By Eric J. Greene
Chief Communications Officer
In 2018, Larry Guy wasn’t fully aware of his options for transitioning back into his hometown of Battle Creek after having been incarcerated.
He hadn’t had many educational opportunities in prison, didn’t know how to use a computer and didn’t have an email address.
That’s when he learned of the Kellogg Advanced Manufacturing Assembly (KAMA) training offered through the Innovative Accelerated Credentialed Training (iACT) initiative at Kellogg Community College. Guy enrolled as soon as he could and began developing skills – from accuracy and efficiency to interviewing for jobs and quality control – that would help him later land a full-time job assembling heating and air-conditioning units at Denso Manufacturing.
“The program was excellent for me,” said Guy, 54, who worked at Denso for a year and now works at the Target Distribution Center outside Galesburg. “The classroom part was intense because I hadn’t been in school in quite some time, but I got through it.”
As an accessible option for marginalized populations, the KAMA training initiative serves as a vital educational link to connection, stability and jobs.
In the KAMA program, Guy excelled while learning how to assemble parts and work as a member of a team in a manufacturing environment.
“Larry was a model student, doing everything asked of him to complete successfully,” said Cherise Buchanan, a career coach with KCC Workforce Solutions. “He came in with a goal and was able to accomplish it. The classes may not have been easy, but Larry put in the work and that yielded great results.”
Guy never missed a minute of the scheduled training and finished in a matter of weeks. He appreciated that his peers in the program ranged in age from younger to older. He even created his first email address, which he uses to this day.
“You have to do everything quickly and efficiently with as few mistakes as possible. That’s the first thing you learn in the KAMA training initiative,” Guy said. “To some people, it might seem difficult at first, but stay with it. The classroom experience and the hands-on experience pay off and they are very beneficial when you get into the workforce. They prepare you to work in a fast-paced environment.”