The Volt Center has only been operational for a month, and it’s already electrifying Craven County with exclusive training programs and job opportunities.
New Bern’s unprecedented, highly anticipated workforce development training facility opened its doors Monday, June 10. The first classes to operate in the facility were Carpentry, Manufacturing Career Pathways and 56-Hour Forklift, while several existing classes transitioned into the new space: HVAC, Forklift Operator, CFC/EPA Certification, Electrical, Plumbing and Intro to Home Brewing.
As an extension of Craven Community College’s (Craven CC) Workforce Development (WFD) program, the Volt Center is currently offering training courses in various skilled trades in an effort to produce proficient workers and boost the local economy. Participants will acquire the skills needed to enter the workforce with the knowledge and hands-on experience to prosper in their selected field.
Several programs are certified by the National Center for Construction and Education Research (NCCER). Upcoming classes include ServSafe, Environmental Safety, Welding, OSHA 10-Hour Construction, Hazmat and more.
There are currently 47 students taking classes, and 22 have completed classes. Out of those students, eight have already been offered jobs: two forklift students and one manufacturing student were hired by Moen, five manufacturing students were hired by B/S/H/ and two students have interviews scheduled.
The innovative training opportunities available at the Volt Center are driven by the employment needs of local businesses. The goal is to enable students to obtain trade skills and, ultimately, a job. In fact, Craven CC and the Volt Center have partnered with several area employers to provide specialized training programs specifically designed to train students and transition them directly into employment.
“The companies are coming out and actually investing in the future; not only of the company, but to invest in the future of the students coming through these programs,” said Eddie Foster, Craven CC Volt Center executive director. “Their hope and their end game, as well, is to provide a career pathway for those individuals to come and be very successful at their locations. They’re providing us the equipment and tools to do this, which is paramount.”
Current companies collaborating with the college include Chatsworth, B/S/H/ Home Appliances, Moen and Hatteras/Cabo Yachts, LLC. Tours of the manufacturing facilities, as well as specialized training and equipment catered to these partners, ensure that students have thorough opportunities to become familiar with and maximally benefit company production.
“When we come out here, the environment away from the workspace provides us a better secure area to transfer knowledge into a skill,” said Mike Thorsby, training/special teams manager at Hatteras/Cabo Yachts, LLC. “With a hands-on skill that’s now being performed out here at the Volt, we’re going to get a much better product and better delivery to the production departments.”
NCWorks, a local organization that provides career counseling and job placement services, is working closely with Craven CC to verify capable students. They give employers a list of qualified candidates to ensure they hire skilled, reliable workers.
“Just this past week, I got a phone call from an electrical contractor—‘I need employees’—so they’re already knocking on our door, and that’s what we want,” said Jeff Schulze, Craven CC Volt Center director of trade programs. “We want the businesses to come to us, talk to the students, let them hear what opportunities are waiting there.”
Made possible by a collaboration with the City of New Bern, Golden Leaf Foundation, U.S. Economic Development Administration, and Craven County, the Volt Center is a testament to the college’s dedication to creating an economically thriving future.
The 7,500-square foot facility was originally built in 1947 and was used as an electric plant before undergoing its latest transformation. Renovation at the 4.6-acre site includes parking upgrades, as well as building updates such as four expandable classrooms, a large conference room, office space, and a lab area with an open floor concept that provides an ideal training space. Its centralized location near downtown New Bern and Highway 70 makes it a convenient training opportunity for citizens across Eastern North Carolina.
Students are encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity and utilize all the resources the Volt Center has to offer. Financial assistance may be available for those who qualify.
For more information, call Cat Johnson at 252-633-0857 or stop by the Volt Center at 205 First Street in New Bern.
This article was originally published in the New Bern Sun Journal on July 31, 2019.