Rufus knew he needed more education if he wanted a higher paying job. So he went to the Dane County Job Center where he enrolled in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Adult Program through the WorkSmart Network to access career and training options available to him.
While working with his WIOA Career Services Specialist, Rufus learned of a new short-term training offered in partnership with Madison College. The 14-week Welding and Fabrication Academy was designed to help individuals like Rufus skill up quickly to advance in their industry with career readiness and technical skills.
For Rufus, it meant stepping onto a college campus for the first time.
“The first [class] was a little intimidating since I haven’t done it in a long time [like] dealing with college instructors. I relaxed and settled in and took in what they were teaching me. And other students were supportive and helped me,” explained Rufus. “I had good, patient instructors. If they had to sit next to you and instruct the class from there to help you, they would.”
Two weeks after graduation, Rufus interviewed with Amcor Flexibles of Madison. “Once I told them I went through this, they were really happy about that. They really emphasized that they like to hire people who went to Madison College.”
Amcor hired Rufus as a Flexo Press Operator to run the press machines that print flexible medical packaging like band-aids and gauze packaging. The permanent position is full-time and offers a great benefit package for Rufus to help support his family. And Rufus recently completed his 90-days of on-the-job training, which offers workers more experience and businesses an affordable way to train new employees.
Rufus believes he got this job thanks to the Academy. He hopes his success story can encourage others to attend Academies and get an education. And he especially wants to encourage his children to get an education. “Go to school. Go early. Don’t go late like me,” he tells them.
“This [WIOA] program will help you. They’ll help you get a job and get on your feet. But it’ll take some time. WorkSmart is the easiest way. Apply yourself and they’ll push you through.”