Eric Grove has some background in development and industrial upkeep. But for 3-1/2 years, he labored a “menial job” with restricted pay constructing pallets.
“I wasn’t using my skills, and the skills I had were rusty. My self confidence wasn’t there to apply for a job,” stated Grove.
That modified by his involvement in Pathways to Education and Employment for Reentry, a brand new program of Waterloo’s Hawkeye Community College and the First Judicial District.
Grove, a 37-year-old Evansdale native, discovered about schooling and career services out there to him after PEER Coordinator Belle Fleischhack visited the Junkman/Knoebel Center, the place he has lived for practically a yr. The middle is a transitional housing unit for people recovering from alcohol or drug habit.
“Belle reached out and made it sound like something I was capable of doing,” he stated of the program’s services, centered on short-term coaching for high-demand jobs. Grove ended up enrolling in a two-month superior manufacturing course operated by the faculty. He acquired hands-on coaching in a lab at TechWorks by IGNITE: Introduction to Advanced Manufacturing, ending the course Dec. 10.
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“When I completed the program, it definitely felt like I’d accomplished something,” he stated. Interview alternatives got here up rapidly at two firms.
“Going into the interviews for both places, I felt like I knew what I was talking about,” Grove stated of his new-found confidence. “I had two job offers within that week.”
Early this yr, he began a job driving a forklift at Viking Pump. The new place has meant tremendously improved pay, advantages and work setting.
PEER assists people concerned with Black Hawk County Correctional Services in a wide range of methods, relying on their want. Educational counseling, career exploration, job readiness and hands-on coaching, and useful resource referrals can be found. Participants are in the Black Hawk County Jail, the First Judicial District’s Waterloo Residential Correctional Facility or the Waterloo Women’s Center for Change, or concerned in the parole system dwelling in the neighborhood.
Since beginning in May, Fleischhack stated the program has related with 59 people in jail, offering resume workshops in addition to coaching to earn a certification in forklift driving and a business car learner’s allow. They can proceed with coaching by the program upon launch or go into the workforce.
“Overall, there’s close to 90 or 100 individuals that we’ve worked with so far,” she famous, each in and out jail. Twenty people have enrolled in or accomplished coaching packages. Participants obtain services and coaching for free of charge to them, because of out there grants and scholarships.
Like Grove, “a lot of the individuals, they have a job,” stated Michelle Clark, a career pathway navigator at Hawkeye. “We’re helping them acquire a job that is sustainable, a job they want to do versus a job they have to do.”
Program organizers contend PEER might have a huge impact on crime whereas creating a brand new workforce pipeline for enterprise and trade in the Cedar Valley.
“You can cut the recidivism in half, statistically,” stated Chris Hannon, Hawkeye’s director of workforce coaching and neighborhood improvement. According to a examine by the Vera Institute of Justice, people in jail who take part in job coaching packages are 48% much less more likely to reoffend than those that don’t.
“That’s why the First District is going to put all of its support around this,” stated Ken Kolthoff, director of the First Judicial District. “Hawkeye Community College’s investment and interest in wanting to work with these people is just tremendous.”
“Ken and I have been working on this for about five years, and we finally were able to implement it in May,” stated Hannon. They had help from Hawkeye President Todd Holcomb for the endeavor, in addition to “the right people at the right time” to get the program off the bottom. “Everything just came together at the right time.”
Now program employees are working exhausting to get the phrase out in regards to the services they supply.
Jesse Rousch, jail diversion social employee, famous that “quite a bit of our population” doesn’t have a highschool diploma or any post-high faculty schooling. Still, “for a big portion of our population, they don’t realize these opportunities are there and they’re eligible for it.”
In IGNITE, Grove went by manufacturing modules reminiscent of robotics, computer-aided design, hydraulics, pneumatics, programmable logic management, laptop numerical management machining and electrical.
“You get a certificate for completing the program and then a certificate for mathematics,” he stated. “The robotics and CNC was completely new to me.
“My current employer said me going through that course was a factor in bringing me on,” added Grove. Driving a forklift goes effectively, “but after I get out of my probationary period (at Viking) I plan on bidding on CNC or some type of machine.”
While there may be some on-the-job coaching, he expects extra Hawkeye career programs to be in his future. “I’ll be going back and doing more with CNC, kind of get a better understanding of that,” he stated.
Fleischhack stated not everyone who has been concerned with the program has moved on to a job but, like Grove. But loads of people are in the pipeline. “We will serve over 120 in the first year,” she famous.
For extra details about PEER, name (319) 296-4296, extension 3103, or e mail [email protected].