Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Fresh Perspective

Think about your usual morning routine before work.  You wake up, eat breakfast, shower, brush your teeth, etc. Afterwards, you hop in your car or walk to the metro and before long you are starting your day. But some people don’t have it so easy. Just getting to work is half the battle. This is the case for many of the graduates of the Training Futures Program and something many of us take for granted.

The Training Futures program helps unemployed and underemployed individuals develop skills needed to help in an office environment. Upon graduating from the program participants will earn up to 17 college credits through a partnership with Northern Virginia Community College. For three out of the 25 weeks trainees have the opportunity to intern with different companies. A member of the program interned with our company for 3 weeks and did a great job.

A couple months ago a couple coworkers and I attended the graduation ceremony for 30 Training Futures graduates. The ceremony was a deeply moving experience. These graduates beat enormous odds to achieve what they did. Many took buses an hour and a half each day to attend classes for the program. Another graduate walked her three kids to three different child care centers and then took a bus to work. Keep in mind this is all to get to a program to help them get a job.  It makes it seem foolish to complain about having to work late on a Friday doesn’t it?

The two Training Future graduates speakers told incredible stories of their lives before and after being enrolled in the program. The first was a Chinese citizen who immigrated to America to provide a better life for his family. He was struggling to make ends meet and provide for his wife and two children. One day he got a call from his wife saying their power had been shut off. They did not have enough money to pay and feared they might have to live on the street. It was at that moment that he knew he had to do something. Thankfully he was able to join this program and has just completed his internship at Booz Allen.

The second speaker's story was just as powerful. She had come out of a domestic violence situation and her confidence was down. Her experience in the Training Futures program instilled in her the confidence to believe in herself and that she could achieve whatever she wanted to. She has been on several interviews thus far and is waiting to hear back from the employers. We certainly wish her the best and know she would be a valuable asset to any organization.

This is truly an outstanding program and one that has improved hundreds of lives. We all could learn something from the graduates of this program. The dedicated staff needs to be recognized as well. Without their diligence and support none of this would be possible.

The Training Futures program lives up to its title. It gives our future workforce the tools they need to succeed. The program goes beyond just teaching skills in the classroom by teaching individuals they can do anything they want and that there are no glass ceilings. Like the keynote speaker said, “Never let anyone tell you you can’t do something”. I would really recommend everyone attend at least one of these events at some point. It may give you a new perspective on life.