Dyersburg college plays role in displaced workers’ futures
Posted: Wednesday, June 5, 2013 6:00 pm
The Messenger 06.05.13
What seemed like a hopeless situation became a new and wonderful opportunity for many displaced workers who recently graduated from Dyersburg State Community College.
The college celebrated its 43rd annual commencement exercises recently, with 417 candidates for degrees and certificates making it the largest graduating class in DSCC history.
Among the graduates were displaced workers who came to DSCC to pursue careers that would offer stability as well as hope. They had lost their jobs due to cutbacks, reorganization and even company shutdowns.
Finding out you no longer have a job due to these circumstances can be devastating. At first, it can feel like a bad dream that never ends. However, for many, it became an opportunity to start fresh and pursue college educations.
For instance, take the 22 Goodyear nursing students — who affectionately refer to themselves as the “Good Glory” nursing students. They, along with over 1,800 other employees, lost their jobs when Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company decided to cease operations at its Union City plant in 2011. The close-knit cohort group recently graduated with associate of applied science degrees in nursing less than two years after they lost their jobs.
During their recent nursing pinning ceremony (see related story, Page 7), emotions were high and could not be contained any longer. The trials and tribulations each displaced worker faced the past two years had finally culminated into a victorious and inspiring transformation for each of them. Family and friends cheered on their graduates as each name was called to receive their nursing pins — a symbol that represents completion of the degree requirements for nursing.
On closer examination, there were plenty of inspirational stories from DSCC’s 2013 graduating class. For example, Brian Adams of Martin was one of the Goodyear employees who lost his job in 2011. In an area that was over-saturated with residents affected by job loss, it seemed almost impossible to find work that would offer similar pay and benefits to provide for his family.
Adams decided he wanted to pursue a career where job demand was high. Like many non-traditional students, he wondered how he was going to juggle his current responsibilities and accomplish going to college at the same time. Those questions were answered when he enrolled at DSCC and joined the nursing program.
“The teachers and instructors cared. They gave a darn and they wanted us to make it. They gave us all the tools, information and extra time that it took for us to do what needed to be done,” he said.
When asked how he was feeling moments after the graduation ceremony ended, Adams replied, “Awesome! I just graduated and I already have a job. I went for an interview last Tuesday and I got an email on Friday welcoming me aboard.”
He added, “It’s awesome that people come looking for you instead of the other way around.”
Therese Warmath of Dyersburg had been employed at WorldColor Press Inc. in Dyersburg for 18 years as a materials feeder and quality control inspector when the news came of her impending layoff in 2011. However, she looked at the situation as an opportunity to come back and complete her degree at Dyersburg State. Thirty years after she was unable to finish the degree she started, she was awarded an associate of applied science degree in computer information technology plus a certificate in computer systems operations and maintenance.
Several of her former co-workers are also taking advantage of DSCC’s programs that allow students to conveniently work on their own time.
Two-year programs at DSCC allow students to earn associate of applied science degrees in the areas of health, business, technology, criminal justice, nursing, EMT-paramedic and agriculture. The college also offers the popular LPN to RN Fast Track program, as well as several certificates in agriculture, medical coding, child development, corrections and law enforcement, electronic health records and computer systems operations and maintenance. For those wishing to further their educations, DSCC provides two years of college courses that enable students to easily transfer with junior status to any public university in Tennessee.
Registration for fall is now under way through Aug. 24.
For more information, visit www.dscc.edu or contact a DSCC One-Stop Center at the Dyersburg Campus at (731) 286-3350; the Gibson County Center in Trenton at (731) 855-1419; or the Jimmy Naifeh Center at Tipton County at (901) 475-3100.