On September 23, 2015 the first of two community based learning centers for the Education 2 Employment program opened at 1914 Reynolds Avenue in North Charleston with a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony led by the Mayor of North Charleston, Keith Summey. Both Ron Mitchum, Executive Director of the BCDCOG and Cheryl Stanton, Executive Director of SCDEW, were in attendance and talked a little about the program and its importance to the community before Mayor Summey cut the Ribbon officially opening the center. Staff was in attendance to provide a tour of the facility as well as provide information for community leaders and program partners who had come to the ceremony.
Of the seven urban areas who were awarded funds, North Charleston was awarded $1.6 million by the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce (SCDEW), and the Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Council of Governments (BCDCOG) through the Department of Labor (DOL). The other six urban areas which received funding are:
- Houston, TX
- Camden, NJ
- Long Beach, CA
- Detroit, MI
- Baltimore, MD
- State of Missouri
Funding for the youth demonstration grant is through the Dislocated Worker National Reserve Account (DWNRA) which is primarily used to fund National Emergency Grants (NEG). However, 10% of the DWNRA can be used for demonstration grants. Demonstration grants (or projects) are effective mechanisms for forging partnerships between public, private and community sectors, which help to develop new ways of working together.
The youth demonstration grant is meant to test innovative new job strategies which are built on best practices for preparing youth and young adults to succeed at work. Some of the methods used to engage participants include career education and preparation, summer programs, and comprehensive and integrated career pathway models – all of which will align education and training programs to assist participants in earning national and industry recognized credentials and find good jobs.
The North Charleston Area was chosen as one of the seven urban areas in need of funding due to its demonstrated need for targeted assistance due to high unemployment rates, high crime rates and low graduation rates. The youth demonstration grant given to North Charleston, which has been named the Education 2 Employment (E2E) Program, will serve at-risk youth and young adults between the ages of 16 to 29, who are both unemployed and not enrolled in school, and who live within the North Charleston city limits.
Along with the recently opened learning center on Reynolds Avenue there will be a second center opening in the coming weeks on Remount Road which will provide a second location for participants to access the program and resources. Both of these learning centers will house pathway coaches as well as other grant partners (for example the Charleston County Adult Education and STAND program partners).
Click on image above to see full poster for the E2E program.
The E2E program offers participants the opportunity to increase their academic skills, earn a GED, or prepare for post-secondary education. In addition to the educational opportunities each participant will take part in a six-week pre-employability program, which will help prepare them for the workplace environment. As part of the E2E program they can obtain their Career Readiness Certificate and their WorkKeys Certification, a nationally recognized certification that increases their employability. Some supportive services, such as transportation and childcare, can be obtained to allow participants in the grant to have access to the program or further training through partner programs.
The Trident Workforce Development Board (TWIB) has determined six high-growth industries and occupations in which training will be promoted to E2E program participants. The six career clusters that will be promoted are:
- Manufacturing (CNC operator, Assembly Quality Technician, etc.);
- Information Technology (Network +, A+ and Security+, Coder, etc.);
- Transportation/Logistics (Fork Lift Operator, Stock Room, CDL Truck Driver, etc.);
- Healthcare (Certified Nurse’s Aide, EMT/Firefighter, Medical Administration, etc.);
- Specialty Trades (Carpenter, Form Masons, etc.); and
- Hospitality (Line Cooks, Prep Chefs, Front Desk Clerk, etc.)
During their time in the program participants are also offered the chance to join in a Life Skills group which will be offered weekly, as well as have access to group and individual counseling for those seeking assistance. Subsidized and unsubsidized employment opportunities will be made available to all of the participants in the E2E program.
At the end of the grant, should a participant need additional services they will be referred to Palmetto Youth Connections (PYC) or the Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act (WIOA) Program at SC Works if they are deemed eligible for those programs and to help their chance at becoming successfully employed. The programs main goal is to provide participants who are at-risk with meaningful work experiences as well as to provide the life skills needed to not only be ready for successful employment but to be successful in life as well.
Currently information sessions are being held at the Reynolds Center on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays at 9 AM.
For more information you can call: 843.202.0909
For more information on the other areas who received grants and are implementing their own at-risk youth programs click on the links below: