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Courtesy photo by the Cleveland State Community College/HVAC tech instructor, Kevin Rougeau, welcomes students to the HVAC class on Sept. 28 at Cleveland State Community College.

Monday was the first day of Cleveland State Community College's new Quick Job Recovery Bootcamp — a short-term workforce training benefiting those who lost their jobs due to COVID-19.

The bootcamp is not a job placement service. It offers three six-week-or-less courses that will provide nationally recognized certification for welders, Microsoft Office specialists or heating, ventilation and air conditioning technicians.

After completion of the class, students will leave with equipment such as a $1,000 laptop for the Microsoft course, $600 worth of HVAC technician tools or tools from the welding course.

Andrea Byerly, the college's workforce and economic development project coordinator, said the reason for providing courses in those three particular industries is because the jobs are considered high demand.

Workforce website indeed.com quoted the average hourly wage for an HVAC tech in Chattanooga at $28 to $38 an hour — and the Bureau of Labor Statistics specifically predicted 21% growth in the field nationwide through 2022. The site also said welders locally make around $18 to $24 an hour and MicroSoft Office specialists make $15 to $24 an hour — both jobs with a 3% growth rate expected through 2024.

"We are providing the training that will lead to a family wage-earning job. We think that is a life-changing opportunity for the right person. We hope that this would impact and benefit a lot of people in our communities," Byerly said. "We wanted to appeal to all different types of workers."

The labor force initiative was funded by a more than $300,000 Tennessee Community CARES Program grant.

The Tennessee Department of Human Services, along with Gov. Bill Lee and the Financial Stimulus Accountability Group, created the grant program to invest $150 million in federal funding to help with ongoing efforts to ease the impact of the new coronavirus, according to a news release from the college.

The grant was awarded to 656 nonprofit organizations across the state, including Cleveland State.

There are 12 seats available in the next HVAC class, which will start Oct. 19, and the welding class starting Monday. The Microsoft Office Specialist class, which starts on Oct. 19, has up to 30 seats available. Deadline to apply for the HVAC and Microsoft courses is Oct. 15. The welding workshop deadline is Thursday.

To apply visit mycs.cc/QuickJobRecovery. Scholarship funds are available.

Contact Monique Brand at mbrand@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6592. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @MoBrandNews.

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