CLERMONT COUNTY, Ohio — Abel Sique Collins was laid off in the midst of COVID-19. The 24-year-old has one child and another on the way, so finding a new job was his first priority.
But he also found a way to work on a skill in a lucrative field he's always wanted to learn and receive help paying for it.
“I’ve always been interested in technology,” he said. “So I decided to reach out to see what kind of resources I can actually take.”
In working toward his dream of becoming a Java programmer, he stumbled onto Norwood-based Tech Elevator’s website. The company hosts 14-week coding bootcamps in order to prepare people for a career.
“I'm already learning a lot,” he said. “They have job placement, as well. So right when I finish the cohort, I'll be pretty much assisted with getting a job placement and getting into the field.”
On the site, he also found a link to Ohio Means Jobs and information on how the Clermont County division could help pay for part of his program. When reaching out, he learned that they offer much more than just financial help.
“The services that we offer here are for reemployment," said Dana Heller, employment services supervisor. "If individuals don't have access to a computer or phone and they want to come in here."
The center is helping steer people toward reemployment by offering free personalized job search assistance and connecting them to a training provider. That way, they can enhance their skills -- and their resumes.
“We get people that maybe worked in the same job for a long time; they've been laid off, and to get back into that, they need some type of certificate or credential,” Heller said. “Then we have people that were doing something, and they were laid off, and they want to do something totally different.”
Anyone is eligible to receive the free assistance, while those who are eligible can receive some help with funding.
“We can pay up to an associate's degree — any kind of training that can be completed within two years,” Heller said. “So we do a lot of short term certificates, a lot of truck driving, medical field is certainly in demand. Everything is kind of case-by-case -- we look at what makes sense for the individual.”
The department has to follow Ohio’s guide on how it is allowed to spend its funds, and to which providers its clients are allowed to go. Many local public universities are on that list.
“Our funding is what we call payer of last resort," she said. "So if there are grants that can help individuals pay for their training, that money gets spent first, most commonly Pell Grant. We have had individuals that have completed their associate's degree debt free -- we can help pay for their tuition and books and fees.”
While the funding comes on a case-by-case basis, they look closely at the industries for which you are looking to acquire skills.
Right now, the top nine local in-demand job industries include: retail trade, manufacturing, health care, accommodation/ food service, construction, administrative/ support services, transportation/ warehousing, finance and insurance, and computer systems design.
“I've been blessed enough to have the opportunity like this so super excited,” Sique Collins said. “Instead of sitting around and not doing anything, I can always improve myself, become a developer or do something with technology in general.”
Everyone is eligible for the free help, but due to COVID-19 health concerns, you must make an appointment. You can do so by calling (513) 943-3000, or messaging them on their Facebook page.