GARLAND, Texas — The Retail Ready Career Center (RRCC) announced that nearly 230 men and women will graduated as part of its first class of 2017. Nearly 210 of those students are veterans of the U.S. Military.

"We modeled our curriculum after basic training and it's no small feat to have endured the last six weeks and emerged successfully," said RRCC CEO, Jonathan Davis. "Many of our students came in on weekends to prepare for their certification exams and our faculty responded selflessly, volunteering their Saturdays to ensure those seeking extra instruction were able to receive it," added Davis. Their hard work paid off. Over 80 percent of the graduating class passed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) exam on their first attempt and the percentage of students who passed the North American Technician Excellence (NATE) exam was over 70 percent higher than the national average.

Nationally recognized veterans advocate, Paul Rieckhoff, founder and CEO of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), delivered the keynote address. Remarking on the school and its graduates, Rieckhoff stated, "These dedicated men and women are America's next greatest generation. Their dedication and tenacity represents the very best of the Texas spirit and American ingenuity. In tough times, you need tough people. And these graduates of Retail Ready are the tough people our country and our economy need right now. Smart employers big and small will jump at the opportunity to have these folks join their team. They are not a charity, they're an investment. Retail Ready is leading the way and America should take notice."

With over 3 million job openings for skilled workers in the U.S. today, RRCC is innovating a new approach that more closely aligns higher education with the job market. In doing so, they've helped over 2,000 veterans find gainful employment in the HVAC industry, putting over $53 million back into the pockets of the veteran community in under three years of operation.

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Publication date: 3/14/2017

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