CLEVELAND — A new partnership between the Urban League of Greater Cleveland and Ohio Means Jobs Cleveland-Cuyahoga County is working to teach people the soft skills training they need to land and keep jobs, but they’re putting a digital twist on it.
They have launched a new pilot project called Enhancing Skills for Success (ESS). It's a free collaborative workforce program offering soft skills development and training via mobile phones with interactive videos and instruction.
Urban League of Greater Cleveland president and CEO Marsha Mockabee said the strategy came about to meet the needs of the community during the pandemic.
“One of the things that we saw was the opportunity to really create a presence that could be accessed by mobile phones because we know that not everybody has access to a computer, whether it be a laptop or anything like that,” said Mockabee.
The program incorporates interactive learning modules focused on emotional intelligence, communication, critical thinking, teamwork, time management, self-control and building positive relationships.
It also includes the Urban League’s signature soft skills training, Solid Opportunity for Advancement and Retention (SOAR).
“We're calling this version 2.0 because of the very virtual nature of it. We always taught this SOAR curriculum at the Urban League in person. And so our SOAR 2.0 is this virtual model,” said Mockabee.
Sandy Mills, a workforce development coach with the Urban League said soft skills are crucial in the job seeking process, but also after landing the job.
“It's extremely important because, again, people take it for granted. Just because you got the position doesn't mean you’re gonna keep the position,” said Sandy Mills, a workforce development coach at the Urban League of Greater Cleveland.
Chad Medley Jr., a student barber at Allstate Barber College in Cleveland, went through the Urban League's SOAR training. He said it has helped him in his day-to-day training and work at the barber school.
"You have to be able to work with people, talk to people, be courteous and kind to people, and it prepared me for everything that I was gonna be learning here," said Medley.
Employers like Cleveland Clinic and Lincoln Electric have partnered with the program to give participants industry immersion opportunities with the possibility of a job at the end.
“They have committed to being ready to interview those that complete and do everything that they need to do so that they will interview them for real opportunities,” said Mockabee.
Best of all—it's 100% free for participants.
“We just need them to invest their time and their focus and their willingness to go to the next level. And if they bring that to the table, we'll do the rest,” said Mockabee.
The Urban League of Greater Cleveland and Ohio Means Jobs Cleveland-Cuyahoga County are looking for 75 adults to participate in the program. For more information, contact ULGC Workforce at 216-392-1001 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jade Jarvis is a reporter at News 5 Cleveland. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
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