It was a great day for area residents needing training and a path to a secure future as General Dynamics IT and BPCC/Natchitoches (the former CLTCC) held a ribbon cutting for their new public/private partnership, Wednesday, March 29 at the BPCC/Natchitoches campus.
BPCC Chancellor Rick Bateman was joined by General Dynamics IT Vice President Jay Johnson and Operations Director Casey Cockerham and Natchitoches Mayor Ronnie Williams in cutting the ribbon for the new undertaking. Also present were state representative Gabe Firman, Kathy Babers from Congressman Mike Johnson’s office, members of the Natchitoches Chamber of Commerce and BPCC Faculty members and officials.
The program is a Hubsite Public/Private Partnership between General Dynamics IT and BPCC/Natchitoches in which persons 18 or older are enrolled in BPCC while working for GDIT. In the words of GDIT Vice President Johnson, “it is a talent development pipeline in which the participants receive real world IT experience while building skillsets…” Participants start in the call center where they earn a certificate in call center operations from BPCC. From there, they may advance to working at the help desk, helping clients solve real world problems. From there, student workers may advance to any number of salaried IT jobs in General Dynamics, a Fortune 100 company. Wages start at $16.20/hr with an additional $4.80/hr Health & Welfare benefit. You can advance as far as your ambition and willingness to work will take you. Operations Director Cockerham stated there are students in the Bossier City program who have earned 5 promotions since starting the program. Vice President Johnson himself was a former call center operator when he began his career with General Dynamics.
The program will begin with 20 participants and eventually progress to 50 students.