Career Solutions has been recognized by the Minnesota Workforce Council Association (MWCA) with a Promising Practices award for their CareerONE – Coleman pilot project!
Career Solutions (formerly Stearns-Benton Employment & Training Council), District 742 Adult Basic Education (ABE) and outdoor and recreation company Coleman, who operates a manufacturing facility in Sauk Rapids, forged a partnership in early July to create a job training program called CareerONE- Coleman. The program sought to prepare individuals who face English language barriers, many coming from the area’s large population of resident’s who have joined the community from East Africa, and have “aged out” of high school and are unemployed, with the skills needed to fill positions in the state’s manufacturing industry. Fourteen students completed the training program. The main goals for these youth were to increase their literacy skills leading to a diploma, enhance their work readiness skills, obtain work experience, keep engaged in the community, obtain employment, and continue their education.
CareerONE – Coleman consisted of a five week program with 4 components including literacy/ adult diploma program, employability instruction, mentoring by a Somali elder, and on-the-job training. The classroom training included English, reading, writing, basic math, production safety, work related vocabulary as well as soft skills including organization, time management, responsibility, teamwork and leadership. Career Solutions set up a mobile computer lab at Coleman’s facility in Sauk Rapids where the class was held, to assist with the classroom portion of the program. The on-the-job training facilitated by Coleman allowed participants to learn a variety of manufacturing skills and duties on the production floor. Local Somali elder Jama Alimad volunteered his time to mentor the youth which was an important piece as well. The students earned a weekly stipend for their work and skill development. Participants were enrolled in the Minnesota Youth Program (MYP) with Career Solutions. Program funding contributors include the Otto Bremer Foundation and the Initiative Foundation.
Career Solutions Executive Director Tammy Biery stated, “We are thrilled to receive this promising practice award for this pilot program! The students worked diligently and have come a long way in such a short amount of time. They have learned some important academic and employment skills that will really help them move forward. The students’ reading and math advancements were quite impressive for such a short time period. Four of the students made a math level gain (approximately two grade levels) and five of the students made a reading level gain (approximately two grade levels as well). Three of the students are now eligible to enroll in a diploma program with Adult Basic Education and a fourth student should get in this fall. Several students are getting the opportunity to interview with Coleman for positions that they were able to “try out” during the program.
According to Biery, “Our partners from District 742 and Coleman were so willing and open to this new program; it was exciting to see it all come together. We are also so glad to have had our mentor Jama on board sharing his time to mentor these youth. We are hoping to be able to continue this same model with other businesses who are interested in investing in the community. According to St. Cloud ABE, the number of students “aging out” will grow exponentially in the future. Career Solutions is pleased to be on the front end of this curve to provide a solution to a growing need in our community. It is a win-win for all.”
The MWCA has published this promising practice to promote the development and implementation of similar programs in Workforce Service Areas in other regions across the State of Minnesota.
For more information on this project please contact: Tammy Biery, Executive Director 320.308.5702
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Tammy Biery, Executive Director