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EMS Teaches Real World Skills
The six-week Summer Youth Employment Learning Program, sponsored by Capital Workforce Partners, is being held in Wilkes Hall on the University’s Asylum Avenue campus through Aug. 18.
On Thursday, Aug. 3, representatives from the Connecticut Department of Labor and Capital Workforce Partners visited the program. The project is financed through the state of Connecticut's Urban Distressed Cities Fund and grants from the city of Hartford and the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving.
The program teaches 45 Hartford public school students valuable employability skills ranging from how to fill out a job application to how to dress for work. The 14- to15-year-old students collect their stipend or “paycheck” of $22 a day, and leave the program with a “dream” resume of what they want to accomplish in 20 years, and how they will reach their goals.
“This summer program is a logical extension of our work,” said Mary Christensen, director of Educational Main Street. “Job readiness, a career, and secondary education are these students’ ultimate goals.”
The program teaches students how to function in a company called “EMS Enterprises,” where some are named “employee of the week.” Students wear uniforms daily, but are allowed to wear business casual on Fridays. Students also know they may be in danger of being fired if they don’t adhere to company rules.
The University is supporting the program in many different ways. Louise Melanson, EMS financial coordinator, is case manager of the project. Connie Coles, EMS program director, and Fred Jenoure, special assistant to the president, both teach classes. Representatives from the University’s Human Resources Development department and Career Center also offered advice to students.
Tom Smith, a Hartford Public School teacher, and teacher Andrea Cittenden, also teach classes. Shaina Jones, a Weaver High School senior, and Hartford Public High School graduate Gregory Clark also work with students in classes. There will be a final wrap-up of the program on Thursday, Aug. 17, where participants will receive certificates.
“It’s a unique program to help prepare the future workforce,” said Dennis Mink,coordinator of the Summer Youth Program at Capital Workforce Partners. “It’s an opportunity to prepare young people into the working world, and to encourage them to stay in school.”