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On Friday, July 20, R-V Industries - an engineering and manufacturing company headquartered in Honey Brook, PA - held a graduation for nine individuals who went through an innovative job-training program which landed each of them jobs within the company.
Known as the ‘R-V Nine’ Haasan Rick, Carlos Hardly, Derick Morris, Joseph Bozz, John Good, Allan Bonsall, Joseph Rynier, Daniel Serrano and Michael Gracely had been pre-screened through Chester County Career Link for this program, known as Mobile Outreach Skills Training (MOST ®). This government-funded program provides unemployed and underemployed Americans the opportunity to get training and placement in manufacturing positions in just two weeks.
R-V collaborated with Time Wise Management Systems (the organization that started MOST ®) to develop the intensive two-week on-site training program which came to Honey Brook. Michael Myers, Project Manager for Time Wise Management Systems, met with R-V to determine what skills their company requires of its manufacturing personnel and incorporate that determination into customized training. The MOST® program has been run in states across the U.S., including Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine and Mississippi. R-V Industries was selected as one of two companies in Pennsylvania to test the program’s effectiveness.
Kevin Putt, V.P. of Sales at R-V, addressed the graduates, “Welcome to the family. Monday is just the beginning. We hope you all have a long career here. It doesn’t matter where you start in this company. Your integrity and skills will allow you to grow as much as you try. We make our money on the shop floor (so) you are highly valued. If you ever feel you are losing your focus we have an open door policy (where you can) find someone and talk.”
He reinforced the family atmosphere and team work that is at the heart of the company.
Clark McHenry, Head of Human Resources, cemented the hiring when he handed out the Orientation packets.
“MOST® is the best (in the country) doing what they are doing.” McHenry said to the graduates. “They have given you a step-up! In your orientation packet is your career offer for 90 days. Monday the bar is raised, you are on a new learning curve, a week of orientation.”
The graduates remained focused on McHenry’s every word.
“My job is to set you up for success. Not everyone makes it. Safety is priority, along with quality and making the customer a stellar product. We are a global company. Competency, chemistry and character (are) the key. We are working in a team environment. Keep your eyes open for jobs around you. The company needs what you are being taught. If you see a job you would like to try, tell us. Attitude is everything. What happens to you is 10%, how you respond is 90%.”
The nine men responded with smiles while hats, shirts, glasses and congratulations were handed out to them.
Mike Gracely, an 18 year old Boyertown High School graduate, spoke with great enthusiasm and humility, “I was really lucky to get into this program. I thought I might be too young to be considered but I pursued it.”
With great respect he spoke of the particulars of his experience.
“James Glass’s class showed us how to weld, he is the lead welding instructor in the region and he came in and taught us and was not intimidating at all. I was surprised how my classmates cheered me on and I consider them all friends. I would like to be a welder. They taught us math, blueprints, academics, and safety. ‘LEAN to GREEN ‘showed us how little changes can make huge differences. How things impact the environment and our attention to that creates a win-win situation for all.”
Joe Rynier, an outgoing and friendly fellow graduate, also chimed in.
“I am a 32 year-old Air Force veteran. I was unemployed for two years and I previously worked in a steel mill. This was culture shock for me - except for the Air Force I was never surrounded by such a safety-oriented, orderly, very warm and family like organization. Brothers and Sisters help each other out. We can’t have a weak link!”
Both Gracely and Rynier stressed that the employment structure is unique in that the graduates feel very comfortable starting a job with team mates that they have bonded with. They know that the company will perform reviews which will identify their unique skill sets and determine their position after 90 days.
Joe, who has a focus on blue prints, said, “The only thing I would change is for the class to be longer so you can ‘dig deeper’. An added week or two would allow for more education.”
David Larson, Marketing Coordinator at R-V Industries, further offered a glance at what R-V is and where it is going in the future.
“R-V Industries is a uniquely diversified engineering and manufacturing company headquartered in Honey Brook (with) an additional facility in Morgantown, PA. The company was founded by Ronald L. Putt and Victor D. Dodd in 1974. Today, we have over 250 employees and annual revenues of over $50 million. We are dedicated to providing complete engineering and manufacturing services. Our mission for over 35 years has been to supply superior products and services at a competitive price with integrity. At R-V Industries we listen to our customers, define their needs and provide solutions.”
R-V designs and manufactures custom equipment for a wide variety of industries including scientific labs and research facilities; chemical, oil and gas processing; food and beverage handling; power plant equipment; nuclear material equipment; and paper mill machinery.
“We were very pleased to have this opportunity (with R-V),” said Time Wise Management Systems’ Myers, “R-V Industries was a good match for our program. Their hiring record is consistent and we chose them as a good pilot program facility. We are an intense rapid response program. Our recruits undergo intense 2-week training. They are not paid during training and they make a sacrifice to get the training. They will be hired… …with a 90 day review, at which point R-V will determine their strengths and the best job fit for their skills. Our goal is to expand our program to get American back to work with the skills employers are looking for.”
He added that Time Wise Management Systems is looking to expand their military veteran training program as well.
With the unemployment rate so high and manufacturing jobs coming back, the conundrum is that the skill sets are not out there - so training is crucial. R-V Industries is playing a role in America’s future. The R-V Nine are on the map, thanks to MOST®.
For more information you can go to the following websites:
R-V Industries, Inc. at www.rvii.com (or call Dave Larson at 610-273-2457 ext. 126)