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Free classes helping people spark new careers

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – A local community center has come up with a generous way to get people back in the working world. Now they’re just looking for more students willing to get their hands dirty.

The Edna Martin Christian Center started the workshops, which are similar to a vocational school, last year. About two dozen students have graduated, getting them certified in either welding, culinary and hospitality, or logistics.

Students 24-Hour News 8 talked to say the training is invaluable in more ways than one.

Sometimes, you just need the right spark. Just ask Rokeya Hupson. He’s an experienced welder, but several months ago that wasn’t the case.

“I was just trying to find myself,” he said.

The welding class room is filled with stories like Hupson’s.

“As of right now I’m out of work,” said student Brian Costa, who never expected he’d be in a welding class. But there he goes, grinding away the hours.

“My ultimate goal is underwater welding, that’s where the money is at,” he said.

Speaking of money, the class is offered for free.

“I don’t pay a dime. I don’t have to worry about debt, I don’t have to worry about owing,” he said.

Neither do the students who hope to cut their teeth in the culinary world.

“We always look at the best way to serve people within our community,” said Tysha Sellers, executive director of the Edna Martin Christian Center.

Sellers said her community is unfortunately filled with too many underemployed and unemployed people who might not be able to afford paying for a class. That’s why the classes are funded completely through grants and donations.

“If a person meets just income qualifications, as well as age, and then background, we’ll be able to help them in some type of way,” she said.

“For anybody out there, struggling, going through a hard time, losing a job, knowing that there’s somebody out there willing to help you know, opens the doors wide open,” said Costa.

Just ask Hupson, one of the class’s first graduates who now works as a certified instructor.

“I was looking for a better job to do better for my family,” Hupson said. “Now I’m doing better for my family and the people that’s around me.”

Even though classes are underway you don’t have to wait to sign up for the next round.

Also, the classes are open to people who have might have a criminal record. Director Sellers said they do that because they are focused on making sure the next step in a person’s life is a positive one.

If you’d like more info on how to sign up, click here.