ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Students celebrated the completion of the Illinois Film Office Film and TV Workforce Training Program at Rock Valley College.

While the students are done with the program, the real work now begins. They said that they are prepared and are ready to work in the film and TV industry.

“It’s just, like, mind blowing to me,” said graduate Khaley Caruthers. “I never in a million years thought I would be doing something like this.”

Caruthers was one of 15 students that completed the first IFO Film and TV Workforce Training Program at Rock Valley on Saturday. She said that it has been her dream since she was a kid to be in the film and TV industry.

“I’ve always loved to write scripts, I’ve always loved to tell stories ever since I was a kid,” Caruthers said.

She jumped on the free training program without hesitation when she heard about it. It is a four-week training program that prepares individuals for entry-level work in the motion picture industry.

“It was a pretty short program, it was intensive. We were doing things the entire time,” Caruthers said. “We actually got to set the camera up and then do the lighting, and actually do it rather than sit and talk about it.”

Jerry LaBuy, academic chair of RVC’s mass communication program, said that producers need to know who is ready to go and work. This program does just that, with training and experience with real professions in the industry.

“It was set training. What you do on a set, what these spaces are like, but it was also, like, how do you get your word out there, how do you make your resume, what do you need to have to get your name out there and network,” LaBuy said. “Production in Rockford is growing very much and there is going to be influx of work in the state, and, so, these people that are taking this class are going to be at the forefront of that job force.”

Caruthers said that she is leaving with the preparation and knowledge for her future career.

“Very much so a bridge, a door, that is being pushed open for and allowing people of those communities,” Caruthers said. “POC, women and the underrepresented communities to be able to break into the film industry.”

Participants must be 18 years or older and must have a high school diploma or GED. No prior experience in film and TV is required.

Applications to the program will be taken the whole month on February.