Finding the Right Employees: Why VIBCO Supports the SAMI Program

Finding great manufacturing employees is hard work. Finding great manufacturing employees who fit, and who are ready, willing and able to be part of a high-functioning lean culture is even harder.

antone chery speaking at gov workforce board meeting jan 2015 vibcoThank goodness for our excellent partnership with the New England Institute of Technology’s SAMI program

Last Friday morning, VIBCO’s CMO Linda Kleineberg, and Machine Operator Antone Cherry,spoke to the Governor’s Workforce Board of Rhode Island to share their experiences with the SAMI (Shipbuilding/Marine Trades and Advance Manufacturing Institute) program. Their primary message was that SAMI provides exceptional value for both employers and unemployed/underemployed workers, and that their success is driven by the SAMI staff’s genuine desire to help Rhode Islanders find meaningful work.

The SAMI program (short for Shipbuilding/Marine Trades and Advanced Manufacturing Institute) is a program operated by the New England Institute of Technology and funded by the U.S. Department of Labor. The program began in February 2013 with a 2.5 million dollar Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Training (TAACCCT) grant from the United States Department of Labor. The program’s focus is to train unemployed Rhode Islanders and provide them with the trade skills RI employers currently need.  Their mission is to develop a “pipeline of skilled workers for Rhode Island’s marine and manufacturing industries” with a focus on welders and machinists.

Through partnerships with employers around the state of Rhode Island, SAMI has played an important role in helping Rhode Island manufacturing businesses find needed talent for their operations, including VIBCO’s.

Antone,a VIBCO employee and SAMI Graduate, hired through a work immersion experience funded by the Governor’s Workforce Board of RI, stood in front of the Board and the audience to share his story. He explained how participating in the SAMI Program has changed his life. Antone had driven a fork lift for 10 years before SAMI and VIBCO. Long hours at multiple jobs meant that he was not able to be present for his family. He shared that his new career in machining would allow him to support his family and spend more time with his children – a win-win-win for everyone.

SAMI Case Manager Kathleen Partington had this to say about Antone’s time during the SAMI program and his small presentation on Friday,

“Antone Cherry, who was hired by VIBCO in October, 2014, is an excellent example of the impact of employer driven skills training can have on both unemployed Rhode Islanders and employers in need of skilled workers who want to work!  Antone is a young man who faced many challenges, and after completing SAMI is working for VIBCO, and as he said earlier this week at the Governor’s Workforce Board of RI meeting (one of our funders).  “I love my job!  I am happy!  I don’t even mind getting up in the morning.  I have never said that about a job before. My plan is return to NEIT to get a college degree.”  In a matter of 8-10 weeks Antone completed this program, and was hired by VIBCO.  His life is forever changed.  He has a career and a plan for the future.”

The SAMI Program is a great example of a Rhode Island Number One moment.  An active initiative to not only provide jobs for Rhode Islanders but a vehicle to build important, lasting relationships between Rhode Island workers and employees. Rhode Island is very fortunate to have the SAMI program providing a pathway toward careers in manufacturing. We look forward to seeing the program grow and help more Rhode Islanders.

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This article was written by by Mike Emiliani and originally appeared on the VIBCO Industrial Vibrators Blog.

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