The Enterprise Center announced Monday a second round of people have graduated from the Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training program. Graduation will be held Wednesday at noon at the Urban League.
Twenty-five adult learners from the city and county participated in the Enterprise Center's Environmental job training program and came away certified in several areas, including hazardous waste operations and emergency response, construction, and general industry. The certifications are recognized by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Six national certifications were earned by the graduates. Of the 25 graduates, 16 are gearing up to start the commercial driver’s license Class A trucking driving program in partnership with Chattanooga State and the TN Career Center in anticipation of earning their CDL licenses in seven weeks and driving commercial vehicles full time in May.
The program is sponsored by a $300,000 federal Environmental Protection Agency grant. The money will be awarded over three years to help a total of 75 people get jobs. Program coordinator Donna Van Natten, who holds a doctorate degree in Educational Leadership, stated that the Enterprise Center will do all it can to make sure its graduates obtain full time, good paying careers that go beyond minimum wage jobs.
Enrollees in the program must have a high school diploma or GED and possess a valid Tennessee driver’s license as part of the program. Having a criminal record doesn't automatically disqualify a person from the program, said Van Natten. “We look at each applicant’s profile case by case to ensure that they are committed to the full day program and understand the effort it takes to be successful in manufacturing, construction, and transportation lines of work.” The first graduating class completed the 13-week training course in December and almost 75 percent have full-time employment.