Durham Tech grant to help the unemployed

Nov. 13, 2013 @ 06:20 PM

Durham Technical Community College has received a $119,600 grant from the State Board of Community Colleges to implement the N.C. Back-to-Work Program.

The program was established by the General Assembly, which earmarked $5.9 million for state community colleges over the next year to provide training for entry-level technical jobs for unemployed and underemployed North Carolinians.

Durham’s unemployment rate, at 6.8 percent in August, was slightly lower than the 8.3 percent state average.

Durham Tech will use its grant to help residents attain a Certified Production Technician credential (CPT) or a BioWork credential.

The CPT credential will prepare participants for advanced manufacturing positions in which workers interact with computers to make products.

Residents seeking the BioWork credential will train for careers in biotechnology, pharmaceutical and chemical manufacturing.

Peter Wooldridge, vice president of corporate and continuing education at the college, said the grant will allow at least 50 students to pursue credentials.

“That’s kind of what we’re shooting for,” Wooldridge said. “We’re looking at a cohort of about 50 students.”

He said participants will have the chance to earn the certificate in about six months, beginning in January and ending in late June.

The grant covers tuition, fees and materials for eligible students, as well as provides individualized career plan assistance.

Participants will get training on job search strategies, as well as working on resumes and online job applications.

The program is open to residents in Durham and Orange counties.

Durham Tech has partnered with several local manufactures that have agreed to interview participants who complete the program with credentials.

“One of the things required was for us to be in touch with industry partners to get their buy-in first,” Wooldridge said.

Residents must have a high-school diploma or GED to be eligible for the program.

Each of the state’s 58 community colleges was eligible to apply for up to $120,000 in grant money to fund their training programs.

Durham Tech was one of 49 colleges that submitted applications for the N.C. Back-to-Work grants. Five colleges submitted two applications.

All 49 of those first applications were recommended for funding after a panel from the N.C. Community College System and the N.C. Department of Commerce reviewed proposals.

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For more information or to apply, go to the Durham Tech website at www.durhamtech.edu/ and click on the banner “Let’s Get Back to Work!”

Residents may also send email inquiries to btwcareercoach@durhamtech.edu, or call 919-536-7222, ext. 4003

 The college is also holding several information sessions over the next few weeks: