By Andrea Pendleton, Director of Employer Services
I feel that I have the greatest job in the world. After spending 20 years in workforce development, I've seen hiring trends in times when the economy was strong and times it was suffering. So the fact that Twin Cities RISE! met and exceeded our goals, even during the recession, truly speaks to the quality of our program.
Our participants come to us with some very difficult barriers - criminal histories, homelessness, long term unemployment. Yet after going through Twin Cities RISE!, they are prepared to compete with anyone in the marketplace, no matter what the environment. How do we do it?
- Long-term skills program: It's wonderful to watch the transformation that happens when participants are with us over many months. We see them move from limited computer proficiency to advanced Excel skills. We see them fearful of speaking in front of their class, and then sharing their stories at a 250-person event. We see them with little hope for employment, and then achieve full-time, living wage jobs.
- One-on-one coaching: Anyone would appreciate a customized support system as they navigate the job search process. At Twin Cities RISE!, our participants get just that. Coaches help them every week with anything from transportation issues to preparing for a job interview. And they stick with them even after participants earn a job, to help navigate that transitional period.
- Market-driven employment services: Our clients understand and appreciate our rigorous and employment readiness-focused program. We work with local companies to make sure our curriculum is relevant to their hiring needs, and they see a loyal, well-trained workforce in return. It's a workforce that stays on the job, with 82% of Twin Cities RISE! graduates retaining their placement for at least one year. That's huge for both the employer and the employee!
- Personal Empowerment: You can learn all the necessary skills to work in an office or warehouse, but if you can't work well with your co-workers and supervisors, you won't go far. That's why our Personal Empowerment training is so important. Work skills help our participants get full-time jobs. But accountability, self-respect, responsibility, and conflict management skills help them keep those jobs.
2012 was one of our most successful years to date, and we're eager to beat our goals again in 2013. Last year, participants came into Twin Cities RISE! with an annual salary of $6,105. When they got a full-time job, their average salary went up to $25,077. That's an increase of 311%!
Just imagine how your life would change if your income increased by that much. For our participants, it means birthday presents for their kids, food on the table every night, reliable transportation, and a safe and warm place to live. And most of all, it means they understand their futures are vibrant and their possibilities are endless. That's why I have the greatest job in the world.
Please take a moment to learn more about Twin Cities RISE! and the work they do for low-income adults. Follow them on Facebook and Twitter, check out their website at twincitiesrise.org, and, if you feel compelled, help them with the JobRaising Challenge by donating at Crowdrise.