Fairfield County Job and Family Services offers a unique program named S.T.A.R.S., which stands for Skills, Training, Attitude, and Readiness for Success. This program gives participants the opportunity to receive the skills needed to take charge of their lives in a variety of ways.

S.T.A.R.S. is facilitated by FCJFS success coaches over the course of three weeks. Getting Ahead in a Just-Gettin'-By World , by Phil Devol, is the focus of one module. During this module participants learn about the differences in social classes as well as looking at their life, as it is now. Further topics include poverty, prosperity, and community sustainability. The success coach, a certified facilitator, co-investigates these topics and guides them through the workbook. By the end of the program, they will understand the “hidden rules” and language of social classes, be more knowledgeable of the resources in our community and where to find them, and have SMART goals for their future story.

“Some are focused on stabilizing their situations and building resources while others are working on going back to school and building social networks,” said Laura Holton, FCJFS Chief Deputy Director of Community Services and Performance Initiatives. “Our program goes over a variety of topics, encompassing many behaviors found in successful adults.”

S.T.A.R.S. also reviews how to write resumes, cover letters and thank you letters. They go over the most effective ways of job searching and “The Dos and Don’ts” of interviewing. Participants get the chance to practice interviewing with the help of our Workforce Development Department through mock interviews. Other topics include financial literacy and higher education. S.T.A.R.S. invites guest speakers from the OSU Extension Office for the topics of nutrition and work/life balance to explain the purpose of maintaining your health and how to deal with stress. All S.T.A.R.S. participants will leave with a completed resume, cover letter, thank you letter, and references. 

By the end of the three weeks, participants who have successfully completed all the modules of both sessions will graduate with a S.T.A.R.S. certificate of completion and a Getting Ahead Graduation Certificate. A recent S.T.A.R.S. graduate shared “I really enjoyed S.T.A.R.S. I’ve learned a lot from the class. It helped me set goals for bettering my life. It also made me realize many people are in poverty, not just the poor. I think this program should be taught in schools to teach kids how to set goals and manage their money when they have bills. I was very happy with my teachers, they made things understandable for me. I’m very happy I got to be a part of this class and hope other people enjoyed it as much as I did.”