Bank of America grant funds new pre-apprenticeship edge program
$20,000 grant to enhance soft skills for job readiness
Clark College Foundation received a $20,000 grant from Bank of America to develop a pre-apprenticeship professional edge program aimed at enhancing soft skills as part of student education at Clark College so that they are job-ready.
Workplace research reports that large numbers of employees lack employability or soft skills to be successful and effective in a growing number of industries, businesses and corporations. The Association for Career and Technical Educations recommends that colleges become proactive in addressing employ-ability skills.
The Bank of America funds will assist Clark College Economic and Community Development and the Office of Instruction in designing a 40-hour curriculum—called the pre-apprenticeship professional edge program—focusing on workplace readiness soft skills by means of interactive exercises, classroom learning, individual coaching and employer presentations. Having solid soft skills provides a competitive advantage during interviews, can result in better performance reviews and positions an employee to receive opportunities for growth.
The learning objectives include, but are not limited to, enhancing interpersonal skills, work ethic, positive attitude, personal hygiene, problem solving, teamwork, communication, conflict resolution, professionalism, accountability and emotional intelligence.
Clark College will partner with regional employers, high schools and workforce development organizations to develop the curriculum. Students from disadvantaged backgrounds are at greatest risk for not having some of these intangible skills necessary to be successful at work.
“Nearly 73 percent of students at Clark are the first generation in their families to attend college,” said Lisa Gibert, president/CEO, Clark College Foundation. “We are grateful to Bank of America for their leadership in helping us break the cycle of intergenerational poverty through improved education.
“We recognize that education and jobs are interconnected, and play a critical role in advancing economic development in Vancouver. To that end, this funding specifically supports Clark College’s program to help students connect with employment success and provides the lift they need to succeed,” said David Reiter, senior vice president and U.S. Trust Private Client Manger. “Bank of America and Clark College Foundation have been strategic partners since 2011, connecting students with the skills and support to secure stable jobs and brighter financial futures, and we’re proud to continue giving back to our community’s next generation of leaders.”
The professional edge training will positively impact significant numbers of vulnerable Clark students of whom 54 percent are from families below the poverty level and 60 percent are unemployed and/or on public assistance. Many have not had workplace skills modeled by family members.
Clark has many highly regarded trade programs that teach a host of technical skills. Nearly 70 percent of Clark’s career and technical graduates are employed within six months of completion. The new training is expected to augment and complement students’ technical abilities, thereby enhancing their job success.
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