Civitans partner with EMCC

Staff Writer

The West Point Civitan Luncheon Club entered into a partnership with EMCC-West Point Campus in 2013, to help with scholarships for those needing to take the Work Key Test. The club continues to award the scholarships each semester. Many people who have been unemployed can't afford the cost of the testing. This is were the West Point Civitans have stepped up to offered help.

"People need jobs," said Acie Vance, Vice President of the WPCLC. "That's where we can help. We know if you have been out of the workforce for a long time, you need to take advantage of what EMCC right here in West Point offers."

Many workplaces taking applications will only consider hiring the potential worker if the person has passed the Workkeys Test and scored silver or above. To be a student in the Technologies Department at the Mayhew Campus also requires passing the Workkeys exam to be accepted into its programs.

"The help people need to become employed is out there," Vance said. "Civitan wants to help the community. This is one way we help by offering this scholarship with EMCC so people can qualify good paying jobs."

The late Peggy Goode began this scholarship in 2013. Previously, the Civitans had offered scholarships to West Point High School seniors who were pursuing higher education. That plan fell to the wayside, due to lack of interest. Goode had heard through Jim Bearden, director of Adult Basic Education and Thompson about the need for people who were unemployed to have scholarships for testing. Beard and Thompson are frequent speakers at the Civitan Club.

"The Civitans are always happy to write EMCC a check," said Patsy Grice, Treasurer of the WPCLC. "We met with Mitzi Thompson to work out the proper procedures for the scholarships. This is my first time as treasurer for the club and I want to make sure everything is done correctly."

The people in this area have the best work ethic, just not the necessary skills, said Thompson.

"Some people who worked for 30 years in manufacturing were great workers but just don't have the skills needed for new high tech manufacturing jobs that are coming." Thompson said. "You need to have carpentry, welding, computer skills, there is a high demand for electrical and automation skills for jobs not only in the Golden Triangle, but in any job market."

Thompson said many of the people who come to them for training have not seen the inside of a classroom for many years and are not comfortable taking tests.

"Most of the people who take the Workkey Test do well in certain subjects," Thompson said. "Reading for Information, people do very well. Applied Math can be tough if you haven't done percentages, fractions and typical sixth or seventh grade math in a long time. Locating Information is also important in todays job market."
Thompson will screen applicants for the scholarships, and contact the Civitan Club when it is time to award the Workkeys Scholarship