UNION COUNTY — Individuals looking for jobs and companies with jobs needing to be filled are urged to take part in a program that provides not only training for those individuals to help them get those jobs but also helps their employers by initially paying their salaries.
Nikki Burgess, Case Manager for the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Program in Union County, said that the WIOA is a federally-funded program designed to bring together individuals looking to work with companies looking for employees with the training they need to do the jobs they’re being hired for. Burgess said that individuals who enroll in the program undergo seven weeks of training at the Spartanburg Campus of Spartanburg Community College which, if completed successfully, provides them with the certification they need to work in the field they are looking to work in. She said this in turn leads to their being hired by a company that needs someone with the training they have received through the program.
Burgess said this was the case with Union County resident Carlton Cato who enrolled in the WIOA Program, underwent the required training at the SCC Spartanburg Campus, and gained his NCCER Certification in Construction. She said this in turn lead to his being hired by local businessman Junior Wilburn, owner of A Plus Builders, who not only gets an employee with the knowledge necessary to do the job they are hired for, but have their salary paid initially through the WIOA Program.
“It is a program that allows a person like Carlton who has no experience but does have the background knowledge to go to work,” Burgess said. “We pay his salary for up to 12 weeks. It allows him to get that experience that hopefully leads to full employment or, at very least, gains them experience and recommendations that can be put on a resume′.”
Cato began working for A Plus Builders on July 31 and Wilburn expressed satisfaction with his work on a house his company is currently building. Wilburn said Cato has been involved in the construction of the house “from the bottom up” including putting in the floors, walls and truss system. He praised the WIOA Program and said other businesses should look into availing themselves of its services.
“It’s working out good,” Wilburn said. “It’s went real well. I would recommend it.”
Cato also praised the program for enabling him to get the first truly full-time job he has ever had. He said that while he had previously done some volunteer work and had worked some in restaurants and stores “here and there” he’d never been employed like this until he got involved with the WIOA Program.
In addition to paying a client/employee’s salary for up to 12 weeks, Burgess said another advantage for companies is that very little paperwork is required.
“There’s not a lot of paperwork included beyond a time sheet,” Burgess said.
Burgess pointed out that the WIOA Program provides opportunities for training in those areas of the business sector that have seen dramatic growth in the Upstate in recent years including:
• Advanced Manufacturing
• Distribution and Logistics
• Construction and Trade
In addition to paying the salaries of program participants like Cato for up to 12 weeks, the program also provides financial assistance for persons wanting to go to college for training.
Tori Fowler, Business Solutions Consultant at SCWorks, said that there is also an On The Job Training portion of the program which will pay half the salaries of persons who are hired through the program for up to six months. Fowler said this is for persons who have some background knowledge the position they are hired for but not much experience. She stressed this is for full-time employees who are undergoing on the job training.
WIOA is looking for more individuals interested in gaining the training and experience needed to get a job to enroll. Burgess said the number of participants the program can take on is dependent upon the amount of funding available “and there is a lot currently available.”
Fowler urged both Union County residents interested in getting a job and companies in Union County with jobs looking for employees to fill them to get involved with the program.
“We want more opportunities like this to help job-seekers and businesses in Union County,” Fowler said.
For more information about the WIOA Program contact Nikki Burgess at the SCWorks office on Main Street in downtown Union between 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday or at 864-427-4119 or at [email protected]; or Tori Fowler at the SCWorks office in Spartanburg between 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday or at 864-580-6276 or [email protected]
Charles Warner can be reached at 864-762-4090.