On Friday, March 24, eight students, including one high school student, completed the first skid steer training course offered at ESCC.
“We’re proud to offer this training to our community,” ESCC Director of Workforce Development Leigh Shiver said, thanking Thompson Tractor Company, the City of Enterprise and Wiregrass Economic Development Corporation for their partnership in providing training space and equipment for the class. “This training has helped these students develop the skills they need to be successful in their current job or in finding a great job.”
This free training was developed through the Alabama Community College System’s Skills for Success program. Students completed online work before receiving hands-on training March 23-24.
Skills for Success is ACCS’s rapid workforce training program that launched in early 2022. It was developed in partnership with the state’s businesses and industries so the training is aligned with the skills employers say workers need to fill available jobs.
The appeal to trainees – other than getting the skills needed for an in-demand job – is that Skills for Success training is offered at no cost thanks to appropriations from the Legislature and can usually be completed in two to three weeks.
A reason Skills for Success training can be completed so quickly is part of it is offered online, with self-paced interactive learning that can take place anywhere a student can connect to the Internet. Upon completing the online portion of the course, students then complete hands-on training with qualified instructors and earn an ACCS credential that shows employers they are job ready.
Instructor Tim Williams said these trainings are extremely beneficial to participants, “either to do the career they’re already in or to start a new career.” He also said there was a demand for trained skid steer drivers, so much so that employers are asking to hire students before they finish the course.
“Every time we’ve had a class, they’ve been filled, and there are people that will actually see us when we go out somewhere and try to interview our students while we’re on break,” he said.
High school student Preston Powell took part in ESCC’s training, where he learned how to operate and maneuver skid steers safely, among other skills. He said he was “excited” to see the free training being offered.
“As soon as I saw it, I jumped on it and applied for it,” he said. “As soon as I got the email to do the online portion, I finished that in a couple of hours.
“I hope to use this after I graduate high school. If someone needs to run a skid steer or heavy equipment, I’ve got the certificate and the knowledge how to do it and do it safely.”
Student Charles Newman is interested in working in the construction industry. He said completing training like the Skid Steer class shows initiative to employers.
“This training will help me achieve a certificate,” he said. “That way, whenever I go to employers to actually apply for jobs in the construction industry, I’ll actually have the certification to back it up.
“I would highly encourage people to take part in any free class like this, especially if it’s going to get you a certificate and it’s a job field that you’re interested in.”
More than 2,700 Alabamians have registered for Skills for Success training for jobs in industries ranging from construction and fiber optics to trucking and food and beverage services. To find out more information and view a list of available training courses, visit innovation.accs.edu.
ESCC will hold a second skid steer training class April 6-7. If you are interested in joining the next class, visit escc.edu/skidsteer.