Nine unemployed people who recently underwent extensive training at One Stop in Thomson to become employed again have realized their dream come true.
"They now have jobs at Plant Vogtle," said Joyce Blevins, director of One Stop, a state-funded learning center which helps train people for better paying jobs throughout Georgia and South Carolina.
"We're just so pleased that the lives of these nine people have changed. These people will soon be receiving checks again and will be able to take care of their families again."
Ironically, the same day those nine people completed testing to become certified for various jobs, they also received word they had secured a job at the nuclear facility near Waynesboro, said Mrs. Blevins.
"I'm just so happy for these people," added Mrs. Blevins.
"We're all very excited."
She said her office would love to see more of these success-type dreams come true for their clients.
The recent graduates will be working at Plant Vogtle, where two new nuclear reactors currently are under construction.
The nuclear facility is a Georgia Power Company managed operation.
Similar jobs need to be filled at the Mox nuclear facility, too, according to Mrs. Blevins.
There are two additional nuclear reactors also are under construction near Summerville, S.C.
"They are in need of certified workers at both of these plants and in other places also, she explained. "There's a lot of jobs out there, but the people have got to be properly trained in order to get them."
Mrs. Blevins is working closely with officials and others in a 12-county region of Georgia to provide jobs for those who currently are unemployed and want to return to the classroom for specialized training to land good paying jobs.
"People need jobs and they need to get a payroll check so they can take care of themselves and their families," said Mrs. Blevins during a recent in depth interview with The McDuffie Mirror .
"People in this region can learn these skills in the classroom so they can get these kinds of good jobs. Getting people back to work drawing a payroll check is the only way we're ever going to turn this economy around."
During the past three months, Mrs. Blevins' staff has been involved in attempting to help more than 1,000 people a month.
"There are a lot of people unemployed out there," she lamented.
The training being received by students who go through the One Stop program become OSHA certified and in some instances Nationwide Construction Credentialed, added Mrs. Blevins.
"The OSHA training is invaluable to students because it teaches so many things about safety," she said.
When Mrs. Blevins began taking a hard look at the region her office serves, she quickly discovered a shortage of trained, certified construction workers.
Immediately, she saw that as an opportunity to do something about the existing situation.
Thus One Stop formed a close working relationship with The Shaw Group to fill the need for certified workers at those nuclear facilities.
The Shaw Group has several federal government contracts to fill jobs at various nuclear facilities and other sites throughout America.
Other contractors also are looking at hiring certified workers.
By 2011 and 2012, Mrs. Blevins predicts that there will be "a real rush" to fill more jobs throughout Georgia and South Carolina.
"This could be a great boost to the economies of both of these states," said Mrs. Blevins, noting that she and her staff try to spend the money they receive from the state as wisely as they possibly can.
"I just want this region not to be known as the poorest region in the state and right now it is."