By Catharin Shepard • Staff writer • Young people ages 16-24 in Hoke County who are low-income and aren’t currently in school may qualify for free career-building services through the NCWorks Career Center in Raeford.
The center is trying to get the word out about the opportunities and services available for qualifying young people who need help getting started in a career.
Laurice Milsap, career advisor and case manager with the NCWorks Career Center offered some insight into what the program has to offer.
“There is a program there for out of school youth, where we offer services for young people ages 16 to 24 who are interested in obtaining occupational skills,” she said. “Meaning that you would like to become certified as a pharmacy technician, certified nurse’s assistant, you can obtain a CDL license and there are other opportunities that we offer as well.”
The services provided through the program include everything from comprehensive guidance and counseling to occupational skills training, leadership development opportunities and financial literacy education. Adult mentoring, entrepreneurial skills training and work-based learning are also options for youth who need a helping hand getting started in the workforce.
“The primary goal is getting a young person acclimated to the workforce, and getting them the skills they need to be successful in doing that. That’s anything from work etiquette, public speaking, how you communicate on the job, things that are appropriate and inappropriate to wear to work, different things like that,” Milsap said.
Getting a placement on a job site, either through a paid or unpaid internship is one option to help young workers build their experience. On-the-job training is another option, depending on the person’s skills.
“If you finish your certification or you come in with skills already and we do a skills gap analysis and determine that you’re able to go to an on-the-job training where it’s more long-term placement, which potentially turns into a full-time placement where you obtain full-time employment – that is what we also offer,” Milsap explained.
There is also support available, on a case-by-case basis, for people who are already in degree programs and may need a boost to complete their education.
Milsap hopes that getting the word out that such career support exists in Raeford for local youth could help older teens and young adults take advantage of the opportunities. Participants don’t have to pay anything for the services, as the center is funded with federal dollars.
“This is a service that is out here that you can utilize. Right now we have a lot of young people who might be looking for jobs. We have some work sites that we’re working with that are willing to take our young people and place them with them,” Milsap said. “You get a certain amount of hours. Once you’ve exhausted those hours, then there’s other processes we can take to try and help you get employment. But the main goal is, if you obtain that occupational skill, you’re putting yourself in a position to be employable long-term, versus short-term.”
There are other requirements for a young person to participate in the program. To inquire about the program or to see if you qualify, contact the NCWorks Career Center at (910) 374-7841 or (910) 683-3064.
The NCWorks Career Center is also planning an upcoming career expo to help connect people with job opportunities. The expo is set for Thursday, August 5 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at the center, located at 304 Birch Street in Raeford.