Trained and the guaranteed job interview that came with the program, he decided to go for it.

“It really was a no-brainer to try the program, and it felt very worthy,” Davidson said.

Davidson said the course, for him, was much like a refresher on resume writing, interview techniques and learning to work with classmates as a team. It also put him into direct contact with human resource managers and other business leaders from around the community, who know what employers are looking for in employees.

At the end of the course, Davidson got his interview with SAFA, and was hired. He’s now a second-shift lead, supervising part of the second-shift team.

Another graduate, Mary Edwards, may have a claim to most dedicated Troup Trained attendee. Because she didn’t have a car, local family or money for cab fare, her only ride to class each morning was her husband, who dropped her off on his way to work at about 5:30 a.m. Doors to West Georgia Tech didn’t open until about 7 a.m. She also often waited for him to pick her up at 5:30 p.m., even on Fridays when the class let out at noon.

“It was hard, but I was determined to get it done,” Edwards said. “I needed to get back into the workplace.”

Edwards had been unemployed for four years. She previously had been employed for 15 and her last job was as a quality control manager at a food processing facility in Pine Mountain Valley. Despite continually applying and interviewing for jobs, she never got a call back. Her car was repossessed and she “felt like everything was coming down in steps.”

“Because I lost my job on my 40th birthday in 2010, it was like it was all down hill from there,” she said. “Then since January of this year, it’s like everything has changed for the better.”

Troup Trained classes taught Edwards how to use Microsoft Office, how to deal with people in the workplace and anger management. She said she still has her class books in case she ever needs to refer to them. She got an interview at Hanil E Hwa and was hired in quality control.

“If anybody ever had a chance to go to Troup Trained that wants to get back on their feet and get their life back together, it’s a great opportunity and you cannot lose,” Edwards said.

Employers who recognize the Troup Trained certificate guarantee interviews to graduates who successfully complete the program. More than 20 regional employers support Troup Trained and continually inform the curriculum to keep it up to date.

The first class session will begin on Aug. 25. The second class session will begin Sept. 2.

Applicant requirements are:

• High school diploma or GED.

• Reading and math assessment.

• Skills assessment.

• Pass a drug and background screening.

• Attend and be on time for all classes (only one absence allowed).

Troup Trained is offered through a collaboration among the Troup County Center for Strategic Planning, West Georgia Technical College, Workforce Development Division of Three Rivers Regional Commission and regional employers.

For more information on Troup Trained contact Carrie Brkich at 706-298-3639 or trouptrained@troupco.org.

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