CLEVELAND — Bridging the skills gap by giving you the tools to succeed. Right now, Tri-C is looking for the next participants for its Advanced Technology Academy, a free program that trains students for fields as diverse as welding and information technology—and it helps them even after they’ve finished.
"At first I thought there's no way in four months I can learn how to weld,” said Tommy DeLeon, a student in the ATA program. "Long term I want to be a welding instructor. I want to help other people learn how to weld like somebody helped me learn how to weld.”
That somebody is Tony Condrich. Now a welding instructor at Tri-C, Condrich started out exactly where DeLeon is now, as a top student in the ATA’s Industrial Welding program.
"I was here five days a week, you know, also working a full-time job,” Condrich said.
The ATA is short-term workforce training for people between the ages of 17 and 24 who live in Cuyahoga County. In addition to welding, it has eight other program options, including information technology and medical.
"Upon graduation, they actually offered me a job here,” Condrich said.
The program teaches students both professional development and hands on skill in their trade of choice. Those in the welding course spend four days a week in the lab and one in the classroom.
Students are either recruited to the program or are hand-picked after applying on their own, and its all funded by Ohio Means Jobs so there’s no cost for students.
"Completely free. So I like to tell young people that it's sort of like a combo. We pay for books, we pay for uniforms and we pay for any equipment that they need,” said Kelci Williams, a Program Coordinator for ATA.
Students have the chance to earn up to $850 in stipend money and get a paid internship at the college.
Training for all programs takes four months or less, then the ATA helps them with job placement.
Condrich didn't have to go far.
"I don't go to work. I don't, I don't have a job. Now I know what my grandparents meant when they said find something that you love and you never work a day in your life,” Condrich said.
And after just 13 weeks of classes, DeLeon’s mind is already made up.
"You impact someone's life. You kind of change someone's life because they come in not knowing anything,” DeLeon said.
Tri-C’s Advanced Technology Academy has several enrollment dates coming up for anyone interested in participating in the program:
- Dec. 9 at 1 p.m.
- Dec. 10 at 1 p.m.
- Dec. 11 at 12 p.m.
- Dec. 16 at 1 p.m.
- Jan. 6 at 10 a.m.
- Jan. 7 at 10 a.m.
The sessions will be held at:
Manufacturing Technology Center building (MTC)
2415 Woodland Ave Rm 201
You can call 216-987-4767 for more information.