BLUFFTON — Thanks to a skills training partnership between Diamond Manufacturing in Bluffton and Ohio Means Jobs-Allen County, recent Perry graduate Anthony Cook Jr. is now gainfully employed, continuing to learn a marketable skill and is now able to take care of his younger brothers after the recent death of his father.
During his senior year in high school, Cook was able to receive welding training at Diamond Manufacturing twice a week after school, gaining his welding certification even before graduating high school. Cook even had a guaranteed job at Diamond waiting for him after graduation.
“It feels good,” he said. “I feel accomplished. I like working here.”
Diamond Manufacturing Human Resource Manager Chris Recker has been pleased with Cook’s progress, noting that while he is still learning, he is continuing to improve. The training program will continue, she said, with a class set to begin next month. The hope is to continue to build up the area’s future workforce, providing needed skill sets in the manufacturing industry.
“We’ll be partnering with Ohio Means Jobs to get some candidates to fill those jobs,” she said.
Cook’s story prompted U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Urbana, to visit Diamond Manufacturing Thursday to both meet Cook and use his story to tout legislation he recently reintroduced in Congress to reform the nation’s welfare system, requiring able-bodied adults without dependents to work 100 hours per month, either in the workforce, in job training or volunteering to qualify for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits.
“One of the issues we’re working on is welfare to work and people in a tough situation getting to a better position in life, and here’s a guy who has accomplished that,” he said. “This is the way it’s supposed to work and the way you want to see it work in America.”
Jordan is hopeful to see his welfare reform bill get attached to House Republican-pledged tax reform legislation, a bill Jordan is confident will reach the president’s desk before the end of the year.
“I learned a long time ago in this business that there are certain trains that will make it to all the way to the station, and you want to hop on one of those trains,” he said.