Best practices: Lawson State, Bibb County Career Academy join forces to offer skills training

Lawson State Community College recently partnered with the Bibb County Career Academy, pictured above, to create a Ready To Work program.

Lawson State Community College recently partnered with the Bibb County Career Academy, pictured above, to create a Ready To Work program.

Lawson State Community College and the Bibb County Career Academy have partnered to help those in Bibb County interested in advancing their employability skills.

Earlier this year, Lawson State began offering a Ready To Work Program at the Career Academy, a career tech education center for juniors and seniors in high school in and around Bibb County that also offers evening services for adults in the community. The program is free and offers training in computer technology, communication skills, workplace ethics and behaviors, conflict resolution and problem solving, teamwork, manufacturing, and workplace safety and job prep.

These entry-level skills are preferred by most businesses and industries in today’s workforce, and Lawson State wanted to add training that it offered at its campus but that the Career Academy did not already have. A state-of-the-art classroom was renovated for the effort, and those that graduate from the program receive a Ready To Work certificate and three hours of college credit at Lawson State.

“We are always trying to expand our services and looking for external places to partner,” said Tommy Hobson, assistant dean of workforce development at Lawson State. “This way, people don’t have to drive all the way to the Lawson State campus but can utilize a classroom in the Career Academy. It worked out to be a great fit for those persons to be able to take advantages of services without traveling too far from their home base.”

This is a pilot program, Hobson said, and Lawson State and the Career Academy are making sure to not grow too quickly.

“We are not offering a ton of things but are offering enough to be a little more convenient for those around Bibb County to get the services they need,” he said. 

Employers are looking for Ready To Work certification more and more when hiring, and this gives job candidates a competitive edge, said Allen Franklin, director of the Bibb County Career Academy.

“We’re only a few months in, but it’s benefited us, and it helps our community also,” he said. “It offers soft skills for employment like being on time and how to treat others. The employability skills it goes through helps [participants] be more prepared to be employed.”