Carlos Alvarado is a student in the mechanized agriculture program at Reedley College. "I'm studying to be a maintenance mechanic in the industrial field."
He came back to school after working in a shop for five years to quote "fill in the gaps" and pick up new skills to advance himself in his career.
Alvarado said, "I think for the Valley, there's shops out there that are looking for people that can make parts for them, mechanics, and have the knowledge to do it."
He's one of hundreds of students who stand to benefit from improved job training in new careers. That's because Reedley College was just awarded a three year, million dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Labor.
The grant will be used to prepare job candidates for new careers in high wage, highly skilled fields like advanced manufacturing, alternative fuels and renewable energy.
David Tikkanen said, "A lot of the technologies are new and just an edge for our students to have, coming out of the program and having some experience in those fields is a really good advantage for them."
The money will also go towards meeting industry needs, accelerating learning and improving retention and achievement rates.
Industrial Technology Department Chair David Tikkanen says the college will hire additional teachers, purchase new equipment and will work with Valley businesses to increase opportunities for the unemployed.
Something students like Carlos Alvarado plan to use to their advantage. "That's why I'm here, to benefit myself and my family."