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A program developed this year between a Clark County business is providing area teenagers with developmental disabilities an opportunity to learn job skills, and potentially provide a pool of applicants for area manufacturers seeking help.
Tech II, a Clark County manufacturing firm that produces plastic containers for the food industry, developed the summer program with Champaign Residential Services, Inc. The program was designed to offer a way for local students to earn basic job skills which would potentially allow students to work at a variety of manufacturing firms in the region.
“If you give people the tools and the opportunity, then it’s up to them to be successful,” said Eric Shiffer, president of Tech II. “We structured the training around our entry-level positions and CRSI did their part on the soft skills.”
A handful of students gathered last week around a manufacturing line at Tech II’s facility on County Line Road, learning the basics of an assembly line. Students watched as plastic lids for Similac baby formula rolled down the assembly line, then the students packed them neatly into cardboard boxes for shipping.
The program also includes instruction in other soft job skills like interviewing and the importance of being at work on time, for example. That portion of the program was developed and taught by staff at CRSI-Strive, which provides day services vocational training for area teens and adults.
At the end of the program, students can apply for work at Tech II, or other area firms that may be looking for entry-level workers, said Dave Faulkner, director of day services at CRSI.
“We were looking for a partner that would look at hosting a skill development program,” Faulkner said. “Eric latched onto the idea right away.”
None of the students who have completed the first program have taken jobs with Tech II yet, Shiffer said. But he said there are candidates that the company is considering hiring. The company has about 300 employees now, but Shiffer said the program was a way his company could help give a boost to local employees looking for work.
“The combination of their training and our training is a recipe for success,” Shiffer said. “I’m sure there are other companies that have done this, but it just seemed to work well with us.”
Students who have enrolled in the program were recommended through the Developmental Disabilities of Clark County agency, Faulkner said. The program is voluntary, meaning students who chose to enroll agreed to give up part of their summer to learn new job skills. Students involved could range in age from 15 to 22 years old.
The program is fairly unusual, he said.
“There are job programs where different companies hire people with disabilities,” Faulkner said. “But to have an on-site training program specifically int he manufacturing realm, I’m not familiar with any others.”
This article has been reproduced for educational purposes only and appeared in the Springfield News-Sun. The original story can be found at: http://www.springfieldnewssun.com/business/clark-county-business-agency-team-for-job-training/H4JzZ2JuV1bPTfy1XHrjeO/
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