Pittsburgh, PAToday's job market is tough. In fact,
according to the Labor Department, job openings in U.S. workplaces
fell to three million in April 2011, and the number of unemployed
people is about 13.8 million. This means that there were more than
four potential jobseekers for each opening.
how do jobseekers go about increasing their chances of landing a
job in today's highly competitive job market? One way is for jobseekers
to build their skill-set to include those skills that employers
need and want. Another way is to acquire the skills being sought
by employers in industries that are experiencing growth.
Wright, technology coordinator for the Bedford Hope VI Neighborhood
Networks Center, is doing everything he can to help residents compete
in today's job market. Wright has thoughtfully developed a training
curriculum for the Bedford Hope IV Neighborhood Networks Center
that enables residents to qualify and apply for a greater number
Residents to Where the Jobs Are
Bedford Hope VI Neighborhood Networks Center is part of the Housing
Authority of the City of Pittsburgh's Bedford Dwellings, which is
home to approximately 1,000 residents. The center includes a 15-computer
adult technology lab, as well as a six-computer youth technology
lab, both of which are open each weekday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The
Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh also operates two Neighborhood
Networks centers located at the senior-living community of Caliguiri
Plaza. These centers are each equipped with four computers and offer
a variety of computer skills classes.
is at the Bedford Hope VI Neighborhood Networks Center that Wright
partners with local organizations to offer residents training that
will help them compete in today's job market. One such partner is
the Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC).
"We partner with CCAC to offer three training programs," said Wright.
"One program prepares residents to pursue green jobs. The green
movement is generating a variety of jobs, such as installing energy-efficient
equipment and solar panels. We wanted to provide training that allows
residents to take advantage of these employment opportunities that
are more plentiful."
Bedford Hope VI Neighborhood Networks Center also works with CCAC
to prepare residents to enter CCAC's weatherization program. "CCAC's
weatherization program teaches individuals how to make homes more
energy efficient," said Wright. "It's another industry that's seeing
growth as more and more people are looking for ways to save energy
and money. However, before some of our residents can apply for and
enter CCAC's program, they must first get some remedial training.
They might need to brush up on their math skills or get their GED
[General Educational Development]. We work with CCAC to make sure
our residents are ready to apply and succeed in CCAC's weatherization
program that is offered at the college."
final program for which the Bedford Hope VI Neighborhood Networks
Center teams with CCAC takes advantage of the growing job opportunities
in the health field. "We work with CCAC to train our residents to
be home health aides," said Wright. "For this program, the training
is conducted right here at the center. During the 40-hour course,
residents learn how to provide care, such as helping people with
their daily living activities in the home environment."
January and April 2011, approximately 30 residents have participated
in and completed the training programs offered at Bedford Hope VI
Neighborhood Networks Center. Wright is currently preparing the
next session of classes that will kick off in June.
Residents to Success
In addition to providing training for specific career fields, the
Bedford Hope VI Neighborhood Networks Center also offers an array
of computer skills courses to any individual living in a property
operated by the Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh. Courses
include Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, as well as keyboarding
and using the Internet and e-mail.
who complete our computer classes are eligible to receive a refurbished
computer for their own personal use," said Wright. "The computers
are donated to the center by individuals and local businesses and
organizations, including the Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh's
information technology department. I clean them up and award them
works hard to help residents achieve greater personal and professional
success, and has the stories to prove it. Some of Wright's resident
success stories include:
||Senior resident Una Madey lives approximately
25 miles from the Bedford Hope VI Neighborhood Networks Center,
but she did not let the distance deter her from learning how
to use the computer. Madey participated in the computer classes
offered at the Bedford Hope VI Neighborhood Networks Center
and became so proficient in Microsoft Word and Excel that the
center offered her a position as an administrative assistant.
Madey used the training and experience gained at the center
to secure a position with a local business. |
||Taneka Davis visited the Bedford Hope VI Neighborhood
Networks Center to research potential career paths and eventually
decided to further her education. With the help of Wright, Davis
applied for and was accepted to Point Park University where
she earned her bachelor's degree in criminal justice. Davis
is now earning her master's degree at Point Park University
and hopes to become a lawyer and judge. |
||Clague Harrison began visiting the Bedford Hope
VI Neighborhood Networks Center when he was seven years old.
Harrison is now a senior in high school and still visits the
center to complete homework assignments and research colleges.
Harrison plans to attend Robert Morris University in the fall
"Whether a resident comes to the center and masters how to use e-mail
or comes and takes one of our training programs and lands a job,
every resident who comes through our doors is a success," said Wright.
"Just coming into the center shows a level of motivation and initiative,
and when you have those, you can achieve anything."
more information on the Bedford Hope VI Neighborhood Networks Center,
Bedford Hope VI Neighborhood Networks Center
2305 Bedford Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
more information on Neighborhood Networks centers in Pennsylvania,
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development - Philadelphia
The Wanamaker Building
100 Penn Square East
Philadelphia, PA 19107-3390
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development - Pittsburgh Field
Moorhead Federal Building
1000 Liberty Avenue, Suite 1000
Pittsburgh, PA 15222-2515