Friday, April 17, 2009

New Mainers program holds second graduation

Lewiston, Maine, 2009-04-17-The New Mainers Workforce Partnership-L/A, held its second graduation on Friday, April 17, in the Callahan Hall, at Lewiston Public Library.

A similar program was first piloted in Lewiston during the fall. Candidates for the current innovative 140-hour program were English Language Learners with basic speaking skills, but limited reading and writing skills. Each candidate was selected to participate, from Lewiston Adult Education’s Adult Learning Center Program, which meets at the Multi-Purpose Center, in Lewiston.

For seven weeks, classes were held Monday through Friday, four hours each day at Adult Education’s training facility located in the B Street Community Center.

In addition to information about the American work culture, trainees learn soft skills, communication strategies, general safety protocols, the job application and interview process, and basic computer skills. During this training, they are also working at developing skills in reading, writing and speaking. Trainees develop a resume, cover letter, as well as a personal narrative describing their journey to the United States, along with their goals for settling in this country. Additionally, they also complete a mock interview with a local business person who assesses their skills and provides valuable feedback. By the end of the program, trainees have documented performance in seven standards recognized nationally as key components to employability.

A key component of the Lewiston program has been the connection that has been developed with several local businesses, which included Oxford Networks, LL Bean, Bonney Staffing, Staff Management, TD Banknorth, as well as ING. All of these businesses participated in the program’s mock interview day. Additionally, several visited the training and presented for an hour on what their company looks for in employees, their expectations, and what would be involved if selected for a position with their company. These presentations were well received by the trainees, and each employer also provided valuable feedback to members of the partnership.

Each graduate presented their resume, a sample cover letter, and their own personal narrative for review to several members of the community, local business leaders, and other area dignitaries. Lewiston Mayor, Laurence Gilbert attended and delivered congratulations, as well as brief remarks. Deputy Commissioner of Labor, Jane Gilbert also was in attendance, and participated in conferring credentials to the 11 graduates.

Training programs are planned for the coming year in Lewiston and Portland, with the next New Mainers program in Lewiston being scheduled tentatively for September.

Funding for this program was made possible by Maine's Department of Labor.

Photo: L-R (front): Awadia Abushaga, Mohamed Haret, Said Mohamed, Halima Aden, Khadija Noorow, Angelina Mario, Ayok Lual, Jessica Olaechea Valle, Zahra Bachiri, Huda Kowe, Mark Schlotterbeck (instructor), Ibrahim Roble Moussa (absent from photo, Abdullahi Shongole)

Rear: Lewiston Mayor Laurence Gilbert

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