WTI students prepared for work

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Throughout the political campaigns, I heard on what seemed to be a daily basis about the economy and how jobs are moving overseas because of the lack of a skilled workforce. When I heard the ads I could not help wonder where they were getting the information. 

I know Citrus County is a microcosm in the scheme of things, but I also know the students at WTI are better prepared than ever before to enter the workforce. They have acquired the skills and knowledge needed to be successful in the workplace. 

When I walk around campus to visit the programs and talk to students, I see first-hand how our students’ communication skills have improved. I see the students solving high-level math problems and applying that math to a project they are working on. I see the students working with computers to find an answer to a question or find a much-needed part. I see students using lasers to align motors. I see students using the latest in technology to diagnosis engines. I see students who are very serious about their attendance. I see students role-playing job interviews. I see them working on résumé and studying for their industry certification exams or their occupational licensing exams. 

During the 2011-12 school year, WTI post secondary students earned 421 industry certifications. Among the certifications earned are CompTIA A+, American Welding Society, Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), NCCER, CNA, LPN and Serv-Safe. It is at this time of year I feel the excitement in the air as students do all they can to be ready for employment when they complete their program.

We work closely with the Workforce Connection to identify employment opportunities for our students. Workforce Connection is a good partner and a good resource for our students, as well as for the employers in the county.

As the holiday season is upon us, we all have things for which we are thankful. I am thankful I have the opportunity to play a part in the growth of our students’ professional lives and that WTI is a good source for employers to find quality workers. 

I wish everyone safe and happy holidays. 

Denise Willis is the director of Withlacoochee Technical Institute.­