Bethel hosts Graduation Event for Cohort 7

  • December 16, 2015
  • On Friday November 13th Bethel New Life hosted a graduation ceremony for recent graduates of its Advanced Manufacturing Training program (AMT). The graduating class (Cohort 7) was comprised of 10 individuals from various walks of life who all saw the benefit of pursuing and obtaining the credentials to substantially improve their earning potential.

    The event was well attended by family and friends who came out to support and cheer on the graduates. After months of hard work and sacrifice, the members of Cohort 7 have positioned themselves to take advantage of new opportunities within the manufacturing industry.


    Opening new doors

    Ed Coleman, Bethel’s Chief Innovation Officer calls the AMT program, “one of Bethel’s signature initiatives.” He added, “The program provides the opportunity for people to pick up skills that may not have ever been available to them and utilize those skills to open doors and improve their standard of living.”

    Cohort 7 graduate Markeia Wilkins is doing just that. She has already been hired as a CNC Machine Operator and says she feels well prepared as a result of the AMT. “Coming out of this program I have been able to work on brand new CNC machines that costs upwards of $500,000 and I’m able to operate these machines with minimal supervision.”

    Wilkins displays a high level of self-confidence in her newly acquired skills and she’s also very optimistic about her future. She explained that in addition to her new job, she has also been offered an opportunity to participate in a 3-year apprenticeship program related to CNC Programming, which could boost her earning potential even more.

    Thus far Bethel has been successful at advocating and leveraging relationships with employers to hire graduates of the AMTP. According to Bethel’s Workforce Development Specialist Jumaani Bates, the secret lies in putting out a good sound product. However, he admits there are still challenges that exist due to some lingering misconceptions.

    Bates added that after having conversations with some of Bethel’s partners, they realized that with steady placement of the AMT graduates those misconceptions would begin to change and they have. As proof he added that over the past year or so Bethel’s employer relationships have grown by close 150 percent.

    Preparing for the future

    Keith Chatman, another Cohort 7 graduate, is very grateful for what he learned in the AMT. “I used to see these jobs listed and I knew that CNC stood for Computer Numerical Control, but I didn’t fully understand the entire picture. During this program I learned how machines work, the different type of machines, how wide open the industry is with the different job opportunities, and the economic stability for CNC machinist which is what I crave.”

    Chatman explained that his main focus was his 14 year old daughter. “I want to make sure that she has a different upbringing than I had as a teenager so I had to find something long-term and stable that I could be proud of and show her. Chatman has already received multiple job offers and he explained that the program and interview process has given him a better understanding of what manufacturers are looking for as well as a better idea of what environment he would like to work in.

    Congratulations to the new graduating class of Bethel New Life’s Advanced Manufacturing Training Program!

    Lonnie Bradford
    Tyree Joyce
    Charles Davis
    Donnell Williams
    Markeia Wilkins
    Joshua Chavez
    Anthony Young
    Tamika Pierce
    Keith Chatman
    Kirt Williams