Laid-off workers want short-term retraining that will get them back in the workforce quickly, St. Louis Community College discovered when it surveyed local employers and workers. Ford and Chrysler had closed local auto plants; General Motors had cut back to one shift. Retraining was an urgent mission, reports Community College Week.
The survey reached 1,500 employers and 400 displaced workers: 63 percent of workers said they wanted training lasting two to eight weeks; only 14 percent wanted long-term training lasting a year or more.
In response, the college created an Accelerated Job Training program, which offers no-cost training for high-demand jobs.
. . . the lineman pre-apprentice training program prepares students for possible jobs as utility line workers with AmerenUE, an electric utility; the Aerospace Pre-Employment Training Project creates a pool of employee candidates for positions as sheet metal assembler-riveters with Boeing.
The program also trains home energy auditors, home health caregivers, information technology help desk technicians, audio-visual production technicians and potential employers in several other fields where skilled employees are in demand.
Between 2007 and 2010, 66 percent of accelerated trainees have found jobs.
Many of the workers in the accelerated program lack a high school diploma and aren’t ready for college-level work, said Roderick Nunn, vice chancellor for workforce development, at the recent Innovations 2011 Conference sponsored by the League for Innovation in the Community College. That makes it difficult to get students into college-degree pathways.
The college is expanding its Center for Workforce Education and has started a program to train medical intake workers and another to train workers for the Transportation Security Administration.