Highlighting a Christie administration employment program that landed all ten graduates into jobs, Commissioner Harold J. Wirths of the Department of Labor and Workforce Development joined leaders of the New Jersey Business and Industry Association and the New Jersey Community College Consortium today in a tour of DureX Inc., a small manufacturing business that hired two of the graduates.

The 12-week “Fabricated Metal Product Training” program was launched as a pilot project earlier in the year by the Department of Labor (LWD), the New Jersey Community College Consortium (NJCCC) for Workforce and Economic Development and the New Jersey Business and Industry Association (NJBIA) Manufacturers Network. Even before the 10 graduates attended a course completion ceremony at Middlesex County College in July, half of them had received job offerings and all of them became employed in the weeks that followed.

“This program was the model for several training efforts this administration launched this year in New Jersey that focus training on employer needs. The business sector was involved from the start, and we aligned our training dollars to connect New Jersey’s unemployed job-seekers with real skills identified by the employers for jobs they wanted to fill,” said Commissioner Wirths.

The trainees were pre-screened, and the training program focused on skills that employers identified as necessary to prepare participants for careers in the Garden State’s metal product manufacturing industry.

“Thanks to some common sense and a responsive government, ten people have jobs today that they otherwise probably wouldn’t have,” said Philip Kirschner, president, the NJBIA.

He credited NJBIA board members, Cliff Lindholm and Bob Staudinger, for working with the Department of Labor and the NJCCC to develop the classes and make the program a success.

“We had people who needed jobs, and we had companies that couldn’t fill the job openings they had. The missing link was a way to teach people needing jobs the skills these companies needed. Thanks to the state’s county colleges and the Department of Labor, this idea is now a reality,” said Cliff Lindholm, president and CEO of the Falstrom Company in Passaic.

DureX is privately held manufacturer performing top quality metal stampings, sheet metal fabrications, CNC vertical machining, electro-mechanical assemblies and finished products. The company also conducts in-house powder coating, assembly and packaging. Company officials said the pilot training program gave them two employees that were able to hit the ground running, which is important to small businesses with limited training funds.

“The state’s community colleges working through their workforce consortium are proud of the partnership that has been developed between the NJBIA, the NJLWD and the consortium. Under this approach, employers’ needs are the driving force when determining course curriculum, training sites, applicant selection and ultimately job placement. The 100 percent job placement in the Fabricated Metals program delivered at Middlesex County College is testament to this approach,” said Bob Rosa of the NJCCC for Workforce and Economic Development.

One of the program graduates, Larry Becker, lost a job he held for 28 years when his company reorganized during the recession. He was out of work for almost two years when he learned of the training program, and he was hired by DureX a week after he graduated.

He has since become a supervisor at the company.

“It definitely surprised me that we were offered such a well-rounded course. It was such a logical, thought out course. It seemed like such a logical formula: teach, give hands on instruction, bring employers together with motivated individuals and only good things can happen,” Mr. Becker said.

“Through this course I gained back my self-confidence and I am now employed with DureX Inc., who I interviewed and met during these classes. This program works and I hope it can help future individuals,” he added.