COVID-19 hit shortly before our spring class was about to start. Unfortunately, we had to close our doors until now. Now that the long hiatus is over, we are thrilled to report classes are indeed back in session. Thank you for your prayers for wisdom as just 60 were chosen from over 400 applicants.
In the hiatus, we haven't been idle. As businesses slowly reopened, Kristel (our employment specialist) landed many jobs for students who graduated just as the pandemic hit. She is always on the hunt to enlarge our employer base and union contacts.. Also, the mobile training center is just about done thanks to the tireless efforts of both Manny and Alex.
Back to the class...We always say this is the best class ever. But this is the best class ever. Each student has a fierce desire to change their lives and provide for their families. This year, we started a class just for women we call WINC, Women in Non-Traditional Careers. Many of our former female students are volunteering to be coaches and mentors for our new female students.
Things did have to change due to COVID. Classroom instruction is online, but their welding lab is on the premises. For those of you who are interested in learning more about welding, feel free to view our video instruction. Each day's class size is just 12 students instead of 30. 12 students ensures social distancing in the classroom and provides each student with their own welding booth. Keeping surfaces clean is a priority as well as taking the temperature of each student, staff and volunteer as they arrive. And of course, masks on all the time.
Although COVID has changed how we conduct our classes, fewer students has already been a blessing. In just two weeks, we know each student better and realize we have more time to pour our lives into theirs. We pray God will use our staff and all the faithful volunteers for His glory.
Each student has a unique story. They feel all alone in their struggles. One student broke down and cried this week. "This has to work. I have nothing else." As their guard starts to crumble, we can step in and love them, respect them and encourage them. We pray that by the end of the course, they will know the truth and the truth will set them free (John 8:31-32).