Workforce Success Story Submitted By:
Kansas WorkforceONE

From Rail Lines to Pipelines

Workforce Challenge

Twenty four months ago, Keith Franks was shocked when he was laid off from his promising career as a railroad conductor in South Dakota. The company laid off 5000 employees at that time, having been severely impacted by the recession. "I didn't anticipate the bottom falling out," said the 46-year old Frank. "The railroad company I worked for was promising everything would be rosy; that 2009 was going to be a banner year for them. Next thing I know, I'm unemployed.

After finding no new work in South Dakota, the Franks family moved back to Bison, Kansas, where they had lived previously.

Workforce Solution

In the spring of 2010, Frank went to the Great Bend, KS Workforce Center to answer a job advertisement. There, he learned about the Workforce Investment Act training program for displaced workers. Barton County Community College was offering a three-month Natural Gas Distribution and Transmission Program, specifically for displaced workers. After applying and qualifying for WIA training funds, he enrolled in the 33-hour certification program.

Outcomes & Benefits

Three days after completing the course, Franks landed a job as a measurement technician with Hays, KS-based Kinder Morgan Inc. "They said what actually got me hired were two things, the program at Barton and my attitude," said Frank, who began his job search almost immediately after starting the program.

Frank admits he knew nothing about the field of natural gas before he entered the program, but the rigor and training he received from the certificate program gave him a solid basis to begin his new position.

"I've done some interesting jobs, but this is by far the best job I've ever had in my life," said Franks.

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