Mayor Dewey Bartlett spoke to the participants of Transportation Connections WorkAdvance (TCW) yesterday at the program’s second-ever graduation ceremony. Over 40 graduates were recognized for successfully completing an occupational skills training program offered through local education partners, such as Tulsa Tech, Central Tech, 4M Welding, and Tulsa Community College. Transportation Connections WorkAdvance was designed by the NYC Center for Economic Opportunity (CEO) as a replication of one of its anti-poverty initiatives in New York City. CEO continues to oversee and evaluate TCW, ensuring its effectiveness at reducing poverty and empowering unemployed and underemployed workers to advance in their careers.
TCW helps Tulsa’s unemployed and under-employed residents by equipping them with technical skills in one of Tulsa’s high-demand industries of transportation and manufacturing. Through funding from the federal Social Innovation Fund, the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, and the Tulsa Community Foundation, all services of the program are provided at no cost. These graduates, along with those in the past, make up the 116 total graduates who have successfully completed one of the following training programs over the past two years in diesel maintenance, aviation manufacturing, CNC machining, welding, and commercial driving. TCW chose to focus on these training areas because they are in high-demand industries, which are important to Tulsa’s economy.
The City of Tulsa has been supportive from the beginning and helped TCW make important initial connections to the industry partners. “This workforce development program ties in perfectly with my goal to promote labor-trade jobs as a viable career for individuals,” Mayor Dewey Bartlett said. “I hear every day that our manufacturing sector needs more skilled workers to fill jobs in Tulsa. As mayor, I am glad the city of Tulsa has had this opportunity to be part of a program that is creating opportunity for Tulsans to be placed from low-paying jobs to higher-paying employment that improves their income and quality of life in Tulsa.”
Transportation Connections WorkAdvance is a non-profit organization in downtown Tulsa that is helping unemployed and underemployed Tulsa residents gain access to quality jobs in the transportation industry and then advance in those jobs. TCW provides Tulsa residents with career advancement training, job placement services and specific transportation-related scholarships to local education providers all at no cost.
“This initiative connects the residents of Tulsa to free technical training for high demand industrial occupations” said Christopher Bernhardt, Program Director of TCW. “Our goal is to help the residents of Tulsa connect to good jobs with opportunities to advance while also helping local businesses find the talented employees they need to grow.”
Jela Anderson-Mims hadn’t worked in two years when he came to TCW. “I think the program is excellent because it provided me with a strong technical education for a new career and an opportunity to provide myself with a better life,” Mr. Anderson-Mims said, adding, “I have recently been given more hours and more opportunities at work. Things are going great.” Jela earned a full-time job with Hoffmeier Trucking after completing his training program and continues to enjoy the opportunity.
Kenneth Statton, CEO of M&M Manufacturing, has been a strong partner to the initiative since its inception. “Tulsa has been facing a shortage of CNC machinists for years. Many small and medium size companies like mine are growing rapidly and we need good talent to help us meet our growing production needs. We have successfully hired several graduates from Transportation Connections WorkAdvance and are looking forward to meeting the newest graduating class and current students as well.”
Transportation Connections WorkAdvance is currently recruiting applicants for its final round of training classes, which will begin in August 2013. To apply for the program, please call (918) 442-2200 or visit the center, Monday through Wednesday at 9:00 a.m. to attend orientation. TCW is located at 907 S. Detroit, Suite 830, Tulsa, OK.