|Pictured: Seated are Career First participants, Standing l to r: Dr. B.J. Lowe, Assistant Director,Career First, Carlos Santos-Martinez and Karen Gaby, Douglas-Cherokee Economic Authority
A new program wants to make the transition to work easier for young adults. CareerFirst provides individuals ages 16-24 with the tools needed to start out in the work world.
The new program, which serves individuals who are not enrolled in school, aims to give young people more than just a minimum wage job. "We want to help students in choosing a career path that offers a chance for growth and then help them get started on that path," said Dr. B.J. Lowe, Assistant Director, CareerFirst.
Someone who wants to be a nurse may job shadow a nurse and then qualify for CNA or LPN training. Someone who wants to own a garage may get work experience with a mechanic and then complete related training.
The program also provides occupational training, assistance in earning a high school equivalency diploma or postsecondary certificate, leadership training, support services, mentoring, comprehensive guidance and counseling and financial literacy training. Participants will also learn what industries and jobs are in-demand in this area and have the opportunity to learn entrepreneurship basics. "Every aspect of this program is important, but the work experience may be the most important. This gives young adults confidence and the chance to learn more about what is expected in the world of work," said Lowe.
Many who enroll in CareerFirst will also have the chance to add work experience to their resumes. The program provides paid and unpaid work experience.
CareerFirst is funded by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act through Walters State Community College's Center for Workforce Development. Douglas-Cherokee Economic Authority and the Hawkins County Industrial Board will be providing the actual services.