BRISTOL – Five students have successfully completed Bristol Adult Education’s newest version manufacturing training program, which incorporated child care for the first time.
Jonathan Castro, Jose Del Monte, Nadia Rivera, Paulina Garcia Chavez and Zel Stancil each received their Certificate of Competence at a ceremony Thursday afternoon, endorsed by Bristol Adult Education, Rowley Spring & Stamping and the New England Spring and Metalstamping Association.
Bristol residents Del Monte and Chavez, who are married, attended the ceremony with their three children: Angel, 7, Adam, 4, and Avril, 2.
“I came in the program about a month late too, but the instructors are very helpful. We managed to make it through,” Del Monte said. “In the future I’ll be looking into switching careers, hopefully to make a lot more money.”
The latest version of the program started last March, with 11 participants. They had to go through 26 days of classroom training with instructors Jacquelyn Strawson and Brian Reardon, and then 20 days of hands-on training at Rowley, which is next door to the program. Rowley donated toolboxes to everyone who completed the program.
“We work on quality control, fourslide set up and operation, and also torsion, which is spring making, coiling. That’s what we do here in Bristol, not to say that these skills are not transferable to other areas,” Reardon said.
The program also focused on workplace conduct, math skills, conversions, reading blueprints, machine maintenance, spring applications, spring types, resume writing, and cover letters, he said.
“I understand that working in manufacturing is not everybody’s thing, so we’re going to lose some students along the way for various reasons,” Reardon said. “But our feeling is if you make it through the program and you test out in your final exam you’re probably ready for a real good, solid, entry-level position in the field.”
“The goal is for all five to be hired within two or three months,” he added.
Covino said all five people who went through the last version of the program, which was specifically aimed at women, are all employed in manufacturing today. Some have changed jobs here and there but “it has changed their lives,” he said.
The next version of the manufacturing training program will start in October or early November, Covino said. “Our goal is maybe to do two next year. The jobs are there.”
This was the sixth version of the manufacturing program, which is a collaboration between Bristol Adult Education and Rowley. Earlier this year, the program received funding from the state Office of Early Childhood to build a child care center at its facilities on Redstone Hill Road so parents could go through the program while their children were being cared for in another part of the building.
“We had a trained adult in charge here, with a helper, and some of the kids were here for six hours,” said Larry Covino, program director. “They had educational activities and projects, and there’s a big area out back so they could go outside.”
The child care center also supported parents who were participating in other Bristol Adult Education programs, like alternative high school diploma programs. Covino said it will be an ongoing important feature that the program offers.
Kyle Pilon, project manager with the Office of Early Childhood, said it’s important for his office to support these opportunities for parents to get training. “What’s best for the child is what’s best for the parent, so we’re happy to be here,” he said.
Susan Corica can be reached at 860-973-1802 or email@example.com.