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When you get right down to it, education is an investment in your future and if you invested wisely — you paid attention in class, studied hard, did the required work, and mastered the subject being taught — you will profit from that investment.
For the 13 young men and young women who made up the third graduating class of the Operation Workforce Training Program they began to profit from it just minutes after they received their certificates of graduation when Andrena Powell-Baker, Senior Manager of Community Relations and Development for Lockhart Power Company, presented each of them with $500 in cash.
In making the presentation during the July 2 graduation ceremony, Powell-Baker pointed out that Lockhart Power’s involvement stems from its commitment to assist Operation Workforce Training in its goal of preparing young men and young for and encouraging them to pursue careers in manufacturing.
“Lockhart Power is excited to be a partner in the Operation Workforce Training initiative,” Powell-Baker said. “If we can motivate high school and recent graduates to go into manufacturing careers, then we have moved the needle in a meaningful way toward growing a workforce for our existing industry. Operation Workforce Training is one of just a handful of initiatives that actually provides an immediate impact on the graduates and employers.”
This was the second time since the program’s inception that graduates have received the cash award from Lockhart Power. At the May 9 graduation ceremony for the program’s second graduating class, Lockhart Power President Bryan Stone presented each of those five graduates with $500 in cash as well.
The certificates and the money were presented to the graduates during the graduation ceremony which was held at Main Street Junction in downtown Union. The ceremony, certificates and money, recognize the graduates for their successful completion of the 65-hour Operation Workforce Training Program which is designed to provide those taking it with skill sets they can use not only to get a job, but also to achieve rapid advancement provided they apply themselves.
If their performance in the program is any indication the young people who graduated July 2 will indeed apply themselves, because not only did they successfully complete the program, each did so with perfect attendance and were never late to class. This is even more impressive given that this, the program’s third graduating class since its inception, was its largest to date, its 13 participants numbering more than the six in the second class and the five in the first class combined.
The 13 graduates of the third class of Operation Workforce Training are:
• Danny Crocker III
• Charcia Fortteneau
• Christian Harris
• Layla Howell
• Taylor Jerdo
• Malik Jeter
• Brandon Morgan
• Scotty Porter
• Jacob Sinclair
• Matthew Sizemore
• Kushyne Stevens
• Ethan Sumner
• ShaDente Thompson
Part of the program involved the students receiving industry presentations in the classroom by Timken Human Resources Manager John Robbins and Dollar General Distribution Center Human Resources Manager Drake Jackson on what their companies expect from their employees.
In addition, the started were also instructed in the process of getting a job including receiving assistance in how to write a resume from Nikki Burgess of SCWorks. The students also got to undergo job interviews during class to help prepare them for that process when they are seeking employment post-graduation.
Some of the graduates, however, did not have to wait until after graduation as it was announced during the ceremony that four of them had been offered jobs at Timken and one of them offered a job at Dollar General Distribution Center.
That investment the graduates made in successfully completing Operation Workforce Training seems to be paying off, doesn’t it?
Operation Workforce Training was developed by Spartanburg Community College and brought to Union County by Katherine Pendergrass, Director of Union County Community Development, at the direction of Union County Supervisor Frank Hart to deal with the fact that an average of 40 percent of all students do not have plan for what they will do after high school. The process initiated by Pendergrass at Hart’s direction ultimately brought Operation Workforce Training to Union County through a collaborative effort involving the county, the Union County School District, Spartanburg Community College (SCC), and, as of this year, Lockhart Power. The goal of the program is to help provide those high school students gain the direction they need to achieve success in life following high school while also developing a a trained workforce that can meet the needs of local industry.
Operation Workforce Training covers the following skills, all of which manufacturers want and need their employees to possess, preferably before they are hired:
1. MSSC Quality Practices & Management
MSSC is Manufacturing Skill Standard Council, which is recognized nationwide as an industry-led, training, assessment and certification system focused on the core skills and knowledge needed by the nation’s front-line production and material handling workers.
• Most industry jobs require the employee to understand SOPs with drawings, how to take and convert measurements, use precision tools and gauges, and machines that require the operator to know how to understand charts and graphs.
• This course material prepared the students with those basic skills.
2. Lean Six Sigma
Quality continuous improvement systems. In any industry, they must have a Quality Assurance Program. In a Quality Assurance Program the key is a continuous improvement cycle to make the product better.
• The students learned all the tools used in Lean Six Sigma with hands-on challenges. They manufactured a part and checked its quality with and without the Lean tools. Lean tools they learned and used: DMAIC cycle, Kaizen Teams, A3 report, 8 Waste, 5S, Cause & Effect (5 Whys/Fishbone) problem solving, Value Stream Mapping, Control Charts, Standard Work, and more.
• The students are qualified to be on a Kaizen team and assist in improving their job.
3. OSHA 10 for General Industry
All Industries are required to train their employees on safety as it applies to their job. These students have completed a certified OSHA 10 class with a certification card. This will shorten the training time the industry will need to train.
4. Forklift Safety Certification
The students have all completed and received their certification which is a great skill to add.