Douglass Community Services teaches job skills

Posted: Sep. 20, 2020 3:44 pm

HANNIBAL | Douglass Community Services has added a workforce development component to some of its programs to help individuals who are desperate for marketable jobs skills.

For most, these “basics” were taught at an early age, but for some kids and teens, these workplace essentials were never given to them, forcing them tobuild from the ground up. This is when Douglass Community Services steps in to be the link between these individuals and their success in the community.

Douglass Community Services is a partner agency of the United Way of the Mark Twain Area and an active participant in the 2020-21 “Be a Hero” campaign. Douglass serves clients in Ralls, Monroe, Shelby, Lewis and Marion counties, and Pike and Macon counties outside the United Way of the Mark Twain Area service boundaries.

Workforce development is a service that Douglass Community launched as a way to get adults and teens ready to plug into the local workforce.

Stephanie Cooper, CEO of Douglass Community Services is excited aboutthe potential opportunities the workforce development program can bring to area “If we could provide one opportunity where instead of somebody coming for assistance came and said ‘We want an opportunity to be able to do these things for ourselves without depending on Douglass,’ then why wouldn’t we do that? It is the right thing to do,” Cooper said.

Though workforce development has always existed through programs like Kids in Motion and Teens in Motion, the evolution of a stand-alone program is new for DCS. Pilot projects like employable skill training through the Summer Lunch Program and various partnerships opened Cooper’s eyes to the apparent need.

“They need guidance and mentors and someone to spend the time to say ‘here are the things you need in order to be successful in the workplace,’ ” Cooper said.

Through the summer lunch program, students who were involved with workforce development were able to achieve their food handlers license certificate. Along with something to put on their resumes, this also gave participants a sense of success. This kick start to success is now the focus of the new workforce development program. Other efforts now such as work readiness, apprenticeship opportunities, internships, and even work behavior and ethics training are now being developed into the program.

Douglass Community Services will benefit from the 2020-21 United Way “Be a Hero” Campaign. The financial support the United Way receives will help fund more than 20 agencies that are supported by the United Way.

Individuals and groups are encouraged to give to the “Be a Hero” Campaign at https:/unitedwaymta.org or mail a payment to PO Box 81 Hannibal, Mo. 63401.

 

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