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"Rather than put an ad on the internet and see who walks through the door, Work Ready Foundations is a great source for dependable prepared individuals, Comfort Systems, USA is pleased to have current employees that participated in the Work Ready Foundations Training Program. The quality of these individuals and their preparedness for the workplace is impressive. This educational experience prepared these individuals to understand the qualities that are important to employers. It was apparent at the initial interviews these men were well prepared to enter the workforce and we are pleased to have the guys on our team.” --Mark Gosney, Comfort Systems, USA
Work Ready Foundations© (WRF) is an 11-week, hands-on, project-based program providing foundational technical training. The program focuses intensively on safety, reading blueprints and schematic drawings, construction math, material handling, and basic electrical concepts including gearboxes, switches, and AC/DC power conversion. Individuals who successfully complete Work Ready Foundations earn five stackable, industry-recognized credentials including NCCER CORE, NCCER Electrical Level One, OSHA 10 General Industry, CPR/First Aid/AED, and the National Career Readiness Certificate.
Work Ready Foundations© was developed in response to local employer needs. Employer involvement is woven throughout the program, and related activities are indicative of their support and buy-in. WRF program coordinator & Workforce Support Specialist, Deloris Jones, spoke to employers about the benefits of hiring from the Work Ready Foundations trained pool of applicants. "Individuals go through a screening process before they ever enter the program. We include one-on-one interviews to ensure they don't have barriers to success, and if barriers exist, we direct participants to appropriate resources so they can overcome those barriers. We set the expectations up front, establishing soft skills training first and then building on that with technical skills," she said.
After launching the program in 2013, the program was revamped in 2016, keeping an eye on employer needs and industry demands. One of the most significant changes to the program was the addition of a project-based learning activity. The technical modules introduce participants to hands-on electrical and mechanical components, while the project-based learning activity (constructing a Portable Solar Power Generator) utilizes the skill-sets acquired from the technical components of training to build the project. This teaching method immerses participants in an environment with tangible activities that provides immediate opportunities for learning and feedback. Processes and procedures replicate manufacturing environments and provide an in-depth overview of the critical thinking process associated with technical applications. Applications are not manufacturing-specific and can be transferred across various industry sectors.
SVHEC Director of Industry & Workforce Advancement, David Kenealy, described the Work Ready Foundations program as real world, effective, and for the employer. "The name of the training is not random—it is truly about preparing individuals for the workplace. We hire instructors based on their work experiences and competencies, and we train participants using hardware and software that replicates what employers have in their workplaces," he stated.
"Huber Engineered Woods, LLC has supported the Work Ready Foundation, conducting mock interviews, giving constructive feedback to participants and presenting “what employers are looking for when hiring.” Recently, Huber hired two participants who successfully completed the Work Ready Foundation Program, which gave them the necessary skills to join our workforce." Mary Jane Francisco, Huber Engineered Woods, LLC