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Unemployed Today, Welders May Be Hired Tomorrow

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By Steve White

Facebook / Twitter @NTVsSteveWhite

Unemployed today and hired tomorrow -- opportunity showers on those who need it the most as the unemployed get a shot at a new career.

Paul Harris said, "It's been two and a half years for me since I've been able to find work."

Now Harris has employers lining up to talk to him about welding jobs, a career he hadn't even considered until a month ago.

"Actually I'm a carpenter by trade," he explained.

A church social worker told him to sign up for a four week course at Central Community College. The $1,600 a student cost was covered by a grant to help the unemployed.

"To where they can move out of some that's not as desirable into something a little better,
provides better quality of living," CCC Welding Coordinator Russell Moore said.

For employers like Case IH, it meets a huge need.

Devin Tompkin, a manager at the plant said, "It's real tough right now. Labor pool is small, unemployment is low, so it's extra difficult. Thus you see the response to the invitation to come to the school today to try to hire some folks."

Moore said he's heard of plants hiring employees they never would have looked at before.

"They're taking right from McDonald putting them under the hood and they weld," he said "Everyone that can weld that wants a job pretty much has a job."

Three of Grand Island's top employers met with these new welders. Case IH, Chief, and Standard Iron are all hiring.

Moore said, "It would be great if everybody walked out of here with jobs. Most of them are ready. They could start tomorrow if given the opportunity."

Paul Harris almost passed on that. But as he celebrates his birthday with three interviews, he's glad his class sparked his interest.

"I thank God I have another grade, another tool in the bag," he said.

CCC has another class in Grand Island and then will take the program to Lexington and Holdrege. Those interested should contact local Workforce Development offices to see if they're eligible.

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