Exploring Possibilities at Savannah Tech

June 29th, 2018 by

By: Edward Gresham, CAP Coordinator

In my role as Chatham Apprentice Program (CAP) coordinator, my job is to look for ways for participants to be exposed to resources and high wage earning career paths. When considering opportunities, I recalled attending school at Savannah Tech and learning about the many possibilities offered there. In fact, that experience led me to start my own company in the construction field. This was something that I believed would be of value to the CAP class.

CAP has always had a strong relationship with Savannah Technical College, partnering for forklift safety training and other hard skills training as well as ensuring that participants are able to enroll easily in educational opportunities. However, we noticed that many were still limited on exactly how many doors the college could open for them. So we scheduled a tour of Savannah Technical College to open our participant’s eyes to the resources and career paths available there.

The visit to Savannah Tech began with an orientation where participants received valuable information about admissions, readmissions, financial aid, transferring credits, and other administrative processes. They also provided a brief overview of the programs offered at the college.

Following the orientation, we toured the campus. Our participants had the opportunity to visit the paramedic facility – complete with an ambulance and everything you need to become a certified paramedic.  We ventured into the dental hygienist facility where we learned about the history of the program and viewed the clinical space where students perform dental work at a reduced cost to the community.

We toured the industrial technology facility where participants gained knowledge about the various HVAC, electrical, carpentry, construction, drafting, and solar programs the college provides.  Lastly, we made our way to the paint and auto body repair facility where class participants gained knowledge about the industry and the state of the art tools the program has to keep its students at the cutting edge of their field.

It was an amazing experience to watch the lightbulbs go off in the minds of our participants after being exposed to new possibilities for employment, lifelong careers, and business opportunities.  At CAP, we recognize that these are the types of experiences that our greater community needs to better help our citizens realize their full potential using the resources available to them.

Client Success Story – Donald Gates

November 27th, 2017 by

Donald Gates struggled to find a job because of his criminal background. As a husband and father, the weight of providing for his family grew heavier by the day. When he heard that the Chatham Apprentice Program was offering their E3 (Education, Empower, Employ) class coupled with a forklift safety certification, he jumped at the chance to participate. Donald thought a certification would make him more appealing to employers, so he filled out an application and attended the first class of 2016.

At CAP, Donald learned new skills such as resume writing and interview techniques. He found the record restriction portion of the class, provided by Georgia Legal Services Program, to be especially beneficial. Now he better understands his criminal record and can confidently explain his past to potential employers.

“And confidence,” says Donald, “is the best thing I gained from the program. Honestly, before CAP I struggled to present myself as a responsible and respectable person. Now I feel proud of who I am.”

After graduation, Donald secured a job at a local warehouse at $10.00 an hour. However, he felt he could do more. So he started his own business, Gates Lawn Care. It wasn’t long before he could focus on his business full-time and Donald credits this success to CAP.

“With the help of CAP, I became aware of how a potential employer sees me. I learned how to answer questions and approach people with confidence.  Now I use those skills when I’m handing out my business cards or flyers. I can knock on a door and sell myself.”

Today, Donald proudly says, “I feel like I’m setting a good example for my kids. Now they see that I’m able to make my own way and that I will turn around and give others the opportunities that I didn’t have.”

And when he is ready to hire more employees, he knows the first place he will look – the Chatham Apprentice Program.

Learn more about the Chatham Apprentice Program at www.capsavannah.org.

 

 

Client Story – Keya Jest

November 17th, 2017 by

“Forget it, this is never going to work, I’m a convicted felon and nobody wants me!” 

This feeling of hopelessness haunted Keya Jest for years.  Substance abuse and addiction resulted in an extensive criminal background.  For many, this would have been the end of the road, but Keya overcame her addiction, and she looked forward to a new beginning. Regardless of being substance-free for two years, Keya’s criminal background was a barrier to finding a good paying job. Keya’s outgoing and sunny disposition helped get her many job offers, but once the employer completed a background check the offers were rescinded.

In 2016, she learned about Step Up’s Chatham Apprentice Program (CAP). At the time, she was working two part-time, low-paying hospitality jobs and barely making ends meet while pursuing a degree in business management at Savannah Tech. Despite her busy life, she made the time to attend the CAP classes, and now says it was one of the best decisions that she ever made.

CAP’s curriculum includes soft skill training, mock interviews, financial education, and legal assistance.  The mock interviews introduced Keya to the details that make a big difference when meeting a potential employer, such as poise and professionalism.

“During class, I was tired of doing all the interviews but once I walked into a real job interview, I was so thankful for the practice,” says Keya. “I carried myself with confidence.”

