Westchester and Putnam Counties Prepare Youth to be Workforce ‘READI’

The following is a press release from our partner, Westchester-Putnam Workforce Development Board (WPWDB). WCA is coordinating efforts with WPWDB in the county’s READI intiative. WCA’s role in the READI campaign has been funded by The Westchester Bank.

readiorgnoarrowThe Westchester-Putnam Workforce Development Board is recruiting volunteer trainers to provide training to individual and organizations interested in adapting the READI Curriculum in job readiness preparation for youth entering the workplace.

In November 2011, the The Westchester-Putnam Workforce Development Board (WPWDB) appointed an ad hoc committee to examine the attributes that businesses look for when they hire youth and to develop a strategy for helping teens prepare for the work experience. The committee was comprised of representatives from local colleges, universities, businesses, business membership organizations, youth services organizations, and religious organizations.

The committee recommendations became READI—an acronym that represents: Respect, Enthusiasm, Articulate, Dependable and Initiative as well as a curriculum to teach these concepts. Hospitality Resource Group was hired to develop the curriculum which was then made available to a few pilot organizations in Westchester and Putnam counties to help youth prepare for the workforce. The WPWDB is now preparing to implement the next phase; training for and distribution of the curriculum on a wider scale.

For maximum impact and efficiency, the WPWDB created the READI Training Institute—a vehicle to be used to Train the Trainers. Volunteers from Westchester and Putnam are being recruited and trained in the instruction of the READI curriculum. These trainers will convene periodic, two- to three-day ‘train the trainer’ sessions for individuals and organizations interested in adopting the READI framework to be used to prepare their youth to enter the workforce.

“We are looking for individuals who can commit to 15 to 20 training hours to learn the READI curriculum and then train others how to deliver the curriculum in their agency. We encourage those who have an instructional and/or teaching background or professional development experience to apply. Retirees are especially encouraged and of course an interest in youth is a must! It’s a great opportunity to really make a difference in a very grassroots, boots on the ground way,” states Donnovan Beckford, Director of WPWDB. Read more in the READI flier.

“The feedback from our employers of the first several youths who went through the READI pilot program was very positive. Employers felt the students were properly prepared for the 6 week work experience,” says Ebony White of Business Council of Westchester, who worked to place the READI graduates. “We look forward to the program expanding and helping more READI graduates connect with employment.”

“It was a pleasure working with one of the READI program graduates. I saw him transform before my eyes. After becoming acclimated with being in an office for the first time, he really took to the experience and his confidence really came to the forefront. I believe the training followed by the connection to a job experience works as a great model for the youth to immediately implement what they have learned,” remembers Donvil Collins, Employer of a READI graduate, and President & CEO at VeeKast.

“As a Youth Advocacy Organization we would like to see more youth serving organizations throughout the county trained in READI, but the biggest challenge is training large groups of people. Volunteers from The READI Training Institute will play a vital role in getting this program to as many young people as possible.” Allison Lake, Deputy Director, Westchester Children’s Association.

Submit applications for consideration. Applicants will be screened and coordinated by the Westchester Putnam Workforce Development Board.

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