2018-10-11 / Business

Job readiness program prepares teens and adults for success

By Ben Gagnon
810-452-2661 • bgagnon@mihomepaper.com

FLINT TWP. — Job-hunting for the first time can be a challenge for many teens and young adults, especially when it comes to interviewing or handing in a resume.

Fortunately, there’s a local program available to help young people ages 16-21 obtain employment and prepare for the next stage in life: It’s called HYPE, which stands for Helping Young People Employment.

Operated by Faith Foundation Resources, a non-profit organization based in Flint and the Chicago area, HYPE is a professional training program that teaches the fundamentals of job-readiness and financial literacy. Students enter an eight week session that hones their skills in self-marketing, interviewing and resume-crafting.

“We teach them things like how to look at an interviewer, what to say during an interview and how to look up information on an employer,” said Angela Lots, founder and executive director of Faith Foundation Resources (FFR). “The students get to see what mistakes they made in the past and what they should do in the future.”

Students in the class learn several confidence-gaining techniques, such as putting together a 60-second “elevator” pitch; describing themselves in three adjectives; and critiquing each other through peer interview sessions.

Before they graduate, students are also led to set up a savings account at a financial institution.

“Many of our students are first-time bankers and savers,” Lots said. “We help them start a relationship with the bank, which will make it easier for them to borrow money and protect their credit.”

The course culminates with each participant being interviewed for a real job by a hiring manager, who represents a business that has partnered with FFR.

“We don’t ask employers to hire our students just because they came through the program,” Lots said. “If they like what they see after an interview, then they bring them on board.”

Lots said that HYPE has produced a 95 percent success rate for job placement and retention among her former students. HYPE graduates have successfully landed positions at Cracker Barrel, Sam’s Club, Kroger, Cato Fashions and many other service sector jobs.

“I get excited when a kid says ‘Your program was the only one to get me a job,’” Lots said. “It speaks to our vision of producing the next generation of productive citizens.”

In light of HYPE’s success rate, Lots decided to branch out this year and offer a job-training program to adults who’ve been out of the work force for an extended period of time. She said that the adult classes are similar to HYPE’s template, teaching the same techniques that have aided her younger students.

Apart from job training courses, FFR also offers a cultural based nutrition program, an HIV/AIDS Awareness/Prevention program and an anti-human trafficking program. Taken together, the initiatives point to the FFR motto, which is: “Bridging the Gaps in Life One Mind at a Time.”

To learn more about FFR and the HYPE program, visit faithfoundationresources.org or call 810-766-9335.

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