Rockford Rescue Mission offers new manufacturing training program

Education Matters

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Training potential employees for the local workforce is the goal of several Rockford-area organizations.

The Rockford Rescue Mission is offering new, on-site training programs to fill a huge need in the community.

Bernie Luecke, Director of Business and Professional Institute at Rock Valley College, says he gets phone calls nearly every day from local employees looking to hire new workers.

“It’s impacting businesses from the standpoint where they can’t grow their business,” Luecke said. “You know, they have machines sitting there, but they’re not running, because they don’t have those individuals to run them.”

The tremendous need for skilled workers in the community is one of the reasons behind a new partnership between the Rockford Rescue Mission, The Workforce Connection, and Rock Valley College.

GED and National Institute for Metal Working Skills (NIMS) training programs are now offered at the Rescue Mission’s Works! Center.

The NIMS course teaches core skills in manufacturing.

“They will earn a certificate of completion from Rock Valley College Tech Works and also a very important…nationally recognized credential for measurement, materials, and safety in the manufacturing environment,” said Training Specialist Gordon Blaisdell.

Classes are scheduled around Rescue Mission guests’ activities. Organizers say the in-house training removes some of the barriers to employment that many prospective employees face.

“Whether that’s transportation, no education (or little education), [or] maybe they have a criminal history that they’re working on,” said Workforce Connection’s Business Services Representative Cira Bennett. “So, we help with all those needs, to make sure, when they apply for a job, that they have the best opportunity to become employed, full time.”

The NIMS certification proves they have good core skills, manufacturing training, and gives prospective employees a leg up in landing a job.

“They can walk into a setting in manufacturing and know a lot more than if they’d never stepped on to that floor before,” Blaisdell said.

In addition to offering NIMS training, the Works! Center is also now an official GED test site.

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