SAN LUIS VALLEY -- Workforce Readiness at the Boys and Girls Clubs of the San Luis Valley has been able to expand and invest in the futures of even more children thanks to the EL PASO grant.
The EL PASO (Engaging Learners Program to Advance Student Options) grant was awarded to the club in June 2020 by the Kenneth King Foundation and was intentionally designed to improve the job preparedness of youth in the San Luis Valley.
The club’s Workforce Readiness program invests in teaching about and preparing young people through essential skills development, career exploration, employability and certification, and work-based learning.
With the EL PASO grant, the BGCSLV has been able to expand the program even further.
Olga Montano was hired to be the Extended Learning Program Coordinator and has been essential in creating a creative and consistent Workforce Readiness program. Claudia Cordova, the teen coordinator, has been working with Montano as much of the programming involves our teen club members.
One part of the Workforce Readiness program is to help teens get different kinds of certifications. So far, several of the club’s members have gotten certified in CPR and First Aid, as well in auto mechanics.
The club, working with Alamosa’s Colorado Workforce Center and with professionals around the community, is also able to host workshops and presentations to members of all ages about different careers paths.
The workshops teach some of the older members how to write a resume, a cover letter, and participate in interviews, as well as other hard skills associated with job hunting and applications.
As for the career exploration presenters, in 2020, the club heard from people who worked as EMS workers, yoga instructors, and 911 dispatchers. More recently, teen club members heard a presentation from Ssg. Reyes about his experience with the National Guard.
One of the biggest and most exciting changes the EL PASO grant has allowed the Workforce Readiness program to develop is an internship program.
Montano collects applications from prospective interns, ages 14 to 18, sees what they’re interested in as a career, and connects them with mentors in the community. Interests have varied from the medical field, to criminology, to cosmetology. Each internship is three months long and includes a stipend.
The club is still accepting applications for internship positions.
With the EL PASO grant, the Workforce Readiness program at the BGCSLV has been able to expand to new heights and help even more children realize their potential. Whether through a workshop, presentation, or a paid internship, the program helps these children develop hard and soft skills they’ll be able to market when hunting and applying for jobs.