October 12, 2013

Fast track training to move local residents into jobs

Charles Oliver

— Even with double digit unemployment, some local companies still have trouble filling skilled positions. Now, a new state program will help Dalton area workers get the training they need to fill some of those jobs.

The Governor’s Office of Workforce Development has partnered with Georgia Northwestern Technical College and Beaulieu of America, Engineered Floors, J+J Flooring Group, Mohawk Industries and Shaw Industries to create a 10-week training program that will provide employees with the skills to perform industrial maintenance jobs in the floorcovering industry.

“We are excited about the partnership between industry, Governor’s Office of Workforce Development and Georgia Northwestern Technical College,” said Vicki Delfalco, director of employee development for Beaulieu of America in a press release. “This endeavor is a win for everyone involved.”

Greater Dalton Chamber of Commerce President Brian Anderson said the program will help fill a vital need for local industry.

“We had identified a shortage in the number of employees with the mechanical and electrical skills and knowledge needed to fill those jobs, and this program will help workers gain those skills,” he said. “This first class of 20 started a week ago Monday. We’ll start picking candidates for the next class in around six weeks.”

The training takes place at Georgia Northwestern’s building on the campus of the Northwest Georgia College and Career Academy in Dalton. The program is funded by a federal grant and is targeted at people who are unemployed or underemployed.

“Let’s say you are someone who had worked in the industry and was laid off during the downturn and you want to get back in the industry but don’t have the skills to fill some of the jobs that are open. You would be ideal for this program,” Anderson said.

But Anderson said an individual who recently graduated from high school and hasn’t been able to find a job might also qualify.

Those who are interested in taking part in the program should call the local office of the Georgia Department of Labor at (706) 272-2301.

Anderson said they will be given some aptitude tests to see if they qualify for the program and can handle the academic portion of the training. Those who are selected will be hired by one of the participating companies and placed into the training program.