By Remy Adams
DURHAM, N.C. — For a decade, the Center for Employment Training has worked to help low-income individuals learn the skills needed for the workplace.
Part of a national network of centers based in San Jose, Calif., the Durham office was launched as a demonstration project and continues to provide training for roughly 100 low-income people a year in a work-like setting.
Overall, the Durham office has helped roughly 1,000 low-income people find and keep jobs, says Tim Moore, regional assistant.
Students typically are age 22 to 44, and are unemployed, single with dependents, and read at or below an eighth-grade level.
Completing the program takes seven months, on average, and 80 percent of those who finish find a job with starting pay averaging $9.55 an hour.
The goal, center officials say, is to help people not only get jobs, but keep them.
Seventy percent of graduates still have jobs one year after they are hired.
In preparing students for jobs, the center tries “to replicate and emulate the work place,” Moore says.
Students arrive at 8 a.m. and work until 4 p.m., and their training program includes punching time cards, taking two breaks and working with instructors who double as supervisors.
Instructors actually have done the work for which they are preparing students, and they teach not only the “hard” skills needed for fields such as business office or medical assistance fields, but also the “soft” skills of regular attendance, good attitude and work ethic.
Moore says graduates who later become supervisors still call CET when they need help.
CET, says Tyrone Everett, regional director, focuses on “training and retraining of low-income people, people from challenging backgrounds and communities who have multiple barriers to getting employment.”