Friday, April 9, 2010

Area Residents Hone Work Ready Skills

Four Wells and one Arundel residents were among the fourteen area adults recently completing a 60 hour Work Ready™ training and were honored at a graduation ceremony on Thursday, March 4 at York Adult Education. The soft skills based training is designed to provide successful participants with not only skills essential in today’s workplace, but also a portable credential. WorkReady™ is an initiative of Maine’s Local Workforce Investment Boards and the Maine Department of Education and is supported by a statewide steering committee. The WorkReady™ Credential is endorsed by businesses throughout the state.
Many felt that the best part of the program was having the support of each other. Job hunting can be an isolating experience, especially in an age of online applications.
“It was the people,” said Anne Counts of Arundel, when asked what she thought was the best part of the program. “I felt so isolated, everything is online.” Counts has been out of a job for a year, having worked as a store manager in Kennebunk. She either wants to go back to retail, or teach preschool, she said.
Graduates can use the certificate when applying for a job. Each one learned job-seeking sills, listened to experts in the field and met potential employers. Each left with a finished cover letter and resume. “Over several weeks, we’ve seen students make a huge amount of progress,” said Amanda Cutrer, Work Ready™ Facilitator. “Best of all, they’ve become a great support for each other.” While the name “WorkReady™” may imply that the program is designed for individuals with little to no work experience, it is actually highly applicable to a wide variety of individuals with varying degrees of training, education, and occupational skills.
This Work Ready™ class was funded by a grant awarded to four local adult education programs, Wells-Ogunquit, Kennebunk, Kennebunkport and Arundel, Kittery, and York. While the course was held in York, participants were from 7 towns in the seacoast area. They ranged in age from 18 to 61 and had a wide range of prior education and employment history.
Area businesses that partnered with adult education and conducted mock interviews, tours or presentations to participants included York Hospital, Kennebunk Savings Bank, Human Capital Corporation of Portsmouth, The Goldenrod of York Beach, Bonney Staffing Center, Goodwill Industries of NNE, Hannaford, Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and the Kittery Trading Post. Other community organizations that assisted with the training included Women, Work & Community, York County CASH, Consumer Credit Counseling Services, NextStep Up Career Coaching, Finance Authority of Maine, Noble Adult & Community Education and Saco/OOB Adult & Community Education.
The graduates are Anthony Donoghue, Debra Cobain, Patricia Pfeffer and Barbara Sanford of Wells, Anne Counts of Arundel, Alicia Perry, Maurice Gauthier, Michael Ford, Judith Lincoln and Timothy Finnigan of Kittery, Heather Danforth and Barbara Holden of York, Laurence Brown of South Berwick and Lisa Gianotti of Rolliinsford, NH.
The four adult education programs are hoping to offer the training again in the fall. First they have to secure funding. For more information about Work Ready™ or to place your name on a list for a future training in the area, contact Mary Angelini at Wells-Ogunquit Adult Community Education, 646-4565 or
Photo caption: Back row from Left to Right: Anthony Donoghue, Patricia Pfeffer, Timothy Finnegan, Maurice Gauthier, Michael Ford. Front Row from Left to Right: Amanda Cutrer, Alicia Perry, Heather Danforth, Judith Lincoln, Laurence Brown, Eleanor Holden, Anne Counts, Lisa Gianotti. (Courtesy photo)