Career, community and caring

By Cleveland State Community College

Six years in, a partnership between a Tennessee college and community organizations continues to advance economic stability for residents.

A brand new set of graduates from Cleveland State Community College’s MIG Welding program Friday marks the sixth year of a special partnership with The Refuge, a non-profit group which helps find opportunities and education for many in need.

After 40 hours of welding training – which includes instruction in industry math, safety, classroom training, practical hands-on education and certification testing – these graduates are headed for a new career.

While the welding courses are taught through Cleveland State, The Refuge helps students learn about soft skills, develop their resumes, participate in interview simulations, learn about Microsoft Word and Excel and develop money budgeting skills.

The welding program’s success also has been aided by partnerships with organizations in the community, including the Department of Human Resources and Norfolk Southern, which provides the testing for the certification.

And now a new venture will provide expanded support to students.

Now, community development corporation City Fields is joining The Refuge. City Fields develops and cultivates housing and opportunities for residents. This could lead to more courses with Cleveland State.

“The Refuge joining forces with City Fields will help us have an even greater impact,” Dustin Tommey, executive director of City Fields, said in a release. “We want to see twice as many classes. We want to offer more advanced options. And, ultimately, build a pipeline for people to go from unemployment… to a life of sustainability.”

“Cleveland State is excited about the merger between The Refuge and City Fields,” said Patty Weaver, Cleveland State’s vice president of workforce and economic development. “Economic stability, eliminating barriers, and transforming communities into thriving neighborhoods are part of each organization’s mission.  These combined efforts to educate and empower more individuals in our community will allow for the expansion of more programming.  Cleveland State has already developed a strong partnership with The Refuge in helping address issues that are fundamental to economic stability and social progress in our community.”

Cleveland State Community College

is located in Cleveland, Tennessee.