One of the many things I appreciate about The Women’s Foundation is how deliberately it works to bring people together–both donors and Grantee Partners–to build community. For example, as a member of the 1K Club, I’m occasionally invited to special events that showcase Grantee Partners and their outstanding work.
Last Thursday, I attended such an event: the graduation ceremony for the latest class of the Training Futures program. This group of 48 women and men had completed a 25-week office skills training program for underemployed and unemployed workers.
Their graduation was held at the Gannett headquarters in McLean. As students were called up to receive their diplomas, they were each complimented in a special way and challenged to move forward to continued success.
The pride in each of the graduates was palpable. Each graduate had been trained and given skills to become productive workers. They also developed ties to a nurturing community and support group that will be there for them when they need it.
This class represented more than 20 different nationalities and a variety of skill levels. We were told that the program creates an office simulation for trainees. Students are taught a full-range of current computer office programs, keyboarding, business English and math, filing, how to use a calculator, and customer service. They also are expected to dress professionally, arrive on time, complete office assignments, and interact professionally with their fellow classmates as well as their teachers.
In the process, Training Futures creates a community of support for their trainees who learn they are not alone, that others do care about them and want to see them succeed. They also work in internships and can earn up to 17 college credits from Northern Virginia Community College during their six months of training.
Obviously, this was a triumphant experience on many levels. Training Futures was able to show what they do and how effective they are (more than half of the 48 graduates have already found jobs and the others are interviewing), and thank the funders who continue to support them.
I look forward to celebrating the successes of other Grantee Partners in the years to come as The Women’s Foundation continues to both build and invest in our community.