The change is clear as soon as you walk through the doors of the new Center for Employment Training campus in Sacramento's Depot Park:
-- More space -- a Fruitridge Road footprint much larger than its long-in-the-tooth 65th Street location.
-- Better facilities, including a new library and labs for the medical assistant and heating/ventilation/air conditioning students who make up much of its enrollment.
-- And a new director, Rachel Wickland, determined to raise the profile of the 45-year-old center.
"CET needs to be part of the community more than it has been. We have such an ability to help folks," Wickland said. "When we talk about CET, not a lot of people know what we're talking about. That's a great sadness for me."
The nonprofit center that moved to Depot Park on Fruitridge near Florin-Perkins Road in April is part of a network of Center for Employment Training campuses across the country.
CET opened its doors in Sacramento in 1967, providing vocational training to those on the margins and those looking to learn new skills for a fresh start in a new trade.
The training also includes GED preparation, financial literacy courses and career counseling.
Plans are to add a green building- construction program, and Wickland wants to expand enrollment to 320 students from its present 120.
"We serve folks who are hard to serve, folks who have been dealt the short end of the stick," Wickland said outside a classroom full of HVAC students. "It's not a boot camp, but it's definitely not a joke. It's tough work. You will be well trained and able to be employed."
Troy Hazen of Roseville is one of the HVAC students. The 52-year-old father of nine had worked in a variety of positions for Hewlett-Packard before his job was outsourced five years ago.
Hazen had worked various odd jobs in the interim, but got the idea to pursue training in HVAC after helping a friend install his air conditioning system.
"I really wanted to get out from behind a computer," Hazen said. "I had gotten some experience (in HVAC) and it was technical enough. That's why I decided to get into it and start a new career. "
He enrolled at CET in March and hopes the center's training in climate-control systems can be a springboard to a second career selling climate systems.
"If you have a compass, you know where to set that compass and point toward that goal," he said. "That's why I'm here."
New director Wickland has work ahead of her, but she has a goal, too.
"Ten years from now," she said, "everybody's going to know CET-Sacramento."
The Center for Employment Training -- Sacramento is at 8376 Fruitridge Road.
For more information on CET, visit www.cetweb.org.
Library has job website
Job seekers can find employment search tips and other career information at the Sacramento Public Library's website, www.saclibrary.org.
The site provides help with job searches and test preparation at its Knowledge Center, as well as help from interview coaches through the site's JobNow portal.
For information, go to the website and select "research tools."
Let us hear from you
Is your company hiring? Is your organization hosting a career fair? Is your campus rolling out a job-skills program? Contact Job Front at firstname.lastname@example.org. Call The Bee's Darrell Smith, (916) 321-1040.
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