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      Low unemployment puts skills in high demand

      Friday brought a big announcement for the U.S. Economy.

      The national unemployment rate dropped to eight point three percent.

      But how does the job market in the Tri-States compare?

      "It gives me hope it give me courage," said Ashley Fleming, an unemployed TriState resident.

      The national unemployment rate is the lowest it's been in three years since entering the economic depression.

      But according to Jim Mentesti that's old news when it comes to Adams County.

      "We have been averaging in that 6.3 percent to that 6.5 percent because our manufacturers, we have 100 manufacturers, have done so well," said Jim Mentesti, president of the Great River Economic Development Foundation.

      The Tri State area relies heavily on manufacturing jobs to support the local economy.

      And according to the National Labor Department, factory jobs grew the most last year.

      "We've anticipated that the folks that have held off for quite a while with growth and expansion and whatever have finally decided you can go a while but if you go two and a half years and you keep holding back on manufacturing and you keep holding back in construction eventually you're going to pay the price of losing out to somebody else, whether it's in this country or another country," said Mentesti.

      Local manufacturing company, Knapheide recently announced its plan to add between 75 to 100 jobs in 2012.

      The Majority of those jobs are in welding.

      "We know it's important for people to get to work, we know there is a high demand for these individuals, many companies can't wait that year as people would move through that training program, said Ronald Davis, vice president for instruction at John Wood Community College. "So this is to get people started," he said.

      John Wood Community College recently announced a new-four week basic welding training program...to help get the unemployed on the job faster.

      "Try it out it can't hurt and it's your future, it's up to you," said Charles Hechat, student in JWCC welding program.

      Charles Hechat was unemployed for two years before taking a welding program at John Wood.

      He graduates in March with a job waiting for him.

      "It's great to be in the right place at the right time, and the middle of America is a great place to do business," said Mentesti.

      If you're interested in more information on the program click here.