On Nov. 4, 10 adult students graduated from Regional School Unit 13 Adult Education’s WorkReady™ program. The WorkReady™ program is a 60-hour work readiness program focused on teaching the soft skills necessary to get and keep employment. The classes are intense and strategically designed to prepare students for job searching and interviewing. One of the most progressive elements of this project is the inclusion of employer involvement. RSU13 WorkReady™ students had the opportunity to engage in mock interviews with Maritime Farms, Wal-Mart, Lowe’s and the Rockland CareerCenter.

Dorothy Simpson, Human Resources Manager for Lowe’s, was thrilled to provide students with feedback on their resumes and interviewing presence.

“I’m a huge proponent of work readiness programs and their ability to help adults self reflect on the job search and career choices. Participation in these programs is not only good for the individual, but for the community. I’d like to see more of them offered for our job seekers,” Simpson said in a press release.

Participants were able to engage in a minimum of three mock interviews with local employers and received real-time feedback regarding their responses to questions, overall demeanor and presentation of resume.

“Employer involvement is the cornerstone to the success of any WorkReady™ program. Students have a chance to demystify the interview process and learn about employment opportunities in their field,” said Shannon M. Parker, Director of RSU13 Adult and Community Education.

Cynthia Rainfrette Barlow served as the facilitator for this course.

“This is a very rewarding program; students depart after three weeks of intense class work and hands-on experience with a restored sense of optimism. They fine tune both their hard skills to tackle a tough employment landscape, refine their soft skills necessary to get and keep a job in today’s labor market and leave with a network of support to help them on their way,” said Barlow.

The WorkReady™ curriculum engages participants in seven basic standards including personal motivations and challenges to employment, effective communication and interpersonal skills, understanding taxes and benefits, job searching, and resume and portfolio preparation, it prepares adults for the rigors of sustained employment.

WorkReady™ is an initiative of Maine’s four Local Workforce Investment Boards and the Maine Department of Education and is supported by a statewide steering committee comprised of MDOE – Adult Education, MDOL, MDOC, Maine’s four Local Workforce Investment Boards, and representatives from the private sector. The 60-hour soft skills based training is designed to provide successful participants with not only skills essential in today’s workplace, but also a portable credential. The WorkReady™ Credential is endorsed by businesses throughout the state. To register for an upcoming program, contact Shannon M. Parker at 594-9764 or sparker@rsu13.org. For more information on WorkReady™ throughout Maine, go to www.workreadyforme.com.