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Infusing Work Readiness into Literacy Education

Detroit, Michigan – It has been one year since the Department of Labor and the Department of Education’s Workforce Investment and Opportunity Act (WIOA) went into effect. As a recipient of WIOA funding, Dominican Literacy Center (DLC) was one of over 100 agencies in the State of Michigan that needed to make accommodations in the programming, integrating work readiness and career pathways into the curriculum. 

A seminar participant takes a look at information from the Detroit Department of Transportation.

Clearly, this federal initiative fits well with DLC’s mission. By helping adult learners develop the skills to complete their GED, get a job, or prepare them for college/job training, we are giving our students the tools to build a better life for themselves and their families. Ultimately, this makes for a higher quality of life for the community.  

The process of transforming our programming has made for a very exciting year. DLC now has two online software programs, both having a career pathway module that gives background information on positions such as the health industry, construction, culinary arts, bookkeeping, child care, engineering and many more. DLC was able to add an online instructor who also helps with guiding learners to the next step of their career path. 

Author Tenesha Cherry presents the keynote address.

In May, DLC, along with many community partners, offered our first Work Readiness Symposium, “Live Your Best Life.” The keynote speaker was the very dynamic Tenesha Cherry, author of I was Born to Lose and Chose to Win. She set the tone for our symposium, stressing the importance of having a positive, accountable attitude.  Breakout sessions after the keynote presentation included Resume Development, Interviewing Skills, Myers Briggs Personality Evaluation, and Career Aptitude.  

During lunch, a group of DLC participants modeled appropriate and inappropriate career wear. Emphasized was the fact that the apparel was purchased for $10 per person from a resale outlet.  

The afternoon ended with the community partner resource tables. This group included Focus Hope and job training, the Social Security Office, the Detroit Department of Transportation, Anderson Legal Services, EITC Electrical Apprenticeship, the Department of Health Services; and Service to Enhance Potential (STEP), which supports employment opportunities for disabled individuals. Janeé L. Ayers, City Council member at large, provided information for citizens re-entering the community. 

The day provided much good information, as well as fun. It is our hope to offer a similar symposium quarterly during the upcoming academic year.

Leah, a volunteer with the Dominican Literacy Center, supervises a test.


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