Ragine Davis

Ragine Davis

ANDERSON — The second group of graduates from the Anderson Advanced Manufacturing Program will start a new chapter in their lives.

During ceremonies Friday at the Purdue Polytechnic Institute, another 18 students completed the four-week class and are now awaiting job offers from local companies.

Mark Slayton, deputy director of the Anderson Economic Development Department, said there were 18 graduates in the first class and 13 are still currently employed with Madison County companies.

“The employers were happy with the first group of graduates,” Slayton said. “Some of these graduates are being considered for supervisory positions.”

The third class will begin on June 17 with a minimum of 20 participants.

Slayton explained that Cindy Rowan graduated with the first class and is currently working for NTK Precision Axle. He said Rowan attended the classes during the day and worked a full-time job on second shift in Indianapolis.

“It has been the best program I have ever been involved with,” Rowan said. “It gave me an opportunity to better my life.

“I have been with NTK for almost a month,” she continued. “I work for a wonderful company and I love my job.”

Rowan has visited with members of the second graduating class and said the program wants everyone to succeed.

“It was hard to go to school all day long and work at night,” she said. “I had the determination because I knew I wanted to better myself.”

Ragine Davis, 21, was among the graduates.

“I had just come back from college and was looking for a new opportunity,” she said. “I received a newsletter in the mail about the program and I called to see if there were positions available.”

Davis said she enjoyed when the students learned about working on an assembly line.

“We have done our interviews, but I most definitely want to get a job,” she said. “I would tell people coming into the program to take it serious. It’s a great opportunity and if they don’t have any experience don’t let that stop them from entering the program.”

Graduate Ceresa Dean said participating in the program was a blessing.

“It opened my eyes that I could make progress in my life,” she said. “I made a lot of friends through the program.”

Derrick Nunn said he entered the program through WorkOne after being laid off from a previous job.

“It means so much to me,” he said.

Anderson Mayor Thomas Broderick Jr. said a year ago city officials began the process of starting a workforce development program.

“It was an important start to assist with workforce development,” he said. “We need to get people on the right track.”

Broderick said local companies and educational organizations partnered with the city to make the program possible.

“All these companies stepped up to provide job opportunities,” he said.

Companies participating in the program include: NTN Driveshaft, NTK Precision Axle, Red Gold, Sirmax, Italpollina, and Barber Manufacturing.

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 640-4863.