Vocational Program Helping Workers Return to the Workforce

by Anayeli Ruiz
NewsWest 9

Howard College is doing its part to get people back into the workforce. They recently started a vocational program and it's paying off for students.  It's only been up and running for a few months, but the vocational program at Howard College is going strong.

"Been with out a job for six months now," Howard College Student, James Wilson, said.

Wilson enrolled at Howard College in March and late last year, he lost his job. Now he's planning to get a certification in welding.

"80-85% of people coming through the program are displaced. Their job left, laid off, several leave town and there's no place for these people to go work with the skills that they have."  Don Ewing, Director of Workforce Training, said.

As part of the vocational classes, students get a ton of hands on experience and this real world experience will help them compete for jobs.

"Working with Texas Workforce and everyone will be given to the West Texas Workforce and place people," Ewing said.

In the meantime, Wilson is optimistic and hopes that all of his work will help pay off.

"I think its very beneficial. I'm looking at employing myself and work in the oilfields. I have a lot more choices now then I did before," Wilson said.

This program is not free, but scholarships are available through Texas Workforce Solutions. Howard College hopes to expand and offer a building trades vocational program for the Spring.