Program offers free job training

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 1, 2006

If Marengo Countians want to make themselves attractive to potential employers, the doors of Alabama Southern Community College and opportunity are open.

Tuesday, the Demopolis University Center hosted more than 20 people during their morning session to give them a breakdown of how Focused Industry Training can change their lives.

The presentation attracted people who have participated for a while, those who are new to the program and some who were just interested in learning more. All agreed the FIT program is something they can benefit from.

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Frankie Richardson, who has been in the program for 10 months, gave a first-hand testimony to what the program has meant for her.

“It is a wonderful program,” Richardson said. “It has benefited me greatly because I didn’t know there was a program like this. It is great to have something like this where people can get the classes they need.”

Jasmine Moore, who is also involved in FIT, said the instructors have a genuine concern for their students.

“The teachers really care about you and try to help you out as much as they can,” Moore said.

Tuesday’s presentation also caught the eye of newcomers. Willie Mae Hill, who recently moved to Demopolis from New York, found out about the program on her computer. She said the possibility of learning a new skill left limitless possibilities.

“This is wonderful,” Hill said. “It gives you a second chance at life and I really commend them for it.”

Another interested student, Jake Barger, said the presentation was enough to bring him on board as well.

“I thought it was very informative,” Barger said. “I think I will do it. I have been in for about four weeks now and it has been good.”

Classes, which are scheduled to begin March 6, are free and have a single purpose. Tamika Dial, Workforce Development Instructor, said they want to provide the area with the workforce needed to attract employers.

“When companies start bringing jobs into our area, they want to know if we have a pool of workers,” Dial said. “With this program, we want to say yes, in Marengo County we do. We are based in Demopolis, but we want to serve all of Marengo County.”

The class schedule is 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Thursdays.

FIT covers six general areas including basic education, computer skills, problem solving, workplace behavior, manufacturing and job acquisition.

Requirements for the initiative are performance at a ninth grade level, at least 16 years old and must not be enrolled in high school. The program is open to high school graduates and graduates with certain requirements.

The benefits of participating are numerous. Fit offers a simulated workplace to provide trainees with entry level skills required for employment with most industries and businesses in Alabama, as established by standards cited by business and industry employers throughout the state. The skills and standards taught through the program are aligned with those cited in the U.S. Department of Labor’s Secretary Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills Report.

For more information, call (334) 287-0174.