Keya also learned vital financial skills such as building credit, saving for the future, and choosing a bank account from the financial education provided by Consumer Credit Counseling Services. Keya started to dream again, envisioning a wedding and owning a home. But for Keya, meeting Nancy DeVetter of the Georgia Legal Services Program in CAP was a game changer. Nancy worked with Keya to identify eligible records on her background check that could be restricted from public view and explained how Keya could communicate these records with potential employers.

When Keya next applied for a higher wage job it was a different story. Keya explained her history to the employer and provided a character reference from CAP staff.  The employer decided to act outside of their regular course of action and brought Keya onboard.

Keya’s new normal includes being substance-free for three years, a good paying job with benefits that she loves, and being able to take care of her rescue dogs.  Step Up introduced Keya to a pathway to prosperity and she has never looked back.

On October 12, Keya hosted Step Up Savannah’s 12th Annual Meeting. She was spectacular! We are so proud to have her as both a CAP graduate and friend.

Do you want to see more people find their pathways to prosperity? Step Up needs your help to continue this important work. Please take a moment to donate today. 

 

 

Celebrating CAP Graduate, Joyce Moore

October 21st, 2015 by

joyceJOYCE MOORE, known as “Mama Joyce” by her fellow CAP participants, has a nurturing spirit and warm smile that makes everyone she engages with feel accepted instantly.The spirit that encouraged her fellow CAP participants was developed nearly 40 years before as she raised five children in Savannah’s Yamacraw Village. Even as a young mother, Joyce was committed to education, earning an associate’s degree in Child Growth and Development, then pursuing a career working with children.

As her children grew and started families, she continued to work in childcare and further pursued her education. She had to stop, however, to care for her mother who was suffering from Alzheimer’s. After her mother’s death, Joyce moved into her son and daughter-in-law’s home in Savannah. She reached out to the unemployment office but was discouraged by the limited help they could provide.

Her long-time friend, Trudy Jones of United Way 2-1-1, told her about CAP. CAP not only helped Joyce find employment, but also helped her see herself in new way. She relays her story about a class exercise where students are asked to stand before a full-length mirror and prompted to try to see themselves as an outsider would. She said this was eye-opening as she had never stopped to consider who she was or how people viewed her. What she saw reflected in the mirror was the image of a beautiful and strong woman. She says she realized, “I may not be where I want to be, but I am not where I was. And that means a lot.”

As a CAP graduate, Joyce is following her passion again now working at Wesley’s Lady Bamford Early Learning Center. She hopes to move out of her son’s house by the end of the year and find a place of her own. She dreams of one day owning a home where her grandchildren (all 39 of them!) can visit and be encouraged and nurtured by Mama Joyce.

About our Chatham Apprentice Program

The Chatham Apprentice Program (CAP) is a workforce training program that teaches employability skills, individualized coaching, and employment placement for low income individuals facing multiple work barriers. CAP is a collaboration among Chatham County, Step Up Savannah, and community-based organizations; it is funded by Chatham County and United Way of the Coastal Empire. The most recent CAP classes are part of a newly designed program called “E3” for Educate, Empower, Employ. E3 works through partnering with community organizations and area employers, such as DIRTT, whose employees volunteer to conduct mock interviews with CAP participants.

Do you want to make a difference in your community? We can help you. Fill out our Commit to Action form here and together we will create opportunity in Savannah.

Images courtesy of Blake Crosby Photography.

Celebrating CAP Graduate, Malcolm Chaplin

October 9th, 2015 by

malcolm picMalcolm Chaplin is a Savannah native and graduate of Johnson High School. He completed CNA classes and received a culinary arts certificate at America’s Second Harvest of Coastal Georgia. He has worked  as a dishwasher or line cook for local restaurants but as their profits fluctuated seasonally, so did his hours. It became increasingly tough to find a position that paid more than $8 an hour and a consistent full-time schedule.

Before enrolling in the Chatham Apprentice Program, he was laid off as a dishwasher and banquet server from a fine dining restaurant. Over the next year he worked sporadically as a painter while searching for another job in the hospitality industry.

In the fall of 2014, Malcom saw a CAP flyer at the West Broad Street YMCA and applied. He gained confidence as he learned and practiced critical skills that prepared him to interview successfully for higher paying jobs. He said He appreciated applying his new skills in mock interviews and receiving immediate feedback. He also benefited from financial counseling offered through CAP. He was able to pull his credit score and subsequently take control of his debt. As a result his credit has improved significantly.

After graduation, CAP staff stayed in close touch informing Malcolm regularly about opportunities and encouraging him to apply. Within three months, he found a full-time position with Café Bon Appetit at SCAD. After only seven months on the job, he was promoted to lead supervisor of receiving and prep, earning $10 an hour plus full benefits. At his prompting not long after, his sister followed in his footsteps and graduated from CAP. She too is now employed by Café Bon Appetit.