When you walk into Future Skills Carnegie Avenue offices, its hard to believe youre standing in a training facility. The main room is lined with computer workstations, desks, maps and a conference table.
Throughout the day, people plug away at their computers, rising occasionally for short strategy meetings with colleagues or for a quick glance at one of the maps. Then its back to the computers to rap on the keyboard.
If you didnt know better, you could easily assume Future Skills was in the business of problem-solving, though if you observe long enough, youll wonder exactly what business issues are being solved, and for whom.
Thats our goal, explains program director Van Bray. To provide our students with a unique classroom that duplicates an authentic work environment where students interact and solve problems as work colleagues.
While many other training programs focus on the basics, Future Skills is unique on several fronts. It was created in 1997 by Townsend Learning Centers, at the behest of the Veterans Administration, to help integrate mentally and physically disabled people either back into the work force or to aid their entrance for the first time, says Townsend owner Sarah Littlefield.
With the labor market the tightest its been in decades, business owners are scrambling to find qualified people to fill their office needs. Littlefields organization helps fill that gap.
We teach our students to think critically and independently, communicate effectively one-on-one and in groups and participate as team players, says Bray. While the program runs as long as the students need to complete it, the average time is about eight weeks. Graduates have been integrated into many businesses around Cleveland over the past two years.
Says Bray, We help them get a job, but more importantly, to keep it. How to reach: Future Skills: (216) 391-3719
By Dustin S. Klein