5 Day Path to Employment

By Curtis Wildfong • Last Updated 8:46 pm on Friday, December 20, 2013

Greenville resident Rodney Brown prepares for the end of his shift Thursday at auto manufacturer Federal-Mogul in Greenville. Brown found employment with the company after taking part in a five-day path to employment training program by the Central Area Michigan Works! Consortium. — Daily News/Curtis Wildfong


GREENVILLE — A year-long search for work had turned up zero opportunities for Rodney Brown, who lost his job in maintenance with United Solar Ovonic when the Greenville company shut down.

Brown had neared the end of his rope when he signed up for the Five Day Path to Employment training program through the Central Area Michigan Works! Consortium.

True to its name, five days later the Greenville man had an in-person interview with Federal-Mogul of Greenville and now has a job with the auto parts manufacturer.

“I figured it can’t hurt, anything that can help me with my job portfolio. And it really helped,” said Brown, who is now a full-time production worker. “It helped me get a job, it did what it was supposed to do. It gave me the opportunity.”

The program, which was held in August, had on-site training in the manufacturing field. Taught by area manufacturers as well as Montcalm Community College staff, the training program, which was geared toward manufacturing jobs, helped hone workers’ skills and help them develop new ones. It included four days of training and the fifth day dedicated to interviews.

From reading blueprints to operating calipers, potential workers developed tools that added to their assortment of skills that made them attractive to manufacturers.

“We got to practice interviewing and we revamped our resume,” Brown said. “They give you more of what (employers) are looking for as far as employees. I had to develop other skills to help me out.”

And Brown isn’t the only one. Seventeen others went through the program, all guaranteed a college certificate from MCC and an in-person interview. Thirteen of those participants are now employed.

“There just were some people who weren’t getting through that first glance,” said Kathy Jo VanderLaan, business services manager of the consortium. “This was to help some of those people.”

The program helped participants become applicants with more complete resumes, chock-full of applicable skills.

With a majority of those taking part finding work, VanderLaan said the inaugural session was a huge success.

“We’d never done anything like this so we didn’t know what to expect,” she said.

It was so beneficial, the consortium is hosting a similar program starting Jan. 13 in Ionia County. Anyone is welcome to sign up, including Montcalm County residents. The cost is $25 and anyone interested is asked to call Michigan Works! at (616) 527-1360.

Brown encouraged anyone looking for work to take part in the program.

“My foot is in the door, that’s all you can ask,” he said. “My foot wouldn’t be in if it weren’t for the help.”

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