Men and women in job-training program give back to the community

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Playland in Fresno got a little TLC on Wednesday morning from some special workers.

There are nine men and woman who are in the job training program. Pat Barr, who is the coordinator of the pre-apprentice construction trades class, said that group has worked very hard for several weeks to make it to this point.

"It's a six-week program where they get acquainted with and get experience in seven to eight different unions," Barr explained.

Barr mentioned those in the program do not have to pay for the class. She said it's sponsored by the Fresno Regional Workforce Development Board (FRWDB) and the Fresno, Madera, Kings, & Tulare Building Trades Council.

Adream Johnson joined the program after struggling to find work in the construction field.

"It means the world. It means a future for me and my kids," she said.

Johnson mentioned she has learned so much over the last six weeks.

"It's hands-on experience, with that experience we get knowledge of different trades," Johnson explained. "We get to help decide what we want to do, make that decision of what works best for us, what we are good at, find our weaknesses, find our strengths and use them to the best of our abilities."

Johnson even figured out what path she wants to take.

"I love welding. I have a natural for it, and it's just something that draws me in," she said.

On Wednesday, the group gave back to the community and put their skills to work. They spent the morning making repairs and doing general maintenance at Storyland to get it ready for visitors.

"This is quite a group. These are people who've had barriers to employment, or maybe they decided what they were doing wasn't what they needed to do," Barr said. "This is an opportunity for them to gather themselves up to see how they fit not only into a new career but how they can fit constructively into the community."

On Friday the group will graduate. They will receive certifications for OSHA-10, CPR & First Aid, and Forklift Training as well as certificates of completion from the following seven unions including plumbers, electricians, ironworkers, sheet metal, cement masons, teamsters, and operation engineers.

Many of the men and women in the program already have interviews lined up this week in hopes of getting a job.

Barr mentioned this was their 13th class. They've been able to fund the class with a grant. However, the funds will soon run out. She will be offering one more class in July.

Anyone interested in the class can click here.

Barr added next year new grant money would become available to start up similar classes again.
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