Fast job-retraining for industries that are hiring

By Heather Sullivan - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Are you looking for a job, but not finding any in your field? You can train for a job in a different field in a short period of time, for local industries that are actually hiring. And you may not even have to pay much for it.

Local community colleges work with local businesses and industries to develop programs specifically to train workers for jobs these companies need to fill. The programs range from as short as one semester to just two years. That means you can change careers in as little as a few months for jobs that are in demand.

Like thousands of other people, Rudy Smith struggled to find a new job. "I was working for Qimonda. When that layoff came around, it was tough out there in the job market."

A skills assessment at the Virginia Employment Commission led him to study HVAC technology at John Tyler Community College. His tuition is paid through the Trade Act. Said Smith, "The most logical thing for a lot of us to do was to go back to school."

John Tyler's Coordinator of Manufacturing, Trades & Technical Programs, Melinda Miller says he'll likely land a job because the program is geared to fill local jobs. Said Miller, "We also have a welding program, we have a machining program, which is one of the best in the area."

Jerry Dawson was an industrial engineer. Russ Mayes was a computer programmer. Now they're both studying to become teachers in just 16 weeks at J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College.

Said Dawson, "Most programs out there that teach these teaching skills are two years long and this condenses it into one semester, so you can quickly get into something new for your life."

Dr. Harriet Morrison with J. Sargeant Reynolds says the Career Switchers program puts qualified teachers into math, science and english classes, fast. "They get a job, teach successfully for one year, then get the five year renewable license that all qualified teachers have."

Dawson and Mayes say it's a short path to a long term employment. Said Mayes, "Long term, I'm much less concerned about it than in the short term. I don't think middle schools and high schools are going to go away."

Local schools offer a wide variety of programs, from precision machining, to nursing, to homeland security, all of which are expected to be growth areas in metro Richmond. Contact the schools now to start the application process for next term. Be sure to ask the school and the Virginia Employment Commission about financial aid opportunities.

The Virginia Education Wizard can help you figure out what field you'd like to study and how likely you are to find a local job in that field.

Here's a list of some of the shorter-term retraining programs offered at John Tyler Community College:


  • Building Construction
  • Child Care
  • Fine Arts
  • Homeland Security
  • Precision Machining Technology
  • Welding

Career Studies Certificates

  • Accounting
  • Administration of Justice
  • Adult Home Administration
  • Air Conditioning
  • Allied Health Preparation, Pre-Funeral Services
  • Allied Health Preparation, Pre-Nursing
  • Allied Health, Surgical Technology Preparatory
  • Applied Technology
  • Basic Precision Machining
  • Bereavement and Grief Counseling
  • Business Information Management
  • Child Care Management
  • Cisco Network
  • Civil Engineering Computer-Aided Drafting
  • Computer-Aided Drafting
  • Computer Applications*
  • Computer Numerical Control
  • Early Childhood
  • Electricity
  • Emergency Medical Services - Basic
  • Emergency Medical Services - Intermediate
  • Human Services Administration and Supervision
  • Industrial Electricity
  • Mechanical Maintenance
  • Network Support*
  • Paralegal Studies
  • Program Development*
  • Real Estate
  • Residential Electricity
  • Small Business Management
  • Substance Abuse Assistant
  • Supervision
  • Surgical Technology
  • Surveying
  • Web Design
  • Welding

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