Jacksonville Job Corps could help you get a job at this Fortune 500 company

Many people might not realize that most Acuvue contacts made in the U.S. are manufactured in Jacksonville.

Johnson & Johnson Vision, the Fortune 500 company behind Acuvue, is teaming up with the Jacksonville Job Corps to address a national manufacturing shortage and help prepare young people for a future career.

The partnership trains teens and young adults to work for Vistakon, the Johnson & Johnson subsidiary that makes the contacts.

“Job Corps is trying to enhance and take on emerging trades to make it a new life for us,” said Jacksonville Job Corps Center Director Paul Wykoff.

Johnson & Johnson has invested $200,000 in a manufacturing training center at the Job Corps campus and guarantees a job with the company after students complete the one-of-kind Job Corps program.

The partnership began in 2021 and so far, 10 students have gone through the hands-on training.

“I think this is a steppingstone for a lot of students,” Wycoff said. “Students don’t realize where they can go, and this gives them another whole chance to go into a Fortune 500.”

Michael Feinstein was in the Job Corps in California when he learned about the Jacksonville program and decided to transfer.

“It was primarily the education. I’ve always had a passion for mechanical engineering and stuff, but I never really knew how to start that life,” Feinstein said.

Currently, 600,000 manufacturing jobs need to be filled nationwide, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Blanca Jordan with Johnson & Johnson Vision said the program is a benefit for the company and for the Jacksonville workforce as a whole.

“It’s very important to make sure that we are contributing, we’re part of our community,” Jordan said. “We’re contributing to make sure people have an ability and an opportunity to train on this equipment and choose this as a career path.”

Six people from Job Corps are currently working for the company with more students, including Feinstein, joining the team in a few months.

“I always had a passion for it, and I always really wanted to learn it but never really had an opportunity,” Feinstein said. “And then COVID hit and then I had to drop out of high school, and it seemed like the perfect opportunity to go into Job Corps, and I found it, and I’m really happy I’m here.”

The Jacksonville Job Corps accepts students ages 16-24 year-round.

Both Job Corps and Johnson & Johnson plan on expanding the partnership in the future.

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