Laurinburg employees earn high marks on WorkKeys assessment

Andy Cagle

October 11, 2013

HAMLET — Two employees of Service Thread, a textile plant located in Laurinburg, received “Gold” status while earning their Career Readiness Certificates from Richmond Community College’s Workforce and Economic Development Unit.

Maintenance operator Jordan Fournier and machine operator Shealeka Jones scored high marks while taking the WorkKeys exams.

“At Service Thread, we believe that continuous improvement drives our success. Investing in employee education and training is just as crucial as our investments in equipment and processes,” said Jay Todd, chief operations officer for Service Thread. “Our employee education assistance program pays for 100 percent of all books and tuition for a qualified field of study, from adult high school diploma through graduate masters programs.”

The Career Readiness Certificate is a credential that verifies to employers anywhere in the United States that an individual possesses basic workplace skills and essential core employability skills in Applied Mathematics, Reading For Information and Locating Information.

Fournier, of Laurinburg, began working for Service Thread seven years ago while still in high school, and graduated from the college in 2012 with an associate’s degree in Applied Science in Electrical Engineering.

Fournier helped assemble and program many of the automated machines in the treating room where chemicals are mixed and sent down the production line. His knowledge about programmable logic controllers allows him to maintain many of the electronics in the plant.

Jones was a participant in the New Generations Grant program implemented by Scotland County Chamber of Commerce in conjunction with educational partner Richmond Community College and local employers. Geared toward 18- 30-year-olds, the program is a series of classes that increases the employability of participants by teaching them career and personal development, career readiness, time management, financial planning, resume building and personal marketing. The goal of the program is to help people gain and retain employment once they’ve been hired.

Jones and her 8-year-old daughter Chanti live in Laurinburg. She was hired by Service Thread as a direct result of the New Generations Grant program. She began working for the company in January.

“The program helped me learn how to present myself more professionally, and because of the program, I was able to get an interview with Service Thread,” Jones said. “I take a lot of pride in my job, and I know that Service Thread supports me in getting an education and striving for more.”

Service Thread is a diversified manufacturer of multifilament twisted yarns and plied spun industrial sewing threads from a variety of fiber types including polyester, polypropylene, nylon, kevlar and other synthetic blends. It has two locations in Laurinburg, a manufacturing site and sales and distribution center.

Andy Cagle is the director of Marketing and Communications for Richmond Community College.