Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Free workers: "On the Job" puts students to work for you

The Central Avenue Business Improvement District is launching a brand-new umbrella program for employers and prospective employees. Called “On the Job,” this initiative makes use of a number of existing partnerships and programs to help put qualified workers in jobs.

“On the Job” was borne out of a strategic planning retreat last year, says Anthony Capece, Executive Director for the Central Avenue Business Improvement District. “We have been successful at improving the district and maintaining it, but in order to go to the next level, we needed to reach out to the surrounding neighborhoods,” says Capece.

“On the Job” works with local and national organizations to provide training and placement help to students, veterans, and special needs individuals. They are even helping to connect small businesses with financing for growth and expansion.

“We’ve been able to creatively mix our mission into that, making it better for our businesses and the surrounding neighborhoods at the same time,” says Capece. This week, we'll profile some of the employment opportunities offered under our "On the Job" program.

The Work Readiness Program is in its sixth session providing job training and placing for at-risk teens in the area. Coordinator Kate Riley, who co-teaches the program says the program has had exciting results, already placing 20 students in internships at businesses that include the Subway, Plato’s Closet, Albany Indoor Rock Gym, Ramada Plaza Hotel, Jo Ann Fabrics and CDTA. She is always looking for more employers willing to take on students, and would like to add job shadowing to their training experience.

“I would even think it would be cool to make job shadowing a part of the class time so we could go with the students and have business owners give them an ‘inside look,’” says Riley. The training includes resume building, applications, interview training and soft skills.

The Central BID is also working with the Living Resources College Experience Program, a 2-year college program at the College of St. Rose, that aimed at individuals with intellectual disabilities. While in the program, students live in college dorms, take college classes, and receive job training. They also attend community events, learn to use public transportation, and manage their finances.

“The goal is for students to learn how to live independently, with minimum help. To get around and hold a part-time job,” says Maggie Erlich, academic coordinator.

The program is currently seeking professionals who can provide short 20-30 minute job talks, internship opportunities (3-5 hour shifts twice a week), and job shadow opportunities (1-2 hours a day, one day a week for 4-6 weeks). Currently, students are particularly interested in fitness, animal care, food service/culinary, childcare, eldercare, radio station, and acting and theater. Since it started five years ago, the program has graduated 20 students, helping them lead more productive, fulfilling lives.

Both programs are currently looking for mentors and internship opportunities. Can you help?

If interested in providing at-risk teens with a job training opportunity, contact Kate Riley at the Central BID office at (518) 462-4300 or at kate@centralbid.com

If you are interested in giving a student talk, internship, or job shadow opportunity, contact Maggie Erlich at erlichm@mail.strose.edu or visit the website at www.thecollegeexperience.org