ALPENA - The opportunities at Alpena Community College are increasing thanks to innovative teachers and eager students hungry for knowledge and experience. ACC Auto Service instructor Peter Eastwood, with the help of Pam Richardson of Star Staffing, have put together a program to better enhance students' work experience.
"Students involved in co-op can get paid, but they have to pay for the program," Eastwood said. "This program offers financial reward. It gives the students something valuable to work towards."
The students aren't placed at a certain job, they must first create a resume and turn it into Star Staffing. Then they are put through the same process as all others who are seeking employment through the Star Staffing. They have to pass background checks, complete drug tests, and regularly update their available information.
If they pass all these requirements, their information is then shared with potential employers who have a need for their skills set. It is then up to the employer to contact the student based on what qualifications match up.
The employers benefit from being able to survey the workforce available to them, and auto shops have the option of a flexible workforce. The students are already a semester into their training and have the correct qualifications to be employed in an actual shop. Employers have the option of asking for a worker for a day, week, or however long they would like. There are no strings attached and no contracts or paperwork to hold them to retaining the students, unless the shop decides to offer them a job.
"There is no special deal for employment. It is intended to be a wide open opportunity," Eastwood said. "It's not just an educational setting, the temp work allows them to get a foot in the door."
Downtown Union 76 partner/owner/technician Dave Hillert offered a temporary position to program participant Allen Goings. Goings has been enrolled in auto studies since 2011 and is the first student to participate in the employment program. Through his temp work at Union 76 he has learned how to handle real situations in an real work environment. He recently has been offered a part-time position at Union 76 based on his performance during his temp work. He credits Eastwood for always being involved in the industry.
"With the industry going electrical ... he takes the time to break everything down for you, and he really loves his work," Goings said.
Hillert found out about the idea for the program from Eastwood and was eager for his business to participate. Union 76 is in its 36th year and always has been involved with high school co-op programs and shadowing opportunities within the community.
"It offers the student some employment experience, and we get the opportunity to work with more than an entry-level technician," Hillert said. "This program is head and shoulders above the rest."
Requirements to qualify for the program, besides the requirements for Star Staffing, include having a grade of B or better in Eastwood's class, an exemplary attendance record, and a good attitude. The auto service program at ACC is a popular program and requires early registration, so those interested must be diligent when applying.
"One of the unique parts of this program is that we all work on customer vehicles, which gives the students an early advantage in the work force," Eastwood said. "I want them to succeed. Some dedication will serve them well as to having a rewarding career."
Businesses interested in participating in the program can take their information to Star Staffing or contact Eastwood at the ACC Auto Service department.
"This benefits the whole community, not just the program. Students can be educated while working within the community, and the need for experienced employment within the community is satisfied," Eastwood said.
Nicole Grulke can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5687.