Early last year, 22-year-old Sedric Hamer knew he needed to make a change.
“I was just jumping from warehouse to warehouse,” said Hamer. “I knew I wanted to make a change and take a leap of faith.”
Hamer signed up for machining classes at Southwest Tennessee Community College. The training was free, part of the MOVEHIRE (Medical Device Occupations Value Education and Help in the Regional Economy) grant, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Labor and administered locally through the Greater Memphis Alliance for a Competitive Workforce (GMACW).
“The grant provides a chance for people to get the skills they need to land a good-paying job in the medical device or advanced manufacturing fields,” said GMACW Executive Director Alan Gumbel. “To date, more than 800 people have taken advantage of the free training, many of them landing jobs with Onix Medical, Smith+Nephew, Eversana, and similar large companies.”
Hamer is now a machinist at Onyx Medical. He says he has come a long way but he is never done learning.
“The job is great. I’m still learning every day,” said Hamer. “I go to work to learn and to grow. That is what I really enjoy.”
Right now, Arkansas State University, Tennessee College of Applied Technology, Moore Tech, and Southwest are all offering these training programs. Hamer credits Southwest’s MOVE HIRE program coordinator, Belinda Looney with helping to get him on the right track.
“It’s very rewarding,” said Looney. “Some of the students that come in were unemployed and they are putting their trust in you to help them get off on the right foot and change things.”
“They give it their all and get good paying careers. It is great to know they are not out there unemployed anymore. One young lady told me it was the first time she had ever had health benefits. It makes me feel good to know I helped them make a difference in their life.”
The program was so impactful for Hamer that his brother, Sam, also took part right after he did and is now employed with Pandrol USA.