July 18, 2012

National agencies working on improving job training of low-skilled adults have selected staff from the Londer Learning Center (LLC), Department of Community Justice (DCJ) to participate in a six-month project to develop coursework enabling clients to enter training for skilled trades such as HVAC, auto repair, construction, and more.

The idea for a “skilled trades career pathway” at the center grew out of the popularity of the center’s pre-apprenticeship workshops, and the success of the center’s new GED Intensive course, Bridge to Success.

Pre-apprenticeship workshops focus on boosting math skills so students can qualify for free training programs. The new intensive GED course bridges GED with short-term college training options. In both courses, academic preparedness and planning for careers, as well as a GED are emphasized.

The Center’s work to improve ex-offenders’ transition from GED to jobs caught national attention—and staff were able to earn placement into a Career-Focused Basic Skills training program involving teams of instructors from around the country. The program is facilitated by New York’s La Guardia Community College and the National College Transition Network with funding from MetLife.

“It’s a natural fit for the Learning Center,” says Manager Carole Scholl. “Employment and education are keys to reducing crime and recidivism. A key to reducing unemployment is to help low-skilled adults improve skills so they can get good jobs.”

Surveys have also shown students want to participate in job training, especially training for skilled trades. LLC staff have also found increased motivation when coursework is tied to student’s future jobs, such as in the GED Intensive program and the pre-apprenticeship workshops.

These types of courses are not offered in any other adult education programs in the region.