Adult learners get jobs through career training program

Oct. 2—HAVERHILL — Mikayla Montanez, 22, of Lawrence, attended a free career training program to learn carpentry skills at Whittier Regional Vocational High School this summer in hopes of obtaining a job in her chosen field.

Her efforts paid off.

After she completed the program she accepted a position at Twomey & Legare Contracting.

"The trades and vocations are preached to high school students, but not to adults," Montanez said. "I think adults need to know that trades are still an option. This program is great and I love it."

As part of Summer Career Technical Institute, Whittier offered free career training for Massachusetts residents who identified as unemployed or underemployed and well over half of the 31 participating students obtained jobs in their field of study.

Whittier and MassHire Merrimack Valley Career Center continue to work with students who haven't yet secured employment to connect them with relevant job opportunities. A total of 60% of students are now working full-time in the trades.

Welding student David Burmudez, 18, of Lawrence, accepted a position at Tremcar Inc.

"I came in knowing nothing about welding and now I know a solid bit about the field and I know I always need to continue learning," Burmudez said. "There are people out there like me that just graduated who want to start a career but don't know where to get started, so I think these programs are really important."

The program was funded by a Career Technical Initiative Grant administered by the Baker-Polito administration. Training was offered in the welding, carpentry, culinary arts, electrical and auto body pathways.

The purpose of the program is to provide access to training so that participants can find meaningful employment directly after program completion, school officials said.

"There are so many opportunities in the trades, and our core mission is to connect adult learners to these opportunities through our CTI program," Whittier Superintendent Maureen Lynch said. "Seeing so many students succeed is a proud moment for Whittier, and a testament to their hard work and the dedication of their instructors."

Thirty-one students ages 18 to 57 completed 200 hours of training from June 27 to Aug. 11. They learned key skills, the use of tools, and concepts necessary to excel in their given trade. All students earned a program completion certificate, OSHA 10, and/or Hot Works or Servsafe certifications, depending on the trade.

Students also participated in weekly career workshops led by the MassHire Merrimack Valley Career Center. Students built resumes, engaged in job searches, practiced interviewing.

Additionally, 13 of the 31 students attended a Job Fair Event at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard on Aug. 2. All attendees received at least one formal job offer. Many left with two offers.

Whittier Tech plans to hold a Marine CTI and Computer Numerical Controls Advanced Manufacturing CTI this fall, as well as a complete program in the summer of 2023. Interested students should reach out to to begin the registration process.

To be eligible for the program, students must be Massachusetts residents, 18 years or older, and identify as unemployed or underemployed.