BAKER, LA (WAFB) - Incoming college students who are worried they won't be able to afford college without a TOPS scholarship may have another option.
Baton Rouge Community College (BRCC) has added a boot camp to its curriculum to help graduates fast track their careers. Fleet Wallace, a millwright instructor, guides his students through the basics of machine work with precision.
"It's all about the tools, safety," Wallace said.
Learning measurements and how to make things move is one thing. However, Wallace said his lessons go far beyond what is printed in any textbook.
"I teach them how to get a job and keep a job," Wallace said.
Wallace said the skills his students learn here will prepare them for careers at area plants, with contractors, and other businesses looking for skilled workers.
"I try to get in touch with the contractors and find out what they are wanting, what their needs are, because that's very important, that you train people in the direction they want," Wallace said.
Girard Melancon, PhD, who is the executive director of BRCC Workforce Education, said programs like millwright have a proven track record.
"We pretty much have a 70 percent to 75 percent job placement for those students, and we follow up with them, and they are doing extremely well," Melancon said.
The class is offered through BRCC. The community college is offering a two-month boot camp this summer to arm students with the knowledge they need to get their foot in the door at local companies. Melancon said students who pass the class could go to work immediately.
"A lot of the millwrights out there working are aging out, and there is very little in the pipe line to fill the aging out skill set," Melancon said.
Baker Mayor Harold Rideau, who is also a millwright by trade, said graduates will not have to look far for work.
"We have one company now that's building a warehouse here and they are going to need some machinists, some electricians," Rideau said.
For those who are willing to put in the time and effort, Melancon said the opportunities BRCC offers are endless.
A summer millwright/basic machinist camp will be held June 2 to July 29. It will be Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. with no class on July 4.
The boot camp will cost $600 and students must be older than 17 to participate. Once the training is over, students will earn industry-based credentials (NCCER CORE, Millwright Level 1 Opportunity for Millwright Level 2).
Anyone interested can register online at BRCC's Workforce Education site, and for more information, call Girard Melancon at (225) 907-3887.