"We need you to get a job and keep the job," stated Jerry Hemingway, Thomas Nelson Center for Building and Construction Trades project coordinator. "Make sure you are using your resources."
Last weeks Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) graduation focused on celebrating and providing resources to the cohort of five students who served as the inaugural HVAC class at the new Thomas Nelson Center for Building and Construction Trades, which is located at the Goodwill Industries facility in Hampton at 1911 Saville Row.
Marilyn Richardson, manager of the Portsmouth Community Employment Center, joined students and shared employment information, including leads to HVAC job openings in the region.
Miya Sumpter, Thomas Nelson job placement coordinator, also shared career information with the graduates.
"Don't be restrictive during your job hunt," encouraged Sumpter. "Stay abreast to changes in the industry. Get involved with different organizations that will help you stay knowledgeable. Learning doesn't stop here. You'll learn on the job and through different organizations."
Chris Ybarra, HVAC graduate of this cohort, had an opportunity to work with Richardson to update his resume. Since that time he has had three interviews.
"I heard about the program through Thomas Nelson's On-Ramp program after I was laid off in April," stated Ybarra. " I saw the flier for HVAC and the class started next week. I got a lot of hands on learning from the class, I've learned a lot."
For Ybarra and others, Thursday's graduation helped them gain more information about getting the jobs they are more than prepared to conquer.
"I've seen something in each one of you that shows me a great strength you have for this industry," stated Paul Lindstrom, instructor of the HVAC course. "Keep learning… there is so much you can learn in this industry."
The next HVAC class begins September 22. Additional classes for the Thomas Nelson Center for Building and Construction Trades at Goodwill Industries will be added throughout the academic year.
The Workforce Development Center will include classes in HVAC, residential electrician, and facilities maintenance technician. The focus is on adults - primarily the unemployed, underemployed and veterans - seeking to earn certification for in-demand employment.