Two SGTC instructors speak to WIOA board members about value of program
South Georgia Technical College instructor and chair of the Aviation Maintenance Program Victoria Herron and Aircraft Structural Maintenance Technology instructor Jason Wisham attended the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Board meeting held at South Georgia Tech recently to talk about how the program had benefited them personally and is still providing benefits to their students today.
“I came to South Georgia Technical College in the late 1990’s. I was a young mother and needed an education to be able to take care of my family. I started in the Accounting program and then spent a quarter in Medical Assisting before I moved into the Aviation Maintenance program and just feel in love with being able to work on airplanes,” said Herron.
“WIOA or WIA at the time, helped me purchase my tools. In order to move on to the second semester or quarter, you had to purchase your own tools. These tools are about $2,000. I didn’t have that kind of money and WIA did that for me. That is one of the reasons I am here today. WIA also helped pay for my licensing test fees. And they are still doing that today for many of my students. I am very appreciative of what you did for me and what you are doing for students today,” added Herron.
Thanks to the help of WIA funds, Herron was able to graduate from the program with tools and receive her Aviation Airframe & Powerplant licenses. She went to work in the private industry and then at the Warner Robins Air Force Base. She later returned to become an instructor at South Georgia Technical College and is now serving as the Chair of the department.
After hearing from Herron, Jason Wisham, SGTC’s Aircraft Maintenance Instructor, talked with the Board about how WIOA helped him after he lost his job. “WIOA gave me the opportunity to be able to come back to college and pursue my passion. It is not too often that someone gets the opportunity to work at their hobby, but that is what I do every day,” said Wisham.
Wisham’s fascination with airplanes began as a young child when he spent a lot of time on his grandfather’s farm. His grandfather had a plane and he liked nothing better that spending time around and flying in the airplane. “After the DOAS Surplus Center closed, I found myself without a job and on unemployment. I decided to go back to school and follow my passion. That’s when WIOA helped me with tools, books, and funds to drive back and forth to school. That made a big difference,” said Wisham.
Jason graduated and when to work at Thrush in Albany. “I worked there six years. Sometimes I worked seven days a week. But I gained experience and gained the trust of my employer. I was dependable and I earned value for the company. Then I got the opportunity to come back and teach here at my alma mater, South Georgia Tech.
“I tell the students, I sat in the same desk that you are sitting in, I read out of the books you are reading out of. I am a prime example of what you can do and where you can go, if you will apply yourselves.”
Both Herron and Wisham thanked the WIOA board for their part in their individual success but also thanked them for the help they are still providing today to many of their students. “This program is a big asset to South Georgia Technical College and to our students,” said Herron.
Sandhya Muljibhai, WIOA Coordinator at South Georgia Tech, said, “Minnie Williamson and I are blessed to have assisted so many wonderful students. These two instructors are perfect examples of how this program makes a difference in so many people’s lives.”
The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act is designed to help job seekers access employment, education, training, and support services to succeed in the labor market. WIOA training funds are designed to serve laid-off individuals and income-eligible adults who are in need on job skills training to enter or re-enter the workforce. Funding for the WIOA training through the Technical College System of Georgia, River Valley Regional Commission, and the WIOA Board is provided for residents who live in Crisp, Dooly, Macon, Marion, Schley, Sumter, Taylor, and Webster Counties. The WIOA office can also make referrals for customers outside of this service area to the appropriate county or area workforce boards.
WIAO provides financial assistance for tuition, fees, books, and direct training costs for eligible participants. For more information about the WIOA program at South Georgia Technical College, contact WIOA Coordinator, Sandhya Muljibhai, firstname.lastname@example.org or Minnie Williamson at email@example.com or by calling 229-931-2172.