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Training Program Helps Graduates Gain New Skills, Confidence and Employment



The women in 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 and assistance with resume development and interview skills 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 Aimee Hernandez, Sarah Hooshmond, Linda Kernusz, Greta Sappah, Rena Ursetti, Dusty Wilson and Susan Zeman.  “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 just one example of a why the HOW program is so successful,” comments Chandler.


Each session, the Huber Achievement Award, named in honor of Project Self-Sufficiency benefactor B.W. Huber, is bestowed on a program participant in recognition of her outstanding progress throughout the program.  This session’s recipient is Sarah Hooshmand who served her externship at Sussex County Community College.  “Sarah succeeded in achieving her goals of increasing her confidence in the workplace and trying new tasks,” commented Chandler.  “Sarah is now better prepared to enter the workforce.”

The next session of the HOW program launches on February 13th.  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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