With four years of unemployment between them, Ron Vazquez and Mohamed Issolah were desperate for work when they turned to the Missouri Career Center for help.
And now, thanks to the customized aluminum-welding program offered at OTC, the two will soon be earning a living with Polar Tank Trailer LLC in Springfield.
“It’s going well for me. I thank God. I got laid off from an industrial job a year ago,” said Vazquez, who was in the U.S. for only a month before enrolling in the program, after coming from Puerto Rico to live with his mother in Ozark.
Students in the program are trained in various welding techniques and then go to work for Polar. The course is three weeks long and there were eight students in the last class.
Sherry Coker, director of the OTC Center for Workforce Development, said the center worked with the state’s career center to develop the program with Polar.
“This program is a great example of how OTC’s Center for Workforce Development works to meet the needs of our area employers. Polar Tank entrusted us to help them find skilled aluminum welders,” she said.
“We then worked with our colleagues at the Missouri Career Center who were able to identify dislocated former steel welders who, with a skills upgrade, would be excellent candidates for employment in the aluminum welding industry.”
The customized program is an accelerated, hands-on course that includes teaching skills and competencies that Polar Tank was looking for and also provides graduating students with portable, industry-recognized credentials endorsed by the National Association of Manufacturing.
Mohamed Issolah, a native of Algeria who has been living in the Ozarks since 2001, had a welding background but had been out of work for three years before being referred to the Polar program by the career center.
“I asked for them to find me a job, any job. When they told me about this program, I jumped at the chance. The training I received here has been excellent,” he said.
“I’m excited to have a job waiting for me when I’m finished.”
Steve Koehler is coordinator of media relations at Ozarks Technical Community College.
College Director of Communications
Coordinator of Media Relations
Phone: (417) 447-2666