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PDCCC announces first fast-track welding graduates

Paul D. Camp Community College’s Division of Workforce Development recently showcased its summer 2017 Fast Track Welding graduates.

Nine students successfully completed the 160-hour training program and tested for the American Welding Society welding certification. Several employers came to speak with the students about job opportunities, including Huntington Ingalls (Newport News Shipbuilding).

Many of these welding graduates have recently completed high school and were part of the In-School Youth program at their high schools funded by the Workforce Innovative Opportunity Act. The purpose of the PDC Workforce Center is to provide well-trained graduates who are ready for entry level jobs leading to sustaining careers. At the Newport News Shipbuilding facility, entry-level jobs start at $17 per hour with full benefits.

The track from high school to welding certificate is facilitated by Lisha Wolfe, the workforce career coach. Wolfe helps individuals who apply for workforce training with career exploration using various software tools. She works with recruiters and arranges with representatives from potential employers to meet with the students in class and discuss career opportunities. She arranged for Huntington Ingalls to speak to the fast-track welding students during their training program.

“I like them to meet employers,” Wolfe said.

As a career coach, Wolfe guides them through the training and recruitment process. She helps them prepare resumes and teaching them interview skills. And her job does not end when these graduates are hired by employers such as Huntington Ingalls. Rather, Wolfe works with these graduates through their first year on the job to ensure retention.

“It is exhausting but rewarding,” she said. “I feel good when I go home each evening.”

The next Fast Track Welding class started Sept. 5.

Call 569-6050 for more information.