Chester County’s Free, Three-Week Boot Camp Upskills Jobless for Higher-Paying Work in Manufacturing Industry

Mark Hostutler

On the heels of Friday’s Bureau of Labor Statistics report that COVID-19-ravaged bars, restaurants, and retail have shed even more jobs, while the larger economy has gained jobs, Chester County is announcing a free, three-week Manufacturing Boot Camp to train workers for thousands of jobs available in the local manufacturing industry.

To participate in the program offered by the Chester County Workforce Development Board with the support of the Chester County Economic Development Council and its Manufacturing Alliance of Chester and Delaware Counties, enrollment is required for Chester County residents by Friday, Feb. 12.

“Thousands of better-paying jobs with better benefits are available in the regional manufacturing industry, and the employers we work with are telling us they are challenged to fill those jobs due to a shortage of skilled workers,” said CCEDC Chief Operating Officer Michael Grigalonis. “Some jobs lost during the pandemic will never come back because of automation, as well as business closures, so now is the time for workers to consider a switch.”

Patrick Bokovitz, Director of the Chester County Workforce Development Board, said, “Chester County’s Manufacturing Boot Camp is distinctive from other regional programs in that we are providing the actual training and certifications required to ensure hospitality, retail, and other workers are competitive with job seekers who already have manufacturing experience.”

Bokovitz notes that many hospitality and retail workers already have some of the skills valued in the manufacturing industry, including attention to customer service, ability to work as a team, willingness to work alternating shifts, and an aptitude for working with their hands and on their feet.

“These are skills that hospitality workers already have and are highly valuable to manufacturers,” he said. “Applicants just need the certifications and training to make them competitive before they submit a job application. That’s what we’re providing – free.”

WHAT: Manufacturing Boot Camp for Chester County residents that includes guidance on machine awareness and usage, tool skills and best practices, electrical circuitry and sensors, problem-solving, and manufacturing safety.

WHEN: All applicants must apply by Friday, Feb. 12. Program begins Monday, Feb. 15, with half days of virtual training provided Monday thru Friday for three weeks.

WHERE: All virtual, all online.

WHO: Free to Chester County residents who possess a high school diploma or GED, participate in a pre-program interview, and pass a drug screening.

WHAT TO DO: Call 610-280-1062 or e-mail to speak with a career advisor.