Posted on Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Workforce-WednesdayAndrew Compton (pictured left), a young military veteran, did what most people do when they visit the Opportunity, Inc. One-Stop Workforce Center in Norfolk – he rang the bell for employment.

Recently separated from the Navy and looking for work, Compton came to the workforce center hoping to cultivate a job opportunity. He was given the option to enroll in short-term workforce training and/or receive On-The-Job Training (OJT). After conversations with Job-Driven National Dislocated Worker Grant (NDWG) Coordinator Paul Hughes, placement into an OJT program seemed appropriate. Compton began to look for work in a variety of industries including IT, healthcare, advanced manufacturing, logistics and transportation. Heather Kitsis, a certified Virginia adult career coach at Tidewater Community College, would help him navigate the challenges that lie ahead.

Compton worked with Kitsis to refine some of his “soft skills” and help him prepare for his next interview. That meant writing resumes and cover letters as well as developing interview tactics and strategies.

Within a few weeks, Business Services Coordinator Jackie Rondeau matched Compton with a job (machine operator) at Hermes Abrasives, a local manufacturer. While he did get an interview, he wasn’t offered the job. But, Compton’s story doesn’t end there. As it turns out, he had written a “thank you” letter after the job interview; a polite gesture that is frequently overlooked by job-seekers but one that can make all the difference in a tight labor market. The letter prompted the folks at Hermes to revisit his application and ultimately make Compton a job offer which he gladly accepted. 

“I was very impressed with the Opportunity, Inc. staff and how they explained the OJT program to me and worked with me on identifying companies that would be interested in somebody with my skills,” Compton said while reflecting on his experience. “I appreciate all the support and encouragement the staff provided, especially when it looked like I might not get the job after a difficult interview. But it worked out well in the end!”

Compton’s success story would not have been possible without the JD NDWG program and the team efforts of Opportunity, Inc., NDWG Coordinator Paul Hughes, and TCC Career Coach Heather Kitsis.

The services of the adult career coach and On-the-Job Training were funded by the Job-Driven NDWG program – a $6,100,000 initiative funded by the US Department of Labor. To date, the program has assisted over 250 individuals across six workforce areas in Virginia. For more information, please contact Alex Berry at aberry@vccs.edu.

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Virginia's Community Colleges

Created more than 40 years ago, the VCCS is comprised of 23 community colleges located on 40 campuses across the commonwealth. Together, Virginia’s Community Colleges serve about 400,000 students a year in credit and workforce courses.

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