The Training Place arms students with the skills to compete in today's job market


As work opportunities in Washington County have diversified, so have training opportunities, said Peter P. Thomas, executive director of the Hagerstown-based Western Maryland Consortium, commonly known as The Training Place.

While it provides some basic skills and computer training, the nonprofit agency acts more as a "middleman," directing students to a number of regional resources in Maryland and other states, Thomas said.

Counselors steer people into training that will give them the skills that are in demand by local employers now and that are expected to continue to be in demand, Thomas said.

The goal is to make them strong candidates for job openings and to help them stay employed.

Most clients go through fairly short-term training, usually no longer than two semesters, he said.

At this point, there are plenty of open slots in the various training programs available in the region, Thomas said.

The problem is the shortage of people seeking training in needed areas, he said.


Josephine Andrews learned about The Training Place after she lost her job at Marsh-McBinney in Frederick, Md., last summer.

Andrews worked just shy of a decade when her position as quality assurance technician was "downsized" and she found herself forced to make a career change.

Training Place counselors gave her a lot of options for retraining, but she already knew what she wanted - better computer skills.

She became certified as a Microsoft Office User Specialist with the certificate and an impressive portfolio counselors helped her put together. Andrews said she felt confident interviewing for both clerical and manufacturing jobs.

"They really helped me become very versatile," said Andrews.

The Microsoft certification helped get her a job at the Tandy Distribution Center, where she liked what she was doing but found she couldn't take the midnight to 8 a.m. shift.

Thanks to her greater marketability, she had other offers to fall back on, she said.

Since the end of March, she's been working first shift at Garden State Tanning in Williamsport, where she sees a lot of room for advancement.

See also:

-- Workforce training

-- Local employers cite computer skills as most basic job need

-- Training list

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