When Yolandi Cruz Guerrero was hired recently to join Triangle’s Workforce Development team, she had no idea that she’d get to take part in a first-ever collaboration between Triangle teams. Working in partnership with Triangle’s Director of Transition and Community Service Brittany Mendez, Yolandi taught Pre-Employment Training Services (Pre-ETS) classes to people enrolled in Triangle’s day programming via Zoom. This is the first time we’ve offered this series of courses to our day program participants and we were excited for the opportunity to offer this new and valuable training, including Work Readiness Training and Job Exploration Counseling lessons.
The trainings were conducted over Zoom, and consisted of four one-hour trainings a week, for a total of 16 classes. During Work Readiness Training, participants learned about and practiced valuable soft skills important to getting and maintaining jobs. The training covered soft skills such as communication (including the 3 Vs: visual, verbal, and vocal communication), making first impressions, professionalism, and interviewing. In Job Exploration Counseling, program participants learned more about themselves. This training series helps participants to determine potential jobs/careers and make plans for them, based on individual interests, skillsets, values, preferred environment, and experience, while considering qualifications and the labor market.
The program participants learned how their lifestyles and experiences have equipped them with employable skills. At one particular training, the team discussed how joy can be a skill to bring into the workplace. In Yolandi’s words, “This reframing of joy was crucial for these participants, to comprehend that there is an emotional compass that can help you navigate the professional worlds you would like to enter.”
For members of the Workforce Development team who had worked with these participants in the past, it was great to spend time with them again. They were able to witness how they have grown over the years and how they are putting their training to use in the working world. They could see that program participants prioritize employment and independence on a daily basis. The trainings aligned well with the goals of the program. The students were active participants on Zoom, despite the training running from 3-4:00pm each day. Triangle’s programs will continue to find ways to collaborate in the future, and hopefully produce even more excellent results.