Employers are constantly lamenting the fact that “too many of the workers we have lack the common-sense skills they need to keep a job.”
Danville Area Community College just found a way to fund a program to teach common sense to job seekers and incumbent workers. The Illinois Community College Board awarded $225,000 for the “Bridge and Innovation” grant to DACC to fund the College’s Innovative Transitions Program.
Operations Vice President Kerri Thurman, Executive Vice President Dave Kietzmann, Dean Laura Williams, and Assistant Vice President Brian Hensgen teamed up to design the winning program and successful application. Says VP Thurman, “The primary focus will be on unemployed and underemployed adults. But the program will also assist incumbent workers who need to upgrade skills to remain employed, as well as student veterans.”
The grant will fund “life skills” educational training for three different types of students. The first are those who are simultaneously earning their high-school equivalency as well as job credentials, such as in a certified nursing assistant program. The second group are job seekers who need short-term technical-skills training prior to employment. The third group are College graduates who need to be prepared for success in the working world.
The program addresses what has become the chief concern among local employers—namely, that too many of today’s job seekers lack a practical understanding of how to be successful employees. As Lori Russell of DynaChem said during last month’s DACC-hosted breakfast meeting with manufacturers, “What many employees today really lack is what we call ‘soft skills’—or should I say, life skills. We can teach them the fundamentals of a job, but too many of the people we hire are not adequately prepared when it comes to understanding how to hold and keep a job or to advance in a job to a supervisory level.”
The grant will fund a new two-hour Corporate Education program that Director Stephanie Yates recently developed in collaboration with business leaders. The program addresses both the personal ethic and the work ethic, and crosses all industry sectors.