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Skills 2 Succeed Academy aims to help teens get ready for employment

'We are building dreams for tomorrow'

West High teens tour with lead chefs during a weekly field trip for Neighborhood Centers’ Learning Enrichment Asset Development (LEAD) program. NCJC has a long history of providing youth with opportunities in career exploration. (Photo: Special to The Gazette from NCJC)
West High teens tour with lead chefs during a weekly field trip for Neighborhood Centers’ Learning Enrichment Asset Development (LEAD) program. NCJC has a long history of providing youth with opportunities in career exploration. (Photo: Special to The Gazette from NCJC)

IOWA CITY — Goodwill of the Heartland and the Neighborhood Centers of Johnson County are teaming up to provide area teens a 10-week employment skills class.

The Skills 2 Succeed Academy will be open to a dozen west-side Iowa City residents ages 14 to 17. Beginning March 22, the West High School teens will begin a 10-week after school program aimed at developing employability skills and preparing youth for careers. Programming also includes field trips to local businesses and universities to explore possible career opportunities.

“Our goal is to serve more area youth by providing support that will lead to success in employment and life,” Amy Winslow, Iowa City Goodwill program director said in a news release. “We know that having some support and resources early on can help young people develop meaningful career goals and career paths. Accenture’s Skills 2 Succeed Academy fits nicely.”

Using a Goodwill Industries International grant awarded last fall, Goodwill-Iowa City partnered with the Neighborhood Centers of Johnson County due to the organization’s track record of empowering youth and families.

Chastity Dillard, development director and volunteer coordinator with the Neighborhood Centers of Johnson County, said officials are actively recruiting students from West High School.

Anthony Branch. Neighborhood Centers of Johnson County youth programs director, said in the release the goal is to help students learn to market themselves.

“We are not just helping kids seek jobs today,” Branch said. “We are building dreams for tomorrow. We want kids to identify the skills they need to be employable now, while building a network of support for their future career goals.”

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Branch said the program also is geared toward students who haven’t had much work experience to local employment.

“We want to give our kids basic job-seeking skills and understanding of the job market,” he said. “Job-seeking and job-retention skills are not innate ideals. We want to help kids to be successfully employed now and in the future.”

l Comments: (319) 339-3175; mitchell.schmidt@thegazette.com

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