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Powering up!

Bladen Community College and the George Henry White Center will deliver an introductory electrical course, ELC-3014, Electricity Basic, and follow it with the more advanced ELC-3016, Electrical Contractor Prep at the center. Students in ELC 3014 will learn the necessary electrical skills to go to work and after working in the field and accruing on-th-job experience, they will be qualified to take ELC 3016 and sit for their Contractor's license exam. Interestingly, the course is being taught by Mr. Elvis Matthews, who performed all the rewiring and new electric installations at the GHW Center.

The training was first proposed by Elvis Matthews and Ocie Jones, GHW Center project superintendent, as a response to the relatively low numbers of local people who are trained and licensed electricians. In Bladen County, electricians earn an average of $62,000 per year, and they are increasingly in demand as commercial and residential construction is expanding.

The course will begin June 3, and some 13 people are ready to sign up. The tuition they pay to BCC will cover the cost of instruction and the hands-on tools that students will use. "These students will be able to learn close to home, instead of driving 50 miles roundtrip to the Bladen Community campus for every class," remarked Ocie Jones.

The students will engage with both theory and practical (Lab) work to learn the principles of electricity and electronics, safety, and hands-on applications, Dean Bruce Blansett explained.

"Anyone who is interested may sign up. This is a workforce class, so we focus on skills. Students will have to accrue hours in the field and document them, which the state requires, before they can take an electrical contractor's class. We value our partnership with the Center and are looking forward to these classes," said Dean Blansett.

"A big part of the vision for the center has been to provide life-changing education to people of our region," said Vincent Spaulding, Project Leader. "When someone learns the skill to get a great job--or to have better health--or to care for their family--or to manage their land--they benefit and their families and communities benefit."

"Workforce development is a central goal for the GHW Center," said Ocie Jones. "When local residents can get the training that enable them to have a well-paid career, it benefits the whole community. We are grateful to Mr. Matthews and to Bladen Community College for seeing the need and working together to provide opportunity to hardworking individuals."

For information on this or any of the other classes taking place at the GHW Center, call 910-445-0269. We are open Monday to Thursday, 9 to 4 p.m. and Friday, 9 to 1 p.m.

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