Program: Work Ready
Timeline: 4-weeks to graduate
Nearly every Project Place client will go through Work Ready. This is to make sure that they have the skills needed to succeed in future employment.
Traditionally, Work Ready takes place in a classroom and computer lab at Project Place. Over the course of the pandemic, the Work Ready class was taught remotely over Google Classroom, Zoom and phone. Since July 2021, the program has transitioned to a hybrid model. This includes live Zoom classes in the morning and in-person computer classes hosted in small groups at Project Place in the afternoons. Clients work on preparing their job search materials during the computer portion of the class, so they can receive in-person support from teachers.
The classroom provides the opportunity for learning alongside peers and building community. Students will also have individual assignments and personal goals they are working toward. Teachers provide individualized feedback and guidance. Additionally, each client is matched with a case manager to support their overall progress.
Students learn the skills to succeed in the modern workplace.
This includes learning all about workplace environments and professionalism. For example, understanding what employers want to see from their employees and how to communicate effectively. During class, students will practice crafting their own resume and cover letters. Cover letters and resumes are living documents and will need to be updated as someone grows in their career. In Work Ready, we focus on teaching students how to do something so they can carry that skill forward.
Toward the end of class, students participate in mock interviews with volunteers who can offer feedback for improvement. This practice helps students build confidence and hone their interview skills. They also learn how to thank and follow-up with potential employers.
Skills learned in class can be applied not only for a person’s next job, but also life in general.
Work Ready helps people to get on a level playing field. The skills taught in the class translate from the workplace to all future aspects of life. A well-rounded education can help in ways that are not immediately noticeable. In Work Ready, some core subjects we cover are math, reading and writing, vocabulary, and developing interpersonal skills.
Outside of class, we offer enrichment workshops every week. These workshops cover topics like budgeting, parenting, nutrition, self-care, and expressing creativity. The goal of these workshops is to compliment what a client is working on in class and with their case manager to create holistic and sustained life change. Building healthy habits around food, prioritizing mental wellness, knowing how to budget and save, and balancing work and family will all help a person to stay on track with their goals and be successful in employment.
Students have access to a computer-lab and technology training.
These days, most job opportunities are found online. Teachers help students navigate online job searches and applications. In the computer lab, students learn general navigation of a computer, practice typing, and set up a professional email. Classes are taught on interactive SMART boards and feature a variety of content. Basic computer literacy is becoming an increasingly required skill by employers.
Many clients come to Project Place with very limited computer skills. They may have not had access to technology because of circumstances such a period of incarceration and poverty. Project Place works to close the digital divide and promote digital equity. Alongside teaching technology skills, we help our clients get phones and tablets so they can navigate and fully participate in modern life.