JOB SKILLS GRADUATION!
Job Skills Training is the name of a hands-on employment and skills building program at CWB, developed for underserved young adults ages 16-22. As a community outreach program, it is ultimately one of CWB’s best demonstrations of the old aphorism, “a rising tide lifts all boats.”
In 2011, CWB launched the Jobs Skills Program, and it has become a vital piece of our youth development mission. Young adults ranging in age from 16-22 spend 18 hours a week for six weeks on the CWB campus, learning everything from maintenance of our fleet of historic boats to on-the-water skills to running the front desk at the Boathouse.
The goal of the program is to provide opportunities for leadership, instill confidence and develop concrete skills and tools necessary for students to find and keep gainful employment. Our Jobs Skills Training students learn boating, boatbuilding, and career skills, on the water and in the boatshop as well as in the classroom. JST serves as a supportive introduction to the professional experience, working to dissolve barriers for kids who, by virtue of their backgrounds, often struggle to break through systemic roadblocks.
Students spend 6 weeks working with CWB’s staff and volunteers, learning to write resumes and cover letters, demystify job searches and develop interview skills and the ability to think on their feet. They also gain hands-on experience, this year building paddleboards for our fleet, and working as interns around CWB where they assisted at the front desk, in the livery, with youth field trips and sailing and woodworking camps, as well as volunteer management.
Vital life skills like financial literacy are also part of the curriculum, including opening their first bank accounts and learning the differences between credit unions and institutional banking.
The program is enriching not only for the students but the CWB community at large. These dynamic kids become part of our team, and in fact are referred to affectionately as cohorts throughout their time at the center. They wear name badges just like everyone else on the team, and are brought into the CWB family as fully vested members from day one.
Students this year created friendships within the class and with CWB staff that will very probably extend beyond the program. They also brought a cultural diversity to the CWB daily experience, and provided us all with better insights into the opportunities and responsibility we all have to help one another realize our potential as fellow citizens of our larger community.
Graduation day was a joyful culmination of the work and achievements of this year’s students, considered to be the most successful year of this program. The participants agreed that the experience had made positive contributions to their lives and gave them many resources necessary to pursue careers in a variety of fields, including the maritime industry.
Students and staff and volunteers look forward to a continued alliance with this years class, as many of the students expressed an intention to come back themselves as volunteers. We are all richer for that alliance, and the boats at CWB do seem perceptively higher on their moorings for it.
We hasten a big shout-out to Pygmy Boats and South Lake Union Rotary for their donations of paddleboard kits, and to the JST lunch sponsors PCC, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, QFC, Safeway and TNT Burritos. Without our sponsors, it would be difficult to carry out this incredibly valuable program.