QUINCY — Signing days are typically associated with athletes announcing their college of choice. John Wood Community College and the Great River Economic Development Foundation, along with the Quincy Area Vocational and Technical Center, have carried the concept over to career fields for students entering the workforce.

Wednesday’s signing day saw three students from JWCC sign with two local companies to start their careers locally. SchaNique Ellis signed on with Knapheide Manufacturing, while Leslie Trinkle and Michael Goers both joined All Seasons Heating & Air Conditioning in Mount Sterling after securing their HVAC certificates.

In a released statement, JWCC’s coordinator of career services, student navigation, Kristen Foster said the faculty of the college takes pride in watching students succeed.

“It is our pleasure to recognize our student’s accomplishments and to help our local workforce leaders hire and retain a skilled workforce,” Foster said. “Being a part of an event that highlights our career and technical programs, our local industry partners, and our accomplished students is a win-win-win!”

“Every year, students in our region are recognized for their athletic achievements,” Marcel Wagner said in comments at the ceremony. Wagner is the current GREDF president. “We felt, along with our partners at John Wood, that it’s critically important to recognize our students in the same way that are going to be working and living here in our community.”

Mike Troup, mayor of Quincy, said the students at the signing today and others like them are a critical component driving the economic engine of any community.

“I’m proud of you, I’m glad you’ve been involved with the schools,” Troup told the students being recognized. “Your learning will be ongoing, with all the opportunities, all the people you’re going to meet, but the good thing is, you’re going to get a paycheck.”

Tracy Orne, JWCC’s dean of students, said it’s the vision of John Wood to be a community partner and a leader in workforce education.

“We want to support our employers with a skilled, trained workforce,” Orne said. “Out of 555 degrees and certificates we’ll award (this year), 261 are in manufacturing, agriculture, transportation, and healthcare.”

During the event, each of the three students took their place at a table center stage in the Quincy Community Theatre, joined by a representative of their new employer, to sign a work-ready pledge and receive their “jersey,” a t-shirt from their new boss.

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