Workforce Programs at Asheville-Buncombe College

By Kevin Litwin on November 4, 2011 at 7:29 pm EST
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Exciting news occurred in Asheville in July 2011 on a couple of fronts.

Linamar Corp. Training

First of all, Canadian-based Linamar Corp. announced that it is investing $125 million to establish a construction-equipment parts manufacturing plant in Asheville that will create 400 jobs. Adding to the excitement is that Linamar chose Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College to provide an array of pre-hire training for employee candidates, then A-B Tech will also provide post-hire, on-the-job follow-up training.

“We scheduled leadership and managerial skills classes along with computer training and quality-control sessions for Linamar,” says Shelley White, A-B Tech senior executive director of economic and workforce development and continuing education. “The state of North Carolina funds the training costs, which was part of the incentive package for Linamar locating here.”

The Linamar success story is one of many occurring these days within the Workforce Development Department at A-B Tech. White says 17,000 students a year enroll in classes that are earmarked toward getting people ready for today's hottest careers.

“Nowadays we are offering our students a lot of computer and software technical classes plus plenty of training in health occupations,” she says. “We make great efforts to connect with local businesses and groups like the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce and their Economic Development Coalition to ensure that we are in touch with the training needs in the community.”

White says a popular current curriculum is a nurse's aide program that takes only seven weeks to complete, and another is an automated-machining program that takes only 12 weeks for students to finish.

“Most machining students are going right to work after completing the program,” she says. “That's a good deal – getting a good job after only three months of training.”

Eaton Corp. Training

One local company that has a history of accessing A-B Tech training programs is Eaton Corp., which is involved with metal working for the aerospace and automotive industries. One specific program that A-B Tech offers to Eaton is a 40-hour pre-hire training session that teaches applicants about blueprint reading, lean-manufacturing principles and other fundamentals of a manufacturing environment.

“After the 40 hours of training, we advise Eaton of the students who are best qualified for their company,” White says. “Even if a student isn’t hired by Eaton, that student now has the skills to seek employment and get hired at other manufacturing companies.”

Part of the A-B Tech campus is also set up as a small-business incubator, with a small-business information center for anyone interested in starting a small business.

“We can also lease office and storage space at a very low cost to fledgling business owners,” White says. “In addition, we have a large commercial kitchen on site where people can manufacture food products and then go through the process of testing, marketing, selling and so forth. Workforce development programs in a variety of areas – that's what is occurring these days all over the A-B Tech campus.”

Read about more great jobs coming to Asheville, NC.

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