Since 1976, Towards Employment has helped individuals in the community by supporting their entry or re-entry into the working world. My work at the organization is focused on two specific job readiness programs: NETworks 2 Success and NETworks 4 Success. Both programs provide training and preparation in the areas of communication, resume and application work, interviewing skills, professionalism, and stress management.
The first of these programs, NETworks 2 Success, is two weeks in length and works with individuals transitioning off government assistance. The second program works with individuals who have been involved in the criminal justice system. At four weeks in length, NETworks 4 Success also offers legal support to help individuals overcome the obstacle that a criminal background creates to obtaining a job.
The first week of my internship has mainly been focused on gaining a better understanding of the organization, what goals they seek to accomplish, and how their workshops are conducted. I have met many of the employees, as well as several of the directors and managers, to gain a deeper understanding of how each system within Towards Employment is connected and how each part works together. My favorite part of the first week has been sitting in on the NETworks 4 Success workshop and interacting with the individuals who are participating in the class. It has been inspiring to see how invaluable this service is to individuals struggling with the barriers associated with re-entry. It has also been motivating to witness former students visit the organization with smiles on their faces because they have found jobs. What I have found in my initial observations is that Towards Employment facilitators draw from a wide variety of resources and supplement their teaching with many activities throughout their daily sessions.
My project this summer is to organize the large pool of lessons, resources, and activities into a manageable, standardized manual making it easier for present and future facilitators to teach the classes. My goal is to create a lesson guide that will be standard enough for each facilitator to teach the same material, but also flexible enough to accommodate the unique needs of the individuals served.
I hope that the end result will lessen preparation time for facilitators, allowing them more opportunities to work on activities or projects that will further the work of Towards Employment.
Each week we will use this space to give each of our interns a chance to reflect on their internship experiences. Up first is Amy Freede. Amy is a graduate student at Case Western Reserve University. She has been placed at Towards Employment this summer.