Basic skills training lays the groundwork for entry-level jobs

Following the success of two Academic Skills Enhancement for Energy-Related Careers training programs in Hartford, the Connecticut Business and Industry Association (CBIA) and Capitol Region Education Council (CREC) are offering a third round of energy-sector training for unemployed or underemployed adults.

Thanks to funding support from the Workforce Solutions Collaborative of Metro Hartford, training is available at no cost to residents in 57 towns within the Hartford and Enfield labor markets.

The seven-week program (March 25-May 10, 2013) addresses the energy industry's need for entry-level employees with foundational academic and career competencies.

Classes run 9 am-3:30 pm, Monday through Friday, and participants must commit to full-time training for the entire seven-week period.

"Connecticut's increasing demand for traditional, alternative, and renewable energy, the governor's focus on energy efficiency, and utilities' anticipated need to upgrade and maintain their systems all suggest a growing demand for employment in the years ahead," says Joe Ryzewski, engineering and project excellence competency manager for United Illuminating and co-chair of the Connecticut Energy Workforce Development Consortium.

At the core of the Academic Skills Enhancement program is contextualized training in mathematics, reading for information, critical thinking, locating information, and applied technology.

Modifications to the upcoming session include embedded OSHA 10 training; free online access to utility training courses; and an introductory course in renewable energy systems offered by Manchester Community College.

Successful program completers earn the ACT National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC), a national credential identified by the Center for Energy Workforce Development as the entry-level standard for the energy industry.

Assistance is also provided for those who wish to further their education in career-specific programs such as solar PV installation, sales, energy auditing, and more; obtain credentials for the energy career of their choice; and participate in paid internships.

"This is a unique program, created using information on industry-specific needs given to us by the very businesses that will need new employees," says Judy Resnick, executive director of CBIA's Education Foundation. "It allows individuals to enter the workforce with the potential to move into high-skill, high-wage jobs."

Mandatory orientation sessions are scheduled for Feb. 28, March 7, and March 14, 1-3 pm, at CREC, 34 Sequassen Street, Hartford.

Interested candidates must register in advance for one of these sessions by calling Deb Presbie, CBIA Education Foundation project manager, at 860.244.1932 or emailing deb.presbie@cbia.com.

To be eligible, individuals must meet the following criteria:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Reside in the Hartford or Enfield labor market
  • Be unemployed or earn less than $44,700 a year
  • Have a high school diploma or GED
  • Be drug-free
  • Have no felony convictions
  • Have a valid Connecticut driver's license and reliable transportation

Of the 16 individuals who completed the most recent training program, three have already landed jobs with local energy companies.

Others are enrolled in technical training or receiving career counseling and job placement support provided through the program.

"This was a diverse and committed group of men and women who had one thing in common: an interest in pursuing a career in the energy industry," says Presbie. "I can't wait to see what becomes of this next cohort."

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CBIA is Connecticut's largest business organization, with 10,000 member companies. For more information, contact Joe Budd (860.244-1951; joe.budd@cbia.com) or visit cbia.com/newsroom.