Job Starter: Helping Locals Find Their “Best Fit” Employer & Getting Paid to Train

Wed Oct 26, 2022 at 10:01 AM

Job Starter Feature Story

Job Starter grad Austin Alger is a composite
technician at Dynamic Aviation.

Currently in its third round of training, Blue Ridge Community College’s Job Starter program continues to grow and evolve to help people find their employment “best fit” and help meet the workforce needs of local manufacturers.

Job Starter is a three-week program that provides participants with the skills and training needed to be successful starting a job in advanced manufacturing.

Recent Job Starter grad, Austin Alger went through the spring 2022 program and is currently employed with Dynamic Aviation in Bridgewater. He said he was immediately sold on the “amazing benefits of the program” and the opportunity to explore a new career field, and was especially excited to see that Dynamic Aviation was one of the partnering employers.

As a composite technician at Dynamic Aviation, Austin says, “I’m still learning as much as I possibly can right now and have been shadowing some amazing people. My job involves a lot of hands on learning, and everyone on the team is so inviting to share their knowledge!”

During the Job Starter program, participants learn skills such as blue print reading and workplace readiness, and receive hands-on training such as forklift, machining, and welding. Facility tours by participating companies provide an unfiltered glimpse into workplace environments and culture, and interviews are guaranteed at the end of the program. Meanwhile, participants earn $15 an hour during their training. 

Megan Danas, a recruiter for Dynamic Aviation says that Job Starter participants should know that everyone involved in the program – from the companies to the instructors and staff at BRCC – is there to support them.  “We all want the same outcome for the participants… to get them hired!”

As for Dynamic Aviation’s recent Job Starter hire, “Austin stood out as a strong candidate for his ambition, eagerness, and initiative to learn and grow with the company,” Megan explained. “He asked great questions and even connected with the Composite team during the company tour.”

The most common jobs for Job Starter graduates include: production associate, machine operator, manufacturing apprentice and more; and the average starting hourly wage range is $16-23 an hour.

Partnering companies for the Fall 2022 Job Starter program are: AGStacker, Blue Ridge Machine Works, Cadence, Danone, Dynamic Aviation, Lycra, Regal Rexnord, and Wieland Provides.

Austin felt that one of the most important benefits of the Job Starter program was, “touring and seeing each company and how their operations are run.”

BRCC plans to offer another round of Job Starter training beginning on January 30, 2023. Watch the web site - https://www.brcc.edu/continuinged/manufacturing/jobstarter - for updated information.

And for anyone considering enrolling in the program, Megan says, “Don’t take this opportunity for granted, there are not many opportunities to do something like this.”