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PVC roofing trainees complete six-week program

PVC roofing trainees at Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College finished their six-week program on Monday in Cumberland. Training coordinator Marsha Griffey and program leader Carrie Billett said this was the last training of the year, but they hope to continue having them in the future as funds become available.

“This is a grant-funded project through the Appalachian Regional Commission and the Appalachian Impact fund at The Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky,” Griffey said. “This training is a part of the Mountain Training Network, which is a workforce development grant through Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College.”

Griffey said the goal of the trainings is to help people learn new trades, while also helping people find work or start their own business.

“Each trainee receives a stipend and continuing education credit for the class. These classes give the trainees real-world experience by preparing, retrofitting and then installing new PVC roofing. Trainees are guided by brand-certified representatives, college staff and COAP staff, who have partnered with us in this training series,” Griffey said. “This training method ensures each trainee is learning actual job skills, including safety equipment use, time management and proper installation/repair techniques for PVC membrane roofing — as well as have a chance to work on their resume, soft skills and learn about resources for further opportunities, education and small business development.”

Billett explained the trainees apply online or over the phone to be considered for the program, and because the length of the program, many of the individuals who apply are one’s within SKCTCS’ service area. She added while there aren’t any firm requirements for the trainees, they do have high expectations for attendance, as well as people who are already doing work in the field.

“I was really impressed with the work ethic this group of trainees had,” Billett said.

Jesse Brock, one of the trainees, he learned an array of new skills, including how to properly heat weld and how to work with membrane roofing.

“I’m hoping this training will lead to future opportunities, whether it be a job on a roofing crew or a sales rep for a company like Duralast,” he said. “When we finish this training up, I’m definitely going to be on Indeed applying and uploading my resume.”

Brock said he would love to “stick around in Harlan” because a lot of the younger generation is moving off.

“If there’s a way I can stay in Harlan County and spend my money here, I would love to do that,” Brock said. “Now with Harlan being passed wet, I’d like to think a lot of buildings downtown will need redone and that starts with the roof.”

Brock added as part of the revitalization efforts spurring in downtowns across the region, more business owners will be seeking someone to do the form of work he and his colleagues have been trained to do.

“We’re surrounded by people who are revitalizing their downtowns,” Brock said, mentioning Pineville and Whitesburg. “You’ve got people here trying to find something else other than coal. I’m a coal man, I love coal, but you can’t rely just on that. So, this training is giving people other opportunities to do other things and make good money with it.”

Billett said more roofing trainings will be happening in the future when the program receives more funding and hospitality trainings for non-franchise local restaurants will be taking place in the spring.

She added she is grateful for the help the program received from COAP Executive Director Mike King, and if anyone would like quotes for PVC roofing to be placed on their buildings to call King at 606-573-9853, extension 103.