Friday, February 13, 2009

Lewiston leads the way

The WorkReady™ Credential (WRC) program, now in its third year, originated in Lewiston as a pilot project in the spring of 2006. A training initiative designed to provide employers with the basic skills they were looking for in candidates, the Lewiston program has become the model for what is now a statewide program.

Graduates of the 60-hour soft skills program are required to demonstrate competency around seven standards. Each candidate, in order to receive the WorkReady™ Credential must be able to:
  • Identify personal motivations & challenges as keys to success as employees
  • Develop a plan for employment
  • Understand how to communicate effectively
  • Demonstrate effectiveness in working with others
  • Know how to apply for a job
  • Have knowledge of basic business practices
  • Demonstrate awareness of safety information & its importance

The graduation ceremony was held at the Lewiston Regional Technical Center's new state-of-the-art culinary arts facility. Local businesses, representing financial services, manufacturing, healthcare, customer service, telecommunications, and printing attended the portfolio review portion of the program. Each graduate was able to speak to employers about their work history, skills and abilities, as well as ask employers about opportunities at their place of business.

Additionally, staff members from both Senator Snowe's and Senator Collins' local offices, as well as Congressman Michaud's office were in attendance, and representatives from the City of Lewiston, several community-based organizations, Maine's Department of Labor, and members of the collaborative partnership that have made WorkReady™ possible also were present.

Several of the graduates will be moving on to a 14-week CNC Machinist training, which will begin in May, at Central Maine Community College.

For those who may not know about the positives happening in Lewiston/Auburn, check out Matt Jacobsen's article in Mainebiz, where he highlights the proactive approach of the two communities in developing the transportation, distribution, and logistics sector.

Jacobsen's article highlights the efforts of local leaders to recognize the strengths of Lewiston/Auburn, and efforts like WorkReady™ are part of that approach, developing a topnotch regional workforce, which will pay dividends, particularly in the next year, or two, when the economy rebounds.

[Lewiston's latest WorkReady™ graduating class]

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