In 2015, KRA launched the proprietary Knowledge2Career (K2C) Academy, offering Out-of-School Youth customized career services, including on-the-job training (OJT) linked directly to employment with companies in high-demand industries.
KRA operates the K2C Academy for Capital Workforce Partners, the North Central Connecticut WDB, in partnership with the Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology (CCAT).
Targeting the Manufacturing Industry, traditionally, K2C provided coursework through Tooling U-SME, and hands-on instruction through OJT agreements with participating employers. However, on March 17, just when KRA introduced a new K2C cohort, with 19 K2C students, who had passed the required Mechanical Aptitude Test, COVID-19 restrictions went into effect in the state.
Tony Harrington, KRA Operations Manager, commented, “Prior to the pandemic’s onset, courses were conducted exclusively in a classroom setting. However, in response to ‘social distancing’ requirements, immediately KRA and CCAT focused their efforts on the best possible distance-learning program, including providing seven students with laptops so they could participate.
Students excelled with the remote-programming experience, and KRA began fielding calls from manufacturing companies looking to meet some of their hiring needs.”
To date, OJT positions resulting in permanent employment, at an average hourly rate of $16.00—$3.00 more than the contracted objective—include two Aseptic Cleaners, a Custodian, an Inspector, and a Packer [SCA Pharma]; an Electromagnetic Assembler [Walker Magnetics]; and two Molding Machine Operators [Wepco Plastics].
Harrington concluded, “We are extremely fortunate to be able to find employment for our students during one of the world’s worse pandemics. We thank them for trusting KRA to refer them to reputable companies, whom we also thank for trusting us to provide motivated, reliable workers. Additionally, we thank CCAT for partnering with us during the past 2 years in developing mutually productive relationships with the manufacturing community.”