COVID-19 Updates

From Herb Hoelter and Gary Antonino

I am writing to give our supporters an update on the HJH/Vocational Training Center in Charlotte. I had originally intended for this communication to be an invitation to our Grand Opening, which we had tentatively scheduled for April 9th, but COVID-19 obviously interfered with that plan. Nevertheless, I wanted to keep you informed of our progress, both before the virus and what we have done to accommodate our students during this pandemic.

As you may know, NCIA received a $1.7 million contract to provide vocational training for 120 FNS (Food and Nutrition Services) recipients from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. The contract is from January 1, 2020 to September 30, 2020.  We began our training program in a temporary location on January 21st with 45 students. For the first five weeks, we used that time to do much of the classroom training necessary to get our students certified in their respective vocations. On March 2nd, we opened our permanent location at 517 Blairhill Road, which included “hands-on” vocational training curriculum in Automotive, CDL (we bought a used school bus) and HVAC repair. Unfortunately, the virus forced us to close that facility on March 16th.  It was disappointing for both staff and our individuals.

To continue our progress with our students, our staff in Charlotte, supported by our Baltimore VTC staff, developed distance-learning courses for remote instruction. In Charlotte, we bought 37 cell phones for students to take home to continue their work. We remain committed to our mission during these trying times and hope to be able to eventually finish our students’ training and place them in employment opportunities.

Please keep safe and join us in praying for an end to this pandemic. If you have any questions, please call Katie Hoelter, our Executive Director of Charlotte VTC at 704.352.7402.