WorkReadyNH extends free training to younger teens

06/14/2012

PORTSMOUTH — The WorkReadyNH program is expanding to help youth age 16 and older develop job skills.

Since the program began accepting participants in October, WorkReadyNH has worked with more than 60 unemployed or underemployed area residents to enhance workplace skills and employability. Great Bay Community College is now running its ninth class and has had a total of 42 participants complete the program, including 22 students in two current classes.

The program was originally offered at no cost to unemployed New Hampshire residents age 18 and older. It is also available to New Hampshire residents working 30 hours or less per week. Following the interest of employers and partner organizations like NH Works, the free training age requirement was extended to those 16 years or older.

"We can assist a population that is not typically able to access professional development opportunities," said Christopher Lawrence, statewide liaison for WorkReadyNH. "We are able to help them build their resume and portfolio, and at the same time have a real life business experience in a job simulation format."

Students who complete the WorkReadyNH program receive a National Career Readiness Certificate and a soft skills credential, said Jennifer Scotland, WorkReadyNH director at GBCC.

"Not only have employers been thrilled with the outcomes of our program, but participants say they have changed their lives in just 15 days," Scotland said.

The Community College System of New Hampshire, a partner in the program with NH Works, recognized the WorkReadyNH program as a way to help job seekers obtain skills to meet the needs of employers. The program builds job-readiness skills in math, reading and problem-solving, as well as soft skills workplace behaviors like teamwork and ethics. Participants can complete the hard skills at their own pace through an online training program. The classroom-based soft skills training is offered in a simulated work environment at GBCC.

Upon completion, participants receive a certificate from the college for the 60-hour soft skills class, and sit for the National Career Readiness Certificate, an industry-recognized, portable, evidence-based credential that certifies essential skills needed for workplace success.

For information, call the GBCC WorkReadyNH Center at 427-7636 or e-mail workreadygbcc@ccsnh.edu. The next classes begin June 25 for evenings and July 9 for days. Schedules are at www.ccsnh.edu/workreadynh.