A new program in McDuffie and Warren Counties graduated its first batch of participants last Thursday night.
Participants in the Your Future, Inc. program brought family and friends out to join in the celebration of their accomplishments. The graduation ceremony took place at the Thomson-McDuffie Public Library.
"The whole idea of this is to just show their families what they've accomplished and reward them for sticking with the course for eight weeks, going every day and reaching the goals that were set by the program." said Barry M. Loonam, YFI vice-president for marketing and sales.
Those who completed the government sponsored eight-week vocational skills program received 160 hours of training in several areas such as life skills, computer skills, customer service, and job preparation.
After the training portion is complete, participants are given assistance in searching for a job.
"These are mostly disadvantaged dropouts, so this is really a second chance program," said Richard K. Britton, CEO of YFI. "It's an opportunity for them to pick up competitive skills to compete in the job market because most of them don't have a high school education."
There were six graduates from McDuffie County: Towanda White, Shericca Moss, Bryant Williams, Tasheka Huff, Kizzy Casey and Raitevous Ivey.
The four graduates from Warren County were: Calvin Myricks, Petra Rocha, Jeffery Berry and Phillip Morre.
Overall the graduates were pleased with the program and the opportunities they feel it will provide for them.
"It helped me a lot," said Mr. Myricks. "It helped me learn how to work on the computer better. ... It gave me skills on some of the jobs I might want to go to."
YFI is headquartered in Hendersonville, NC, and the McDuffie County office is located in Magnolia Center on Jackson Street in Thomson.