About a year ago, Sor Alvarez was at a crossroads. Recently laid off and struggling to pay her rent, Sor heard about a job-training program for women offered by Project Self-Sufficiency. Knowing that she needed to freshen her skills in order to make herself more marketable in the changing workplace, Sor enrolled in the agency’s “Summer Office Skills (SOS)” program. Sor plunged into the class, fine-tuning her computer skills, updating her resume, and getting help with her interview skills. Sor even received on-the-job work experience at a local work site as part of the course’s externship program. Within weeks of completing the 8-week course, Sor received a phone call from a former employer asking if she would consider rejoining their team. Sor negotiated a higher salary, and ultimately took the job.
“I was employed for 30 years in the automotive industry,” remarked Sor. “I started as a factory worker and then moved on up to management. I was laid off because the company was bought by another company, and then went bankrupt.” At the time she contacted Project Self-Sufficiency, “I was unemployed and I needed to enhance my computer skills.”
During the time she was between jobs, Sor moved to Sussex County in order to escape the higher rental prices in areas closer to New York City. She learned about Project Self-Sufficiency from an article in the local paper. Sor met with a case manager to assess her short-term and long-term goals before enrolling in the Summer Office Skills program. “I wanted to find a steady job and be financially secure,” commented Sor. She was so enamored of the program, that she has recommended it to several other women, including her own daughter-in-law. “I really liked it. My teacher was very patient and the other students were very nice. It’s wonderful what Project Self-Sufficiency does to help people who are in crisis.”
Project Self-Sufficiency is a non-profit organization which assists low-income families in northwestern New Jersey along the path to economic self-sufficiency. Services include career guidance and assessment, computer classes, GED instruction, parenting workshops, childcare, legal assistance and education, help with emergency basic needs such as clothing and food, health education, support groups, life skills classes, family activities, home visitation, and other programs.
Project Self-Sufficiency will offer the 8-week Summer Office Skills training program for women on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 9:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m., from July 8th – August 28th. The comprehensive course includes lessons in computer skills, job search methods, and interview techniques, along with on-the-job training at a community work site. Open Houses about the Summer Office Skills program will be offered at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, June 17th, as well as at 6:00 p.m. on Monday, June 9th, Thursday, June 26th or Monday, June 30th. All classes will take place at the agency’s campus which is located at 127 Mill Street in Newton. Work sites will be located throughout the county and hours will be dependent upon the employer’s needs. The Summer Office Skills program is free and open to Project Self-Sufficiency participants. All interested parties must apply and be accepted into the program.
To learn more about the Summer Office Skills program, or about any of the other programs and services at Project Self-Sufficiency, call Project Self-Sufficiency at 973-940-3500 or visit www.projectselfsufficiