James Mathews had never set foot in a machine shop before February 2018, and like most people in Knox County’s workforce, his experience with advanced manufacturing was non-existent. But that all changed when he enrolled for WIOA career services at his local Kentucky Career Center JobSight.
“I used to be a tree climber and a roofer, dabbled around with welding, but never had anything to do with a machine shop before,” Mathews says. “When I first walked in and saw the machines, I was pretty intimidated.”
Despite his previous experience, Mathews spent some time in 2017 and early 2018 on the hunt for a new job. By February he finally decided to stop by his local KCC JobSight, located at KCEOC Community Action Partnership’s office, 464 Court Street in Barbourville.
KCEOC provides Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) services in Knox County under contract with the Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program (EKCEP), Inc. Those services include programs for adults, dislocated workers, and for in-school and out-of-school youth who may need assistance honing skills such as résumé building or networking with local employers.
After meeting with his career advisor, Mathews wanted to develop skills that would help him gain new employment. That’s where he was introduced to the possibility of working in a local machine shop and was eventually placed in an On-the-Job Training (OJT) opportunity with Campbell’s Plumbing and Excavating (CPE) in the nearby community of Artemus.
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