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Human Resources Development Program (HRD)—Job Search students participated in a graduation ceremony Feb. 6 at Enfield Municipal Building. The program is a collaborative effort between Halifax Community College, Choanoke Area Development Association of NC, Inc. (CADA), JobLink, and Enfield Share Link to educate and train individuals for success in the workplace.

Guest speakers included Senator Ed Jones, Representative Angela Bryant, HCC President Dr. Ervin V. Griffin, Sr. and Enfield Mayor Warnie Bishop. They congratulated and encouraged the graduates, sharing knowledge about resources, staying focused on goals, first impressions of potential employers and building relationships.

Graduates included Gwendolyn Bullock, Cheryl Easter, Louetta Gorham, Beonca Hudson, Daisy Jones, Kim Lee, Leroy McDaniel, Marie Nicholson, Judi Nolan, Quintray Pittman, Ernest Powell, Ray Silver, Annette Washington, James Williams, and Stephanie Wilkerson. The instructor for the Job Search sessions was Dr. Michael R. Alston.

Stephanie Wilkerson is one student who has been helped by the program. “It can be hard to go out and get housing and day care on your own,” she said. “These program resources are there for everyone and I encourage those who need them to use them. There a lot of opportunities that, on our own, we would have never gotten.”

Ten weeks ago, Wilkerson was getting ready to start the class. Her housing was through Faith House, a transitional program for displaced women and women with children. She was home all day with her two children and was looking for employment and a place to enroll her kids during the day. “It was just like everything was standing in my way of being successful.” Within 10 days of taking the HRD class, her children are enrolled in school, she plans to enroll at HCC in the phlebotomy program, and she will begin work at JobLink soon.

Other graduates appreciate the opportunity to assess their strengths and to fulfill life-long dreams. “I am thankful for the program,” said Leroy McDaniel. “It gives me a chance to get out and work and better myself. I'm getting experience and moving on to better things.” McDaniel is involved with the work experience part of the program at White Oak Elementary School in Enfield.

Job Search classes are offered in interviewing skills, resume/application preparation, job search assistance, computer skills, soft skills, motivation and more. Employers attend classes to conduct one-on-one interviews. The program stresses self-sufficiency by gaining work experience that will lead to full-time employment. Classes are 30 hours long. After completion of Job Search sessions, graduates enter a work experience session, then on-the-job training. Some may go into direct employment or enroll at HCC to improve their skills as well.

“The key is to mainstream these people into the workforce,” said CADA Project Coordinator/Case Manager Larry Alston. The program currently has a 97% job placement rate.

Each agency parts a big part in the success of the program. JobLink personnel conduct assessments of clients and HCC provides instructors. Referrals are made to CADA case managers who assist students with child care, housing, transportation and a variety of other challenges to success. On-the-job training is provided by private and business partners.

For more information about HRD—Job Search, contact Frince Williams at (252) 538-4312, Rose Motley at (252) 538-4309 or JobLink at (252) 445-3819.