Craven Community College (Craven CC) is now offering several top-of-the-line training courses through partnerships with local manufacturing companies. The courses are extensions of the college’s Manufacturing Career Pathway and held weekly at the Volt Center.
“Our training programs are designed to meet the specific needs of our employers in the area, as well as residents in Craven County and beyond,” said Eddie Foster, Volt Center executive director. “I feel that the major difference in our training programs and others is that we go out into the community and speak with the residents who live in the county, speak with agencies like the Eastern Carolina Workforce Development Board and NCWorks, who meet with county residents on a regular basis. More importantly, we listen to their needs.”
Based on the feedback received in the community, the college designs programs to meet those needs. Recently, efforts have centralized around the manufacturing industry—specifically, immediate employment needs of local manufacturing companies BSH, one of the world’s top home appliance manufacturers; Moen, one of the world’s top home faucet manufacturers; and DRADURA, one of the leading international manufacturers of wire solutions.
Prior to the pandemic outbreak, the college held its first manufacturing roundtable at the Volt Center. The 10 local manufacturers in attendance shared a common theme: They were experiencing high turnover rates with their new employees. They indicated that the college’s existing 112-hour Manufacturing Career Pathway program was a great fit, but they needed a shortened version of the program to meet their immediate hiring needs.
“Within a week, several of our industry partners helped to produce the topics for the 16-hour Fast Track Manufacturing Program,” said Foster. “The college team designed a flyer, marketed the program and within three weeks of the Fast Tracks conception we were running classes.”
Craven CC has provided Fast Track classes six days a week for the last two months. Training topics vary slightly depending on the specific training program but generally encompass Manufacturing, Forklift Operator Training, Assembly Line Operations (Practicals), Safety Training, Workplace Ethics, Working as a Team, Resume Development, Assembly and Packaging, and Training and Interviews.
The hands-on training not only boosts local businesses, but it also leads directly to a career during a time when residents need it most. Upon successful completion of their chosen training course, students will have the opportunity to interview for a position at BSH, Moen or DRADURA.
“The positive relationships we have with all of our business partners has solidified substantially over the last several years,” said Foster. “This is due in part from the college’s leadership team and from the Volt team listening to their needs, partnering with the businesses to provide workable solutions to those needs and demonstrating follow-through in meeting their needs.”
One example took place last month, when BSH alerted the Volt Center that their distribution center had an immediate need for 10 trained forklift drivers experienced with operating a clamp shell attachment. BSH had donated the college a clamp shell attachment for training purposes several months ago, so college staff sprang into action and modified the existing forklift program to create a new Clamp Shell Forklift Operator training course based on BSH’s specific guidance. Two classes with evening and weekend options were created and begin Sept. 9 and 12.
Since most of the classes at the Volt Center are hands-on and require face-to-face instructor, the college has taken several steps to make it a cleaner, safer atmosphere for students and instructors.
“We train our instructors to practice social distancing with the students, and we have all of the classrooms and bathrooms set up to meet social distancing guidelines,” said Foster. “We encourage the use of face masks while in the facility. The college leadership team has provided us with facilities personnel to clean and sanitize our spaces routinely throughout the entire day and late into the evening.”
This article was originally published in the New Bern Sun Journal on September 9, 2020.