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A job layoff can bring a lot hardship, sometimes for a long period of time. But for William Greer of Hampton, a layoff turned into life-changing opportunity, thanks to help from Thomas Nelson Community College’s Workforce Development Program and the Advanced Manufacturing Pipeline.

Creating Solutions
Mr. Greer was laid off in the spring of 2007. He immediately went to the Virginia Employment Commission office. Because he’d done some welding back in the 1970s, the VEC enrolled him in the Pipeline’s welding training program.

“They set me up right away to go welding school,” Mr. Greer says. “It was real hands-on training,” he says of the eight-week program. “I got to catch back up on machine welding.” It turned out he knew the instructor, who he says was an excellent teacher.
“I learned a lot. The people there treated me really well,” he adds.

The next step was for Mr. Greer to prepare a resume. That meant learning how to use a computer — something he’d never done before. Thomas Nelson gave him access to the computer lab, and he took great adantage of the opportunity.

“It was my first time using a computer,” he says. “The people were really nice, showed me how to do it.”
“If someone gets into it, the program really helps you a lot,” he says.

The staff also assisted him in preparing a first-rate resume that got him a job in less time than he could have ever dreamed possible.
Early last fall, he dropped off his resume and filled out an application with a local manufacturer. “I got home, and they called me about an hour later.”

A New Start, A New Future
“I really like it,” Mr. Greer says of his new job. “My boss is a really smart guy. When I went in for my interview and told him I used to work at the foundry, he told me, ‘Yeah, I bought it.’”
With a smart owner at the helm, the company is enjoying a booming business. “I’ve already gotten a couple of raises,” Mr. Greer says. “And I’m working a lot of overtime.”

“I hated losing my job,” he says of last year’s layoff, “but now I’m really glad I did. I wasn’t going anywhere, and I was working hard for nothing.”

“It’s great to learn a new trade,” he adds. “No matter how bad the economy, people will always need welders. Now I have much more of a future.”

And there’s an added bonus, according to his wife, Terry. “He learned so much through that program. Now when I tell him to go boot up the computer, he knows what to do,” she says with a laugh.
So thanks to Mr. Greer’s dedication and the assistance he received from TNCC, last year’s layoff became a story with a very happy ending.

William Greer