A Greenville nonprofit has received a $4 million U.S. Department of Labor grant that will be used to provide both free training and certification for advanced manufacturing jobs and child care for low-income parents in Greenville and Laurens counties. Family Footprint CEO and Founder Natalie Milom said a public-private partnership is starting the initiative that is expected to serve about 700 parents over the next four years.
Training will be offered onsite at Family Footprint in Mauldin and in special emphasis neighborhoods to make the training and child care easily accessible to parents, Milom said in a statement. The first class will begin this fall.
Milom said the partnership includes advanced manufacturing employers, nonprofit organizations, child care entities, Children’s Trust of South Carolina, S.C. Child Care Resource and Referral Network, United Way Association of S.C., the University of South Carolina College of Social Work, S.C. Department of Social Services, city of Greenville, city of Mauldin, S.C. Manufacturing Extension Partnership, Greenville County Recreation, Greenville County Workforce Development, Upper Savannah Workforce Development and the S.C. Technical College System.
The Secure Families Initiative aims to “close the skills gap for advanced manufacturing companies by providing training and certifications at no cost to low-income parents who desire to work towards a career in this sector,” Milom said in a statement. She said the training “will prepare parents for middle to high-skill positions such as CNC machinists, mechatronics technicians, and welders.”
Milom said the program is designed to help parents “become self-sufficient by building careers in the rapidly expanding manufacturing sector, and should particularly appeal to parents who are unemployed or underemployed in a low-skill, low-wage job but desire to improve the quality of life for their families. Registration is available at www.familyfootprint.org, Milom said
“Low-income parents in Greenville and Laurens counties represent an important constituency in our community,” Milom said. “With over 73,000 families in poverty and close to 30,000 of those with children, this is an amazing opportunity to help them while ensuring a skilled workforce for the advanced manufacturing industry in the Upstate and Upper Savannah regions of South Carolina. We could not be more excited about the impact potential and the many lives that will be changed.”
Initially, parents will complete assessments, including WorkKeys and the National Career Readiness Certificate, to assess readiness, followed by an entry-level manufacturing course taught onsite by one of the technical colleges, the statement said. After initial training, students will complete advanced level training and get paid, hands-on training with local advanced manufacturing employers. The initiative includes additional coaching in financial management, career planning and other factors essential to maintain and advance in a career opportunity, the statement said.
Family Footprint will also work with employers to provide job opportunities for graduates of the program, Milom said.