The Work Readiness Initiative is a community-based prevocational program with two primary components. First, a curriculum that is designed to help participants grow the skills needed for any job: interactive training on a range of 52 topics that reinforces workplace expectations, development of universal "soft skills", and knowledge needed for specific careers. The second component is perhaps even more significant: a set of increasingly personalized opportunities for individuals to experience a variety of vocational settings so they can make more informed choices about their career path(s)
Similar to other types of educational settings, the Work Readiness Initiative has defined start and end dates (every January and July), so that a group of individuals can start at the same time and learn together. The fundamental goal of WRI is to develop a more qualified candidate who will be ready to transition into paid employment in their field of choice.
In the final phase of WRI, after a participant has been exposed to 19 different industries and spent significant time in 1-2 work opportunities that seem to be good fits, the individual receives "tailored internship support." During this phase, the presence of 1:1 staff can assist the individual as they learn the unique requirements of the position, apply the skills taught in the classroom, and respond to regular feedback from the business.
WRI currently has two locations, 1190 Troy Schenectady Road in Latham and 845 Central Ave in Albany. It is our goal for participants to get tailored internship experiences in the communities where they live, and we are exploring expanding WRI to Clifton Park, Rensselaer and Schenectady in the future.
The Supported Internship
The Supported Internship Option builds on the skill set an individual has built/refined in The Work Readiness Initiative (WRI) or at an existing volunteer site. The internship option provides individualized internship support to individuals looking to continue their internship experience after they have graduated from WRI or once they have decided to take the next step from volunteer site to a more focused internship opportunity.
Instead of reporting to one of WRI’s site locations, individuals will report directly to their internship where they will be met by Community PreVoc staff. Staff will support individuals while they are onsite and continue to give them valuable feedback about their performance. Individuals will be responsible for their own transportation to and from the internship, similar to how they were responsible for getting themselves to WRI/volunteer sites and home.
At a pace both the individual and business are comfortable with, individuals will be supported to progressively increase responsibilities and hours in preparation for employment opportunities.
Individuals will attend an orientation at Wildwood before their supported internship begins.
During orientation we will review:
- Expectations (call outs, scheduled absences what’s work appropriate etc.)
- Transportation plans
- Management of free time before and after internships
- & more…
Tiffany Ramos, Director of Pre-Vocational Services