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You're hired: Boot camp spells job hope

After four weeks of a no non-sense boot camp, 11 local people are ready for the work-force.

Julia Duncan wants to work in healthcare. She has the basic skills, but when it came to getting and keeping a job she ran into problems. Duncan is hoping things will change with the job readiness skills she was taught  through a new program called Camp H.I.R.E (Helping Individuals Retain Employment).

Duncan and 10 others completed the program this week and graduated Friday.  The next step for the graduates is the workforce. “When I first heard about the program I had doubts. I didn't  want to come because it's not a program you get paid for, but I sat around and I thought about it and decided this could change my life . Camp H.I.R.E. helps you with job ethics skill,” said Duncan.

The camp whipped these job seekers into shape, teaching them application and interviewing skills. A job coach also gave them résumé and job search assistance.  This training came in handy for Rickie Johnson, who lost his job a year ago. Before losing his job, Johnson worked at a company for 15 year. He  said the job market has changes since then . “You have to go online, which I never had to do. I always went to the company and filled out the applications personally. Now you have to go online and answer all these questions. This was something I didn't have knowledge  until I went through  Camp H.I.R.E."

The program director Belinda Mitchell said the boot camp style program is modeled after a similar program in Atlanta called STRIVE.  Mitchell said the students will continue to work with a job coach over the next year to help the graduates gain employment and eventually establish a career.

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