Job training leads to bright futures

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Problem solving, teamwork, creativity, communication and persistence are important job skills. These types of job skills are called Soft Skills and are transferable to nearly every type of job!

Today we’re sharing the story of two local programs who work to provide job training to specific populations. Developmental Services Center’s Community Employment program aids people with disabilities who want to find a job. Cunningham Children’s Home Vocational Options Program helps place youth with behavioral or emotional challenges in supportive job environments where they can grow. Both programs work to help people build soft skills, find employment and become self-sufficient.


Joe* never showed much interest in looking for a job until he started attending Job Club, a weekly meeting with peers supported by a Developmental Services Center Employment Specialist. At Job Club, discussions center around what is needed to get and keep a job, how to fill out an application, what questions might be asked in the interview, and the feeling of pride that comes with the accomplishment of having a job.

The more Joe attended Job Club, the more confidence Joe gained. He talked with staff and his family about the type of job he wanted, and began caring about how he looked and dressed. He finally wanted to give it a try.

Today, Joe is working at a local dry cleaner three days a week and volunteers at two different places on his days off! Joe is proud of his job, his paycheck, and his ability to help others. Joe is one of twenty people who were able to gain employment last year through this program.


Aaron*, a student at Cunningham Children’s Home CIRCLE Academy, stands a little taller these days. His increased confidence is a direct result of the valuable experience he’s gained at his job.

Aaron’s job responsibilities at a local thrift store include tasks like sorting, tagging and pricing items, housekeeping, and maintaining the overall appearance and organization of the store. He also received customer service training.

Often times, youth who experience emotional, behavior and mental challenges struggle to develop positive coping and behavioral skills, as well as develop the life skills necessary to be successful in our community. Aaron's employer worked with him to improve his soft skills and offered constructive input so he could grow.

More than 50 businesses participate in the Vocational Options program, providing local youth with the opportunity to become self-sufficient through training, support and real world experiences.

**Names have been changed to protect privacy. Photographs are provided for illustrative purposes.

Man in denim jacket