The Socorro Independent School District, in partnership with Workforce Solutions Borderplex, is offering young adults the opportunity to improve their basic learning and job skills through the Community Education Department’s Youth Job Skills Program.
“I believe that these students want to be successful and are motivated,” said Community Education assistant director Isabel Justo. “We have the tools, people and resources to form a partnership with them and help them realize their goals. It is not impossible. We can get them a job, a career, basically their future.”
The program is designed to help adult students ages 17 to 24, who are facing multiple educational challenges such as parenting or who’ve dropped out of high school, the opportunity to earn training, certifications and job skills to enter the workforce.
The Community Education department offers three academies to help adult students. The Youth Job Skills Program is part of the work-bound academy, which offers the opportunity for students to take English as a Second Language, citizenship and family literacy classes, or earn vocational certifications, such as heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC).
The SISD Community Education Youth Job Skills Program celebrated its first graduating class in May 2020. Chase Lankford, who joined the program to earn his GED, was one of five graduates.
He said it was the first educational program to provide him exceptional support after he struggled with other programs that refused him because he did not meet their criteria. The program helped him to find ways to work around challenges, which inspired him not to give up, he said.
“This program at SISD is an amazing thing that more people should know about,” Lankford said. “I’d like to offer everyone in the Community Education Department a very heartfelt thank you in helping me improve my life.”
He is now attending Western Technical College to study welding. Lankford said he was motivated by his experience with Youth Job Skills to continue his education to earn a bachelor’s degree and then move onto the Air Force or Navy.
The Youth Job Skills program is currently open to help more students improve their future opportunities. With COVID-19 safety measures in place, classes are being taught remotely and SISD is working to supply all Community Education students with laptops and hotspot devices.
“Since this pandemic started, we’ve moved forward and we have found a solution to any challenge that we’ve come across,” Justo said. “Our objective is to remove barriers.”
Justo encourages any young adult who is hard working and looking to better their life to join the Youth Job Skills Program.
“We have amazing teachers who just don’t quit and who keep us on our toes, so it is definitely a group effort,” Justo said. “There are a lot of people who want to help and believe in our youth and we want to continue to be a part of that.”
For more about SISD Community Education and Youth Job Skills Program, click here.