Monday, March 3, 2008

WorkReady™ continues to garner interest

Last Friday, 50 interested individuals looking to offer a WorkReady™ training program in their area of the state, participated in a “train the trainer” workshop, in Augusta.

WorkReady™, which began in Lewiston, has now grown to where it is now overseen by a statewide steering committee, comprised of representatives from the Maine Department of Labor, Maine Department of Corrections, Adult Education, a local school superintendent, members of the economic and community development community, as well as members of the Maine Community College System. This committee is tasked with ensuring that protocols and procedures are followed, with the goal being a unified approach towards offering this innovative soft skills training program, leading towards the award of a portable credential for graduates.

Director Rob Callahan and Assistant Director Eva Giles, from Lewiston Adult Education, spent four hours making sure that attendees fully understood what goes into running a successful WorkReady™ program. Both Callahan and Giles have been involved with the Lewiston program, where the WorkReady™ was initially launched, and where it recently held its sixth graduation. They've been key members of a partnership that has facilitated a program where 70 graduates now hold the state-recognized credential. Additionally, Central/Western Maine and Area III have also had other program offerings in Farmington and Skowhegan.

The most recent WorkReady™ graduating class has gone on to the third Next Steps training, this one being centered on customer service skills. The Essentials of Customer Service training is being held at Central Maine Community College, where 14 trainees are receiving nearly 100 hours of specific training in the elements of what customer service is and how to deliver it.

This is part of our focus in Central/Western Maine, as a workforce board, towards creating a “laddered” approach, leading to a post-secondary degree, or certification. This ties in very well with the need for middle-skills, where the majority of job creation will occur over the next decade.

Other WorkReady developments in Central/Western Maine:


On Friday, 11 candidates participated in an orientation for the second WorkReady™ pilot being offered in Somerset County. The participants will be learning the essential soft skills that employers require in job applicants. Several of the candidates had been “displaced, working in occupations that have disappeard, due to the loss of manufacturing jobs, due to offshoring American jobs.


The first-ever WorkReady™ pilot launched this morning, when 11 candidates participated in an orientation at Kennebec Learning Center. This particular pilot is focused on the 16-24-year-old out-of-school youth population. This pilot also is the first WorkReady™ program which incorporates an additional 20 hour component centered on computer literacy and application. This has been facilitated by a partnership with Coastal Enterprises, Inc.

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