Holyoke Community College, through its Training & Workforce Options collaboration with Springfield Technical Community College, is creating a workplace readiness program to help unemployed and underemployed mothers develop the skills they need to maintain full-time, benefitted jobs.
HCC and STCC are putting the program together for Dress for Success of Western Massachusetts, a nonprofit agency that promotes economic independence for disadvantaged women.
"Dress for Success came to us and wanted our help creating and implementing the program," said Christina Grass, the corporate engagement coordinator for TWO.
"It's new. It's a pilot," said Grass. "We've done things like this before, but we've always embedded workforce readiness topics in other training programs. This will be a stand-alone program."
TWO will supply the program instructors. The training will take place at Square One in Springfield. The 36-hour training program will run for 12 weeks on Saturday mornings from 9 a.m. until noon, starting at the end of January, and will accommodate up to 20 participants.
Columbia Gas donated $14,000 for the program. Participants will receive bus vouchers and free childcare. The program planning team includes Grass and women from other organizations throughout western Massachusetts.
The training will include lessons on career searching, workplace expectations, financial literacy and interview skills.
TWO typically includes workforce readiness as part of its other programs, such as precision manufacturing technician and advanced call center training, which are funded by state workforce training funds and contributions from business partners.
Grass said this is the first time TWO has put together a training program for a nonprofit.
She said the program could serve as model for others.
"Definitely," said Grass, "the workplace readiness is a newer idea and something we'd like to replicate at the colleges and just in general to make it a stand-alone program that I think a lot of people can benefit from."
Click here to read the program flyer.
PHOTOS: (Left) A check presentation from Columbia Gas was held on Wednesday, Nov. 18 at at Square One, 1095 Main Street, Springfield. Pictured are members of the program's planning committee: (L to R) Dawn DeStefano of the YWCA; Anne Weiss of Anne Weiss Consulting; Andrea Luppi of Columbia Gas; Vicki Shrewsbury of Smith & Wesson; Christina Grass of Training & Workforce Options; Dawn Creighton of AIM; Anita Bird of MGM Springfield; Kristine Allard of Square One; and Jennifer Brown of United Personnel. (Right) Christina Grass, corporate engagement coordinator, for TWO, Training & Workforce Options, a collaboration between HCC and STCC.