New Port Richey FL – Dawn is 57 years old. She was born deaf. Dawn worked in the manufacturing industry previously but was let go when her job was automated. Since then, she has been looking for her next challenge. She found AmSkills.
Dawn recently graduated from the AmSkills Career Discovery Bootcamp. She is the first deaf person to do so. During the 2-week bootcamp, she learned the skills she needs for a career in the current manufacturing industry. With the help of an interpreter, Dawn managed every part of the bootcamp flawlessly.
“75 percent of the deaf community is unemployed or underemployed,” said Jennifer Hess, Executive Director of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services of Florida, Inc. “Manufacturing is an excellent industry for the deaf and hard of hearing community to work in because they already utilize their vision instead of hearing, so they are ahead of their hearing coworkers if the environment is noisy. Dawn’s success in the AmSkills bootcamp opens the doors for other deaf and hard of hearing people to find well-paying careers in the manufacturing industry.”
“Most people have no idea how many manufacturing opportunities are available within their community because they aren’t familiar with the industry or don’t believe they have the necessary skills to seek employment. This program provides participants with the information, skills, and opportunity they need to launch a career at the end of the bootcamp,” said Tom Mudano, President & CEO of AmSkills.
The 2-week, free Career Discovery bootcamp consists of multiple hands-on projects, blueprint and measurement reading, intro to soldering, attending tours of local manufacturers and obtaining an OSHA Safety Certificate. During the program, participants will also receive guidance in preparation for a job interview. All participants who successfully complete the bootcamp will receive a Certificate of Completion and will be guaranteed several job interviews on the last day.
Dawn interviewed with six local manufacturers on the last day of bootcamp. She was offered second interviews with 3 of those companies. She should know by the end of the month which of those companies will be extending job offers.
“Watching our first deaf candidate go through the bootcamp was a very exciting experience for us at AmSkills,” said Mudano. “It gave us the opportunity to tweak the program in ways that make it more accessible to a wider range of individuals.”
Bootcamps are being scheduled almost every month. They are mobile and are offered in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco and Hernando counties.
AmSkills manufacturing bootcamps have been going on for several years. And they are successful. In 2021, 89% of the people that participated in bootcamps were hired by a local manufacturer. What’s even more exciting is that 80% of those hired ARE STILL WORKING.
If you are interested in attending an upcoming workshop, visit http://www.amskills.org or call (727) 301-1282 ext. 126 to register. Seats are limited, but reservations will be accepted until all available spots are filled.
AmSkills is a 501(c)(3) organization with a mission to “transform lives through workforce training and apprenticeships.” AmSkills teaches high school students and adults the foundational skills needed for a career in the manufacturing industry using hands-on training. It also gives these students the chance to explore multiple career paths in the manufacturing field. Once completed, candidates are eligible for paid, semi-skilled jobs or skilled apprenticeship opportunities.
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