News from this Pilot:
A R.I.C.H. L.I.F.E.
Article Submitted By: Denise Schimweg
Reinvesting In the Community with Heart (R.I.C.H.) is taken seriously at Farmington’s Living Independently For Everyone Inc. (L.I.F.E., a Center for Independent Living) pilot community. The 13 member pilot from 2 counties is focused on 2 goals: Integration of Systems and Employer Engagement/Business Partnerships. Informational surveys by the pilot project Education Liaison and Business Liaison continue to occur for determining needs of youth, youths' families, schools, agencies, local businesses and corporations.
Pilot community school age youth jumped a huge hurdle with the assistance of Workforce Development Specialists and Park Hills, Missouri Career Center in April. Transportation for school age youth in rural areas is difficult as well as arranging time out of a loaded school day for high school graduates! Some students must travel as long as 45 minutes one way to the closest Career Center to participate in the program. Missouri Career Centers program with the National Career Readiness Certificate, issued by ACT, is ideal for emerging workers looking for a job. The certificate is THE work-related skills credential honored by the area employers. A partnership and change of current systems is now a R.I.C.H. venture with the help of Jefferson City Division of Workforce Development and Linda Fitzgerald, Park Hills DWD Supervisor. Career center staff can now travel to the schools to register youth into the certificate program during school hours. This wonderful opportunity for 10 local school districts to enroll students 18+ years old AND later take the WorkKeys assessments for the certificate can all be done within school buildings. Students (such as pictured above) taking such classes as Life Skills, Study Skills or Seminars have individually worked on skill modules in this program (applied mathematics, reading for information and locating information) during school and at home/public library after school hours on internet accessible computers. We will keep you updated on the progress made as we register students, complete learning modules for assessments to finish the program.
Our pilot liaisons have made contact with 8 new businesses within the 2 county areas such as Human Resource office at Ste. Genevieve County Memorial Hospital, Eric Scott (leading private labeling manufacturer) and Scott Barley (owner Barley Automotive.) Work experiences and paid internships are being discussed for area youth now. Promoting leadership opportunities for young adults have taken a central focus also to empower self-esteem, build relationships and improve communication skills. Currently 24 new area youth have joined the endeavors of the pilot communities in training sessions and social activities. One pilot core team member in particular, Gary Green-17 year old legally blind, has joined school sports programs (such as wrestling and track/field) with newspaper recognition as seen in the picture below.
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