• Bill Raines

8th Introduction to Local Jobs and Skills Begins Another Session

BEDFORD -(February 18,2022) - The North Lawrence Career Center has launched another session of Introduction to Local Jobs and Skills begins this week.


Matt Olson instructs participants during the 8th Introduction to Local Jobs and Skills Program Thursday


This three-week session has a total of 12 participants. The program was created in conjunction with the Lawrence County Prosecutor's office, Probation department, Community Corrections, and Lawrence County Superior Court II Judge Robert Cline.




In looking at the local workforce there was a lack of Adult Education classes in Lawrence County according to Joe Timbrook, Director of Career Development Lawrence County Economic Growth Council.


"There was no facility that was available to conduct the classes. Some counties had welding classes, but there was no facility to be able to do that in Lawrence County," said Timbrook.


The next step was to figure out how to funnel the adults into such a program. A demographic that was targeted to the program was those who were on probation and who were on house arrest. Also,, 60-70 percent come into the system are without a job.




In addition, there are also approximately 2,500 without a HSE House School Equivalency or diploma in Lawrence County.


The judge will order them to complete the job skills program and get their HSE as part of the plea agreement.


At the end of completing the program, the participants are assisted in finding a job, as well as $200 and a graduation ceremony.


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Local employers have hired several of those who came through the program with one already making up at $30 an hour.


There are about eight local employers that are taking part in the program, some include Harris Restorations Services, IN-Fab, PRD, Stone City Products, D &M Tool, who are mostly manufacturing firms.


The three main focus of the program is Machining, Welding, and Construction. The first night they get their CPR, Stop the Bleed, and First Aid Certifications so they can go to any job and already prepared to handle an emergency.


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The first week of the program include first aid certifications, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday is introduction to Welding, Machining, and Construction. They will then choose over the next two weeks what two areas they would like to work in.


During this evening's class Matt Olson was teaching them how to use saws, cut wood and use various tools in the program.


On March 3rd, the participants will graduate the program.


"I have learned the fundamentals of how to use tools, I will be using the skills I have learned here to help me start making repairs to my home. I am interested in working in construction," said Jarod Fields who is taking part of the program and is a volunteer at the Men's Warming Shelter in Bedford.


" I wanted to be able to learn a new trade, and better myself. I would have been a senior this year, but I went ahead and got my HSE. I am interested in construction and welding. This is awesome and like coming here and enjoy being able to work hands on," Braydon Deckard.





Both men and woman have taking part in the courses. There has not been a course without both taking part in the program.


"The first day I want them to handle the tools and see where they are comfortable. I call them fettle projects where they get some material, take them to the saw and build something if they like. We like them get familiar with tape measures, reading it, and using it. Then get familiar with the saws, being around the noise and using the power tools," said Matt Olson Construction Trades instructor.


" If you do not come from the construction industry you do not even know was a Pass Load Gun is. A Pass Load Gun is gas powered and an amazing tool in the construction trade," said Olson.




The job markets are waiting for a trained workforce with a potential they never had before and employers needing workers desperately. " This helps people who have made some bad decisions and they can go on to lead successful lives, with decent pay. There will be over 300,000 job openings in these construction trades over the alone," said Olson.


This is the eight program that has been conducted at the North Lawrence Career Center with approximately 50 -75 already taking part in the program. " There is a great percentage of people who have been able to hold their jobs, shows a good success rate among the Intro to Local Jobs and Skills Program," Olson continued.


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" I am a stay-at-home mom; I have never had a career before, and I am hoping this opens the door for me. I want to do Welding; my dad was a welder in the Iron Worker Union. I am not to big of a hurry, trying to get a vehicle but I am ready for a new life," said Cecily Cooper.


The North Lawrence Career Center has made many improvements to the facilities in modernizing the equipment to prepare the next generation of the workforce.


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