Finding a career during the pandemic

It’s been a challenging year for thousands across Virginia who became unemployed or under-employed due to the pandemic. But with a FastForward education, Zack Peterson was able to fast forward his way into a new career as a commercial service technician at James River Air.

After hearing about FastForward from a family member, Peterson went to an orientation at Reynold’s Community College to learn more and quickly signed up for the NCCER CORE training course. After completing that certification, he went on to complete the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) General Safety certification and the HVAC Level 1 certification.

“I was unemployed and needed a good career,” said Peterson. “What I liked about FastForward is that the trainings were quick and could be done in weeks, not years. This seemed like a good way to get my foot in the door.”

Peterson started his courses right before the pandemic and social distancing measures were in place, meaning his experience would quickly shift to a hybrid-learning approach with a combination of hands-on training and coursework taught via Zoom. While there was a learning curve for both students and instructors, Peterson continued to receive tremendous support.

“The instructors were very helpful,” said Peterson. “Neither of us knew how to use technology and we worked through it together. They even gave students their personal cell phone numbers and I remain in touch with them today.”

In September 2020, Peterson completed his final certification and passed the EPA-608 refrigerant certification exam. With his new qualifications and a reference, Peterson was hired on the spot at James River Air. And thanks to financial aid and grants he qualified for, Peterson had zero out-of-pocket costs for his training.

“My career coach Brittany came to class the first day with paperwork and helped me with everything I needed to do to receive these grants,” said Peterson. “The financial support helped pay for everything including my courses and certification exams.”

If you’re on the hunt for a good, stable job or to launch a career doing something you truly enjoy, FastForward offers short-term training in several industries. Contact us today to get started.