WorkOne Northeast has launched a training program to help workers earn certifications for in-demand jobs. The Skill-Link initiative allows employers to help customize training classes to meet their specific needs.

February 18, 2014

News Release

Fort Wayne, Ind. — WorkOne Northeast has developed a customized incumbent worker training initiative for employers that allows employees to earn certifications for in-demand jobs, Northeast Indiana Works announced.

Northeast Indiana Works, which oversees 11 WorkOne Northeast career centers in northeast Indiana, provides the Skill-Link training for free to employers.

“Employers throughout northeast Indiana are in great need for skilled workers in a number of areas,” said Gary Gatman, executive vice president of strategic initiatives for Northeast Indiana Works. “Skill-Link, which customizes the training to an employer's specific needs, gives employers an opportunity to raise the skill levels of selected employees and in the process open up positions for other workers.”

Thus far, Skill-Link programs have been carried out in four counties – Adams, DeKalb, Noble and Wells counties – for 18 employers and 52 employees. Northeast Indiana Works, through Greater Fort Wayne Inc., is in discussions with another group of employers in Allen County.

The training has involved classes in industrial maintenance and CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machining. Classes in welding and quality control are planned.

The Skill-Link training is being conducted with the assistance of community and education partners, including local economic development leaders.

“This program is a key component to the success of our industries in northeast Indiana,” said Tim Ehlerding, executive director of Wells County Economic Development. “It is the perfect combination of public and private resources working together to improve our manufacturing climate.”

Metaldyne, a global auto parts supplier with a plant in Bluffton, is among the companies that have utilized Skill-Link. Daun Spurgeon, manager of technical services at Metaldyne in Bluffton, said two apprentices and one production worker completed training and received industrial maintenance certification through the program.

“Fantastic classes,” Spurgeon said. “I've been very impressed with how it’s handled. I’ve been in this business for 30 years and for WorkOne to put something together like this, I’m very excited.”

Typically, Gatman said, WorkOne and its partners work with employers to establish specific training needs, develop curriculum, and identify employees for the program. Training program candidates then go through an eligibility process that includes drug screens.

Skill-Link, Gatman said, augments other training and certification programs that include an on-the-job training component that reimburses employers 50 percent of eligible new employees’ wages while they are learning a job and a WorkINdiana program that allows people to earn their high school equivalency while also completing an industry certification.

“Most employers are no longer content to up-skill their workers with off-the-shelf, one-size-fits-all training programs,” Gatman said. “Skill-Link provides training that is relevant to each individual workplace.”

About Northeast Indiana Works: Northeast Indiana Works provides public and private financial and employment resources to businesses and individuals for education and skills training to meet the needs of regional industries. The nonprofit sets policy for how public and private funds are utilized to support talent development. It also operates and staffs the 11 county-based WorkOne Northeast career centers in the region. Individuals and companies may access resources and services by visiting or calling WorkOne in their county.

Source: WorkOne

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