“I’ve been using all of the skills I learned in my classes at LCC and really enjoy my job." ~ Chris Cayton, LCC graduateChris Cayton was a good worker, doing window tinting, and later package handling and training for Federal Express Ground, but he wanted more.
|Chris built on his I-BEST Manufacturing |
Occupations certificate with Welding and
Machine Trades degrees.
Chris lives in Vancouver, but chose LCC because friends told him LCC’s Welding Program was really good, with lots of personal attention from the instructors.
His friends were so right! “I was surprised,” he says. ”I got very nice help from Randy (Byrum), Allan (Evald) and Jim (Coyne). They helped me a lot, showing me how to weld.”
That personal attention was vital for Chris. He can carry on a good conversation, between lip-reading and his cochlear implant, which picks up and processes sounds, transmitting them to his inner ear. However, he needed a sign language interpreter in class, where he couldn’t always see the speaker’s face.
Extra Boost from I-BEST
LCC goes further, though. While Chris had attended the Washington State School for the Deaf and graduated from high school in California, his reading and math skills weren’t quite good enough to be successful.
The Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training (I-BEST) program provides an extra instructor who attends all certificate classes and helps students with their reading, math and other college skills. I-BEST is available for LCC’s Manufacturing Occupations, Health Occupations, Nursing Assistant, Early Childhood Education, and Business Technology—Administrative Support certificate programs.
LCC helped the state's community and technical colleges pioneer I-BEST, which has received national attention for helping students succeed in their job training programs.
Building on I-BEST Certificate
Chris started with a one-year certificate in Manufacturing Occupations, and discovered that he really liked welding. “It’s fun, it’s hands-on, and I get to work independently.” He added a year of Welding classes to earn his Associate in Applied Science degree.
He plunged into college life and was especially active in the Welding Club, assisting with the high school welding competition, and helping to build sturdy steel hog pens for the county fairgrounds. A work-study employee, he also helped with various maintenance projects around campus.
When he graduated, the job market was still very poor, so he stayed on at LCC, adding a degree in Machine Trades.
It all paid off late last summer, when Plumbers and Steamfitters Union Local 290 hired him as an apprentice.
Chris is ecstatic. “I’ve been using all of the skills I learned in my classes at LCC and really enjoy my job. The money and benefits are great, and I’m getting between 50 and 60 hours a week. I couldn’t be happier.”
A special bonus: a baby daughter born in October.
For more information about I-BEST, contact Jill Yates.