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Workforce Success Story Submitted By:
Madison County Employment & Training


Meet Ernest

Customer Photo

Workforce Challenge

As a U.S. Marine, Ernest Cowens served in Operation Desert Storm as an aviation mechanic. When he returned home, he found employment through a temporary employment agency, working mainly as a laborer. With over fourteen years of manufacturing experience under his belt, Ernest was able to maintain employment when he returned to the U.S., but lacked the needed training and education for a true career.

Workforce Solution

After a third lay-off, Ernest learned that he was eligible for training through the Trade Adjustment Assistance Program. After researching his options and with the help of his case manager at the Madison County Employment & Training Department, Ernest enrolled in the Heating, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration (HVAC) Technician Program at the American Trade School.

Outcomes & Benefits

In May 2010 Earnest graduated with his HVAC Tech Degree and immediately started a lengthy interviewing process with Drury Inns. Even though Ernest did not have supervisory or hotel maintenance experience, the Drury Inn-St. Louis Convention Center’s General Manager saw great leadership qualities in Ernest and hired him as the lead maintenance supervisor at the hotel. Congratulations, Ernest!


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