Cullman Career Center Work-Based Learning program offers pathway to industry

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Kalub Garnett works at one of Royal Technology’s injection molding machines. (Photo courtesy of Susan Guthrie/Royal Technologies)

CULLMAN, Ala. – Kalub Garnett, with a little effort and a good work ethic, is currently in training for his second promotion at Royal Technologies, a company at which his first job came as a bit of a surprise. After Garnett graduated from high school in 2017, his mother, who previously worked at the Alabama Career Center in Cullman, pointed him to that office and its Youth Facilitator Kelley Taylor. With Taylor’s guidance, Garnett joined Royal Technologies’ staff a week later through a special program known as Work-Based Learning (WBL).

In a job market where employers want experience, people entering straight out of high school are at a distinct disadvantage. WBL, funded under the federal government’s Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), seeks to boost their employability by paying for apprenticeships, internships and on-the-job training experiences. 

According to wioa-alabama.org:

The program targets young adults who are not attending secondary school and meet the requirements of the WIOA out-of-school youth program. The goal of the program is to promote the development of good work habits and basic work skills by participation in a structured paid work-based learning activity. Work-Based Learning is not a stand-alone activity but is an integral part of the overall services for young adults. Objectives include:

  • To improve a participant’s work maturity skills through meaningful work-based learning assignments and proper supervision; and/or
  • To improve a participant’s occupational skills through worksite instruction and well-supervised job tasks; and
  • To enhance a participant’s academic and other basic skills through relevant worksite experience.

 

Program participants will complete the Work-Based Learning Program activity with enhanced work maturity skills. In addition, participants should find that they have a better understanding of future employment or training options. Each participant’s work-based learning activities are reviewed and evaluated with respect to the above goals and objectives.

The program partners with Alabama Career Centers who are responsible for recruiting and determining eligibility for program participants. Career Center staff also solicit, review and select Worksite/Facilities and are case managers for young adults enrolled in the program.

The WBL program provided Garnett a paid three-month internship at Royal Technologies that did not cost the company anything. At the end of his internship, the company liked what it saw in him and hired him full-time. Since then, Garnett has moved up in the company, working on injection molding machines to manufacture automotive components. He told The Tribune that he intends to make a career out of this job.

“It’s definitely somewhere to start looking for a profession, if you don’t know what you’re going to be doing after high school, which is basically what position I was in,” Garnett said of WBL. “I didn’t know what I wanted to do. And I’m sure there’s a lot of other high schoolers that are about to graduate that don’t really know what they want to do.”

Garnett also had words of praise for Taylor and the help she gave him, saying, “She knew what she was doing; I can say that. I would definitely send other people to her if they were in my position.”

For more information on Work-Based Learning and other WIOA programs to assist job seekers, visit https://wioa-alabama.org.

Visit the Alabama Career Center in Cullman at 1201 Katherine St. NW, or call 256-734-5580.

For WIOA youth programs in the Cullman area, contact Kelley Taylor at 256-734-5580, ext. 85276 or email Kelley.Taylor@alcc.alabama.gov.

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W.C. Mann

craig@cullmantribune.com