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17 locals earn Ready to Work certification

By Staff
Kim West
Seventeen Russellville residents are one step closer to moving up the employment ladder after earning their Ready to Work certificates at Northwest-Shoals Community College in Muscle Shoals earlier this month.
The Ready to Work program, which was funded this year by a $115,000 federal grant administered by the state, is a workforce development course that provides trainees the entry level skills needed for employment with most businesses and industries in Alabama and includes eight weeks of classes taken three times per week.
Trainees must be at least 16 years old with a high school diploma and GED, or they must be in the process of earning a GED. The Northwest-Shoals program, which offers both day and night classes, has produced 152 graduates since January.
"We are the No. 1 program in the state out of 25 to 30 programs," said Donna Peck, director of the Ready to Work program at Northwest-Shoals. "Our graduates have an 88 percent employment rate with 40 to 45 percent receiving additional training.
"We have 100 people coming in for our next orientation (in January), and we have had at least 50 calls for the April orientation. We're full now, and we have a waiting list.
"It's a wonderful program for workforce development and outpouring of support in northwest Alabama has been tremendous."
Russellville residents Angela Sharpley, Barry Robinson, Clifton Sharpley, Craig Allen, Deborah Borden, Delesa Garner, Dexter Hamilton, Jason DeVaney, Jorge Arizmendi, Kelia Phillips, Morrison Harris, Patrice James, Robert James, Samuel Hillman, Saron Hill, Stephanie Pruitt and Terry Saffold graduated from the program Dec. 2.
Peck said people often make sacrifices to graduate from the program, which has several requirements for certification.
"In addition to the eight weeks of classes either three days or three nights per week, there is a lot of testing and a lot of work, and the attendance requirements are very strict," Peck said. "It is quite an accomplishment to graduate.
"For the longest in Alabama, it was said we didn't have the workforce in this state (to accommodate new industries), but now we've got the workers and we're ready for them to bring more industry to us – it's been a blessing to be a part of it."
For more information about the Ready to Work program, call Peck at 331-5299 or visit www.nwscc.edu.