The economic redevelopment of urban America is on hold. Until we resolve the
issue of the self-perpetuating nature of welfare dependency--the lack of vision,
jobs, values and hope--we will never break the cycle. The burden generated by
welfare dependency and unemployment inhibits private sector growth, health care,
the criminal justice system, and the infrastructure of America.
Welfare recipients have a different view of the world that will never allow them
to break free of the walls of the ghetto without the competitive vision of what
America can and must be. Without skills and the chance to earn an income, people
become mired in welfare, crime, alcohol, drugs and a breakdown of traditional
family values. Any attempt to change this reality must be preceded by an
intensive drive to train and re-train the victims of a system where people are
programmed to underachieve.
CORE has a long history of providing workforce training and welfare-to-work
assistance. We recognized the need for the development of technical skills,
employability competencies, work values and self-esteem and developed a unique
welfare reform/job training program to deliver these services to our community
in an effective and efficient way. We call our program "Project
Project Independence is designed to address the lack of skills among inner-city
young adults by providing intensive training in office skills and then helping
them to find meaningful employment.
With the hundreds of thousands of unemployed people in America, it is virtually
impossible to service them all. CORE chose to concentrate its efforts on a
select group defined as "young single mothers who are currently receiving
public assistance." We have found that the desire to get off welfare
By targeting young mothers on welfare, CORE hopes to break the perpetual cycle
of welfare dependency by giving the participants the skills they need to find
employment, We hope that the concept of being self-supporting and the
development of personal and work values will be passed on to their children.
Entry into our program is strictly voluntary and training individuals who want
to learn has been an important ingredient to our success.
The most unique aspect of our program has been the training methods that have
evolved through years of experience. Most trainees are enrolled for an initial
120-day cycle with the option of additional extensions if necessary.
The majority of our training takes place in a "real" work environment
with "real" assignments and "real" responsibilities.
Trainees are incorporated into the workforce at CORE and participating private
sector partners. They are expected to perform at various levels as full time
employees. We have found that this approach to training is much more successful
than a strict classroom style of teaching.
Functional context learning has emerged as the most effective
delivery model for
the transition from welfare to work. Short-term "make work" jobs may
respond to the public outcry for "reform" of the
During their training cycle, participants are introduced to general workplace
expectations. They are taught basic office procedures, and the use of basic
office machinery. They learn the use of computers and a variety of popular
A Work Ethic
Many people entering the workplace today lack the employability competencies to
function in a competitive work environment. Our trainees are taught proper
workplace etiquette including answering the telephone, taking messages,
communicating with co-workers, proper office attire, punctuality, follow-up, and
reporting on completed work. These simple ABCs of a "good employee"
are often forgotten.
Our trainees are also taught interpersonal and thinking skills such as accepting
individual responsibility, sociability, self-management, integrity, goal
setting, problem solving, collaborative learning and teamwork.
In the final stages of their training, participants are entered into CORE's
"Job Bank" which lists available positions provided to us from many
sources, categorized by skill and educational requirements. Trainees who meet
the minimum qualifications of available positions are sent on interviews with a
referral from our job-training program.
CORE's Job Bank is the vital completion phase of "Project
Independence," where trainees receive career counseling, interview
techniques and update their resumes in preparation for their job
search. Periodic "job fairs" are organized so that
trainees can take advantage of available career opportunities, meet with
corporate recruiters and placement agencies all in the same day.
Trainees are followed for a period of 6 months after completing the program.
During this follow-up period, emotional and technical support is offered to
assist the trainee in the transition from welfare recipient to working parent.
Referrals are made to other services that a single mother may need to overcome
some of the barriers to independence.
"Project Independence" has enjoyed tremendous success.
80% of the trainees who have graduated the program are placed in meaningful
employment within 60 days of completion.
The cost of this program is approximately $1,500 per trainee, making it one of
the most cost-effective job training programs in the country. There is no cost
to the participants and we receive no government funding.
you can help!
Project Independence is totally dependent upon contributions from private
sources. We invite you to visit our training facilities. Meet our staff and
participants. Talk with some of these young mothers who are truly doing
something to help better themselves and we are certain that you will find them
worthy of your support. Help to give them a new vision, not an empty world of
hope, but of real skills, a positive lifestyle and a future for them and their
children. HELP US TO HELP THEM TO HELP THEMSELVES. Together we can
give some unfortunate Americans the break they need and deserve.
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