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Training Program Helps Graduates Gain New Skills, Confidence and Employment



The most recent graduating class from Project Self-Sufficiency’s Higher Opportunities for Women (HOW) employment skills training program have gained far more than just marketable office skills.  Several graduates have already secured employment while others will be building on their progress by furthering their education.  All of the participants have gained confidence, a sense of professionalism and the support of a peer group as they continue on the road to self-sufficiency.  The sixteen-week HOW program combines intensive computer skills training with classroom instruction and off-site externships to prepare women who have been out of the work force or underemployed to seek entry-level office administrative positions.   The program is funded in part by a donation from the Huber Family, longtime supporters for Project Self-Sufficiency.  Computer training and classroom instruction takes place at the agency’s campus which is located at 127 Mill Street in Newton. 


“Project Self-Sufficiency’s Higher Opportunities for Women program is a pre-employment training program designed to help women who have been out of the workforce for a long period of time or those who may be entering the workforce for the first time,” explains Cora Chandler, Coordinator of the agency’s Higher Opportunities for Women (HOW) program.  “In addition to computer training, the curriculum gives women the professionalism and confidence to contribute to the workforce in a significant way.  We are happy to celebrate with our graduates.”

The free HOW program is offered in the spring and fall, with an abbreviated version, Summer Office Skills, taking place during July and August.  The program involves extensive computer training, along with classes in life skills and workplace etiquette.  Eligibility is based on a variety of factors, such as experience, education, income-level, family situation and other issues.  The program culminates with an externship at a local workplace.  Participants graduate with the skills they need to venture into the job market as an administrative assistant. 


Current program graduates include Wanda Bahamondi, Leah DelGuidice, Linda Kalt, Jennifer Lawson, Wendy Maziel, Cynthia Morales, Jeannie Morrison, Lynn Muller, Carol Palmer-Meister, and Dulce Reynes.  “Year after year, several of the participants who start the HOW program have already attained their goal of securing employment before the end of the sixteen week course.  This high rate of job placement is an example of a why the HOW program is so successful,” comments Chandler.


Each session, the Huber Achievement Award, named in honor of a Project Self-Sufficiency benefactor, is bestowed on a program participant in recognition of her outstanding progress throughout the program.  This session’s recipient is Jennifer Lawson who served her externship at Sussex County Community College.  “Jennifer has demonstrated professionalism and an increase in self-esteem during the HOW program,” commented Chandler.  “As a result of her successful externship at Sussex County Community College she has already been offered a job.”


“I feel more confident now.  It feels good to be accomplishing something which I haven’t done in quite a while,” remarked Lawson a college graduate who needed to upgrade her skills after being out of the workforce for a while.  “I would recommend this program because it helps build your self-confidence and it allows you to go out into the workforce and use the skills you learn here.”

The summer session of Project Self-Sufficiency’s training program, Summer Office Skills, launches on July 11th.  To enroll, or to find out more information about the program, call Project Self-Sufficiency at 973-940-3500 or 844-807-3500, or visit www.projectselfsufficiency.org.

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