When the NORANDA Aluminum facility in the community of New Madrid, Missouri closed in early 2016, Billie Estes lost the industrial maintenance position he had held at the facility for a decade.
On paper Billie looked like a well-qualified job candidate. During his six years of service in the Marines, he trained as an Avionics Technician with cross training in mechanical systems and hydraulic systems. Next he completed a Bachelor of Science degree as an Aviation Technician. Later on, he also studied HVAC technology.
Despite his background, Billie lacked training in current manufacturing technologies and lacked credentials for much of the training that he had received.
It was at a Job Fair hosted by Three Rivers College that Billie learned of the F.I.R.S.T. (Fundamental Industrial Readiness Skills Training) program.
Not only would the the F.I.R.S.T. training demonstrate to employers that his skills were valid and current, but it also filled in the gaps in the training and knowledge he had obtained through his years at NORANDA..
Billie had performed tasks previously that he didn’t have formal training for, but he had to learn on the job. The F.I.R.S.T. program exposed him to the theory, terminology, and current industry standards to support what he learned on the job.
To date, Billie has earned five industry credentials that validate his skills, and using Three Rivers’ Alternative College Credit process, Billie has 18 college credit hours that apply to an Associate of Applied Science in Industrial Technology (Manufacturing and Industrial Systems degree option). Combined with general education credits transferred from his Bachelor of Science Degree, Billie will be able to complete his Associate’s Degree at Three Rivers.