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This article was originally published in the December 1, 2016 edition of the Elk Grove Citizen.

A program has been launched to help local businesses hire work-ready youth to their workforce. The Work-Ready program is a shared investment in the future between the Elk Grove Chamber of Commerce and the Elk Grove Unified School District.

This program was developed to not only help local businesses receive the best, most qualified workers – but to also give the youth the experience they’ll need as they step into the workforce and pursue their career goals.

“We wanted to fill a need for quality employees and recognize that business leaders play a key role in preparing the future local workforce,” said Sue Hubbard, district Career Technical Education program specialist. “We began discussions with several business partners throughout the Elk Grove Unified School District to begin identifying ways we could help one another. For students, learning is more engaging when we can make it relevant to real world applications and for employers, if our students are well-prepared, they can hire locally rather than recruiting from other areas. It was a natural win-win situation that developed into a collaborative effort. Within a year, we went from discussions to creating a pilot program that began at Monterey Trail High School in spring 2016.”

During the three-week program, students are guided through a series of topics that range from identifying their personality type to creating resumes and cover letter in 90-minute sessions that are taught by experts on the subjects.

Students learn how to understand ethics related to social media, how to dress and present themselves – and about financial literacy, customer service, creating a portfolio, how to interview and interviewing with business partners.

Businesses that agree to be partners in the program are given a Work-Ready sticker to display in their window to be seen by students who are in the program.

If the business is hiring for an entry-level position a student with a Work-Ready certificate will be guaranteed an interview.

Hubbard and representatives from the Chamber of Commerce noted that many students who have joined the program indicated that it helped them boost their confidence, expand their knowledge and build a resume and cover lever.

One student noted that she participated in the workshop because she wanted to take a step in becoming independent and responsible.

“This is a great opportunity for students to get their foot in the door,” Hubbard said.

At least 14 local businesses are participating in the Work-Ready program thus far.

Re/Max manager/broker assistant John Shook spoke positive words about the program, saying, “(the program) took the student out of the classroom and introduced them to the real world.”

Business program participant Cat Fithian, a librarian at the Franklin Public Library, said, “it was great to see young people who understood how the resume and interview process worked.”

For more information on how you can get involved with the Work-Ready Program, visi thttp://www.elkgroveca.com/work-ready-program.

Original article link: http://www.egcitizen.com/lifestyle/stepping-out-into-the-workforce/article_00ddd5d8-b805-11e6-8d89-2fda8bef9cd3.html