HAMLET — Richmond Community College’s longtime partnership with Cascades Tissue Rockingham continues to grow, as the College will be providing nearly $65,000 in state-funded training to support capital improvements at the Rockingham plant.
The improvements will be made to the company’s de-inking lines, increasing its production capabilities and creating a safer work environment through new technology.
“Richmond Community College has always been very supportive of our business, and provided exceptional training for our employees,” said Mill Manager Mickey Lee.
Dr. Dale McInnis, Richmond Community College president, said he views support of economic development as a primary function of the College.
“Our purpose is to put people to work,” said McInnis. “And that makes it equally as important that we support the companies that will be hiring our graduates.”
Cascades Human Resources Manager Debbie Currie lauded the caliber of graduates who have been hired from RichmondCC, as well as the interns the College has provided.
“We know when we hire someone from Richmond Community College that they’ve been properly trained,” said Currie, who also praised the College’s Fridays at the Forte series that provides additional training and refresher courses during the summer months.
“We’ve taken full advantage of that program,” she said. “And we feel it’s made a tremendous difference.”
Cascades Maintenance Manager Jake Elder told of two interns from NC State University who also benefited from the Friday at the Forte series over the summer.
“They were able to take a CAD (Computer-Aided Drafting) class during the series that they said they would have been unable to get at N.C. State, so they were really appreciative of having that opportunity,” said Elder.
Richmond Community College introduced its internship program in 2015, with interns available in fields that include accounting, electronics, electrical, education, manufacturing, welding and healthcare.
“This internship program allows us to connect our students with jobs, giving them hands-on training outside the classroom,” said Dr. Robbie Taylor, vice president of RichmondCC’s Workforce and Economic Development division.
Students submit resumes and go through an interview process before being hired for a semester by local companies. Students’ performance on the job, including technical skills, communication abilities, work habits and punctuality, are evaluated by a program supervisor.
“Our students gain experience building a resume, applying and interviewing for a job, developing technical and soft skills, and gain exposure in a field before deciding if it’s a suitable career for them,” Taylor said. “It allows us to showcase our students to companies, and hopefully what started as an internship will turn into full-time employment.”
FRIDAYS AT THE FORTE
Fridays at the Forte is a summer series of industrial maintenance courses offered at RichmondCC’s state-of-the-art engineering facility, the John E. Forte Building.
Eighteen courses ranging from computer software operation to forklift training and blueprint reading were offered during this year’s session. The classes are designed to allow individuals to refresh their training and broaden their knowledge.
For more information about the College or the services it provides to existing local industries, visit www.richmondcc.edu or call (910) 410-1700.
Wylie D. Bell is director of marketing and communications for Richmond Community College.