When a person has been working at the same job for years, they may consider making a change, but may be unsure how to go about it. For high school seniors or recent graduates, their career path may be uncertain.
Direction can be found this spring semester in the Workforce Readiness Program at Gila Community College, Payson. Instructor, Donna Steckal, psychologist, teaches the first two courses: CSL 104 Personal Assessment and COE 101 Job Seeking Strategies. Since this is a tech world, one of the basic skills necessary for success is offered in CMP 101 Introduction to Computers, the third course in the Workforce Readiness Program
In the Personal Assessment class, students learn about their core values, areas of strength and areas that need improvement. “They look at interests, abilities and career areas that they do best in,” said Steckal.
Steckal teaches strategies of how to achieve goals and how to change weaknesses into strengths. Some of the questions presented to the students are: Do you know what strengths you bring to an employer? Have you thought about in what areas you need improvement? Do you like to work alone or with other people? The students look at how their strengths fit in with their skills and abilities. The program helps the students to become more aware of personal values.
Sue Francis, one student in the program who has gained some insight into her work goals said, “The Workforce Readiness Program helped me to find out about myself.” In the first assessment class she discovered several different strengths. “It’s amazing how much one learns in a short time,” said Francis.
Each class is three hours, three mornings a week for four weeks. In a few months, beginning in January with completion in April, a person can be started on a new career path.
Learning effective communication skills is important when looking for work. In the second class, Job Seeking Strategies, each student completes a resume. They learn how to write a cover letter, practice interview skills and send thank-you notes after the interview.
“We had to interview someone in the field we wanted to go into,” said Francis. She went out to interview a paralegal. “The teacher gave us a list of the most popular questions to ask in an interview and I added some of my own.”
Francis moved to Payson in 2002 and works as a hairdresser, but standing all day has been hard on her back. After she was presented with some legal issues, she decided this may be the career path for her — helping others with the immense paperwork involved in civil suits. She feels this work is important. “I’m trying to talk the Dean into getting a paralegal program here,” said Francis.
If you are seeking a career change as Sue Francis is, the Workforce Readiness Program may be the answer. The program includes all three courses and scholarships are available to qualified students when all three are completed. Classes begin January 7, 2009. To register, go directly to the Gila Community College, Payson Campus at 201 North Mud Springs Road, or log on to www.gilaccc.org.