Boca Helping Hands hosts one-day Job Readiness Workshop

Saturday marked another step in Boca Helping Hands’ ongoing quest to support and empower our clients in new ways. Job Readiness is an intensive week-long seminar typically reserved for Phase I of our Job Training Program. Covering a variety of topics, it’s designed to better prepare students for not only Phase 2, but also for the working world that awaits them upon graduation. It’s a key pillar of the program, and one that students find both beneficial and empowering.

In an effort to expand the reach and impact of Boca Helping Hands, Director of Programs Trina Chin Cheong organized a free one-day Job Readiness Workshop, held on May 18. Although targeted toward newly employed individuals or those seeking employment, the event was open to anyone interested in attending.

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“The population that we serve does not have many opportunities to experience the content that was included in the workshop,” Trina said. “We tend to sometimes overlook that it’s not necessarily that people don’t have the interest in these life lessons, but rather that they don’t have the opportunity to experience them.”

Participation from clients registered in our Pantry Bag Program (including our Boynton Beach Satellite), ESOL and Computer classes, and Job Mentoring Program demonstrated both a need for and interest in expanding access to training of this caliber. In addition, BHH connected with Community Partner Place of Hope and welcomed two of their residents to the workshop. Whereas Job Training Program students must undergo a screening process to qualify, those who wished to attend Saturday’s workshop needed only to sign up, show up and be open to learning.

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The first part of the day revolved around three tracks with three instructors covering a variety of themes. Social Media: Resource of Liability explored how one’s online presence serves as a resource for everything from community building, branding and connecting to advocating and raising awareness. Personality and Culture helped participants identify their personality type and discover what types of work and home environments best suit their specific type. Communication empowered attendees to not only explore ways to build effective communication but also to better understand the steps for an effective conversation.

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From there, attendees segued into the key session for the day, Emotional Intelligence. Delving into self-awareness, attendees were prompted to reflect on how one’s feelings, thoughts, attitudes and behaviors can either affect of infect the environment around them.

According to Signature Presenters Instructor Leah Toussaint:

Emotional intelligence is the foundation for interpersonal relationships. We are always going to be interacting with others, whether it’s work, home, family, or on the road. Emotional intelligence focuses on social skills like communication, like teamwork and collaboration, but it starts with self-awareness. I wanted people to think largely about how they are affecting their space. Making sure they are aware that there are some attitudes, some beliefs, some values, some feelings that are interrupting their ability to be their best self. Negativity, pessimism, whatever those things are, we give them an opportunity to look through it.

The afternoon breakout sessions covered both Work-Life Balance and Conflict: The Work to Avoid or Engage the Inevitable Nuisance; topics that students remarked gave them both a moment of reflection as well as resources to deal with difficult situations.

A session with two local business owners capped off the day. Both guests provided insight on their experiences as entrepreneurs and opened the floor for questions from workshop attendees.

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“There were a lot of ah-ha moments I experienced first-hand by observing the reactions to the presentation,” Trina added. “They can now build on that; the solid foundation is what’s going to lead to success. Every person that walked out of here, all 24,  walked out of here inspired by what they had learned and encouraged by their experience that day…it was a powerful day.”

When the Workshop finally wrapped, many attendees stuck around to ask more questions and discuss the impact of the day -- and even tried to sign up for the next workshop. With plans to host another one-day workshop in the future, Trina hopes that the word of mouth from those who attended will help make the next one even bigger!