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Workforce Success Story Submitted By:
Greenville County Workforce Development

Meet Thomas

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Workforce Challenge

At 49 years old, Thomas had worked his way up in a large equipment manufacturing company and was making $55k per year when he was laid off from his job as a Heavy Construction Service Manager. The construction industry was at an all time low; he was caring for elderly parents; and he had a son in traveling sports and a daughter in college. Thomas's wife began working a second job to help support their family. "These were tough times," said Thomas. "The added expense of health care coverage was stressful, too." With no education beyond high school, Thomas came to Greenville County Workforce Development for assistance with obtaining training for a new career.

Workforce Solution

Thomas enrolled in WIA in May 2009 and used every amount of funding available to him. He decided to obtain an Associates Degree, so that he could “pick up and move on," he said. Attending school became his job. Thomas took his education seriously and set the same standards for himself that he had for his children: taking 15/16 credit hours per semester, maintaining perfect attendance; and earning a 4.0 GPA along with a spot on the Deans list. When all other students chose to leave campus, he stayed after to do lab work and work through challenges.

Outcomes & Benefits

After one and a half years of college coursework, Thomas received his Associates Degree in Applied Science with a Major in HVAC and a Minor in Electrical. He was hired in January 2011 through (RSI) Refrigeration Services Incorporated, making $14.00/hour. It was a huge difference in pay but it was the beginning of a new career.

In May 2011, Thomas was hired at Galileo Technical Process earning a large pay increase, 3 weeks of annual vacation and complete health care coverage. Through his new employment, he has traveled many places within and outside of the US and is growing in knowledge and experience daily. Thomas shared that his hard work did not go unnoticed and his job referrals came from his instructors.

"The services and funding offered by WIA and the partnership with Greenville Technical College contributed greatly to my accomplishments," said Thomas. Presently, he is two classes away from a second degree. Congratulations, Thomas, on your hard work and achievements!

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