SF program helps at-risk young adults

June 19, 2009 3:14:40 PM PDT
Some at-risk young adults are better poised for success after graduating from a training program.

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Education is an industry that actually thrives during a recession and it is certainly thriving for graduates of the RAMP program.

RAMP instructor Anita Jackson has reason to celebrate. Several 18 to 24-year-olds she instructed just made it through a six-week job training program. Everyone one of them is considered at-risk; every one one of them has a job lined up.

Twenty-two-year-old D'Mario Cunningham was there with his wife Keisha and their 1-year-old son Adonis. He has a past that had him looking for a new start and a future that included a job. He says he learned a lot through RAMP, the program put together by Goodwill, and the San Francisco Conservation Corps.

"Life skills for one, professional skills for two, and for three, how to be more responsible as an employee," said Cunningham.

And instructors say they not only have the skills to hold a job, they have the skills to get a job.

"They leave with their resume, cover letter, thank you letter and mock interviewing skills, because in order for them to successfully complete the program, they all have to be interviewing. They have to come dressed professionally and actually pass the interview in order to complete it," said RAMP instructor Laura Burton.

At job-finding Manpower Inc. in San Francisco, branch manager Thomas Baity says he is seeing more and more people taking his company's 5,000 online courses.

"We have more people coming to us and saying they really want to switch careers or direction and education is going to help them doing that, because without any experience it's obviously difficult for them to completely change their career," said Baity.

And Cunningham isn't done changing careers, he already has his eyes on his next move.

"I have plans in August to start school to seek a certification as an electrician. My long-term goal is to get my B.A. as a computer technician and I'm working towards that as well," said Cunningham.

This is the first graduating class from the RAMP program.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

www.sfgoodwil.org
Or call RAMP instructor Lisa Burton at 415-575-2204

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