Welcome to Richland Community College’s EnRich Program
Addressing the Community’s Critical Issue
The critical issue is not only unemployment, but the perception of what educational institutions are designed to do and populations they have historically served. While there is a lot of discussion about partnerships and serving the community, there are a limited number of programs at the college-level designed to meet the needs of a population who may be perceived as the less-desirable, who need additional skills in addition to basic reading and math. The critical issue is empowering people.
EnRich is building a bridge from the employer (who had vacant and higher-paying jobs) between the unemployed (who may have had a criminal record, limited education, or a host of other barriers and was unemployable or under employed). In response to overwhelming need by the region’s Manufacturing industry and working to keep pace with the rapidly changing economy by building a skilled workforce, Richland expanded its training services to include the EnRich training program in fall 2018.
In July of 2018, Richland received workforce training funding to address both skills gaps and employability skills. Training includes technical and Essential Skills training to under and unemployed and second chance adults with multiple barriers to employment, allowing them to earn a living wage. The EnRich program, an intense 10-week, 400-hour training includes both Technical Skills and Essential Skills training, utilizes a point system for continued participation and provides a $10 an hour stipend for participants.
Richland Community College has built a successful and sustainable program, EnRich. Training includes Technical Skills Training coupled with Essential Skills Training to the under and unemployed and second chance adults with multiple barriers to employment, allowing them to earn a living wage. This program has focused efforts on Minority and Underserved populations, including unemployed, underemployed and difficult to serve populations including recently incarcerated and/or convicted individuals.
Areas of Training
- Paraprofessional Training: Education
- Transportation: CDL
- Industrial Job Skills
- Minority Mentor Protégé Program: Entrepreneurship
Essential Skills Training
Essential Skills Training is the core of EnRich. All programming incorporated into EnRich are required to participate in Essential Skills Training. Essential Skills is an amalgamation of life skills, job readiness, and a trauma-sensitive practice termed Motivational Interviewing. Through multiple restoring and resilient methods, Richland contests both adverse and positive experiences of trauma that participants have suffered from and it teaches the important skills that are needed for optimal success in work, learning, and life. Essential Skills teach one to articulate their concerns and desires but restores the confidence and balance of being themselves. It helps people properly prepare for employment opportunities, communicate effectively during job interviews, how to dress for success, and grow and successfully develop in diverse environments. All facilitators have been training and certified in Trauma Informed Practices and each session provided for participants incorporates the key components of essential employment skills, but it is framed from the four directions that portray universal human needs for belonging, mastery, independence, and generosity. We find these dimensions within the Circle of Courage.
This unique model integrates the cultural wisdom of tribal peoples, the practice wisdom of professional pioneers with late bloomers, troubled youth, and findings of modern youth development research. These are the foundations for psychological resilience and positive human development which is essential for promising young adults and the formally incarcerated. Adolescence is a socially constructed concept. In pre-industrial society, children were considered adults when they reached physical maturity, but today we have an extended time between childhood and adulthood called adolescence. Adolescence is the period of development that begins at puberty and ends at emerging adulthood, or into the mid- to late 20s. In the United States, adolescence is seen as a time to develop independence from parents while remaining connected to them. The typical age range of adolescence is from 12 to 18 years, and this stage of development also has some predictable physical, cognitive, and psychosocial milestones. We use the Circle of Courage to challenge the brain because the adolescent brain remains under development when it hasn’t been confronted with essential adult responsibility.
EnRich provides sessions that address the following topics:
- Effective communication skills
- Conflict resolution
- Work ethic
- Financial literacy and integrity
Richland Community College’s Essential Skills Training presents participants with a more holistic view of the tools necessary to be given a chance to be open to receive the idea that the transition from unemployment and possibility incarceration into a community of people and organizations that will create the opportunity to change their life. To date, our goal has been to change lives by meeting what we come to know their needs to be.
- In Decatur Macon County, the unemployment rate for African Americans has been around 22%, three times that of white residents.
- EnRich completers are 64% minority, with 57% classified as African American, 79% male and 43% African American Male.
- 89% of EnRich participants who completed the program were hired by major local employers. Of those, 80% remain employed.
- According to a survey of local major employers, the following are the top five soft skills lacking and needed for new employees: Dependability, Teamwork, Verbal Communication, Integrity, and Initiative.