[SPOKANE, Wash.] Five former residents of Camp Hope graduated last week from the Community Colleges of Spokane’s (CCS) Employment Preparation Program in the hope of re-entering the workforce.
The program – which is offered through CCS’ Corporate & Continuing Education (CCE) – goes over items like time management, communication, conflict management skills, how to create a résumé and how to use Microsoft Suite. It was taught by Spokane Falls Community College’s communications studies instructor, Mohammad Khalil Islam-Zwart.
“(Islam-Zwart) said the students were excited, super engaged and ready to get back out into the workforce,” said Sarah Reed, CCE’s communications and corporate training commerce specialist.
The new, two-week long program was custom created specifically for the Catholic Charities Eastern Washington’s Catalyst Project. Catholic Charities partnered with multiple community organizations, including CCS, i2-Strategies, Community Health Association of Spokane (CHAS), the Department of Commerce and the Department of Transportation. (Read more on the Catalyst Project.)
As part of the project, Catholic Charities renovated a Quality Inn on West Sunset Blvd. to provide temporary emergency housing for people who had resided at Camp Hope – located near I-90 by the Freya/Thor entrance ramp – which was permanently shut down in early June. Last December, the former hotel was reopened, providing 78 private rooms. However, there are more resources for Catalyst participants. CCS’s programs are one of those pieces.
Last June, several people graduated from CCE’s flagger/traffic control program. In partnership with the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT), the flagger program was a one-day, eight-hour class that certified a person to work in that field. Students who passed received a Washington certification card that is valid for three years and can be used in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana. WSDOT had grant funding to place people through the Catalyst Project into work-to-hire jobs upon their certification. Fifty percent of graduates from the flagger program now have jobs, according to Reed.
Some of the recent graduates of the Employment Preparation Program will go into Spokane Community College’s 11-week Skilled Trades Program where students learn basic construction and scaffolding.
One of last week’s graduates, Matthew Lawson, also graduated from the flagger program and plans to go into Skilled Trades. Lawson was living at Camp Hope, then transitioned to Catalyst’s housing.
“It’s all been just one blessing after the other,” Lawson said. “It’s coming in abundantly like the Lord says. And all of you that are in my life, I consider you family now.”
For more information or to schedule an interview, contact Strategic Communications Manager Rachel Román at Rachel.Roman@ccs.spokane.edu or Communications Director Jeff Bunch at Jeff.Bunch@ccs.spokane.edu.
CCS provides education and services in a six-county region of Eastern Washington, operates Spokane Falls Community College and Spokane Community College and is the largest provider of Head Start and Early Childhood Education in the region. Each year, nearly 30,000 people – from infants to senior citizens – are provided educational services by CCS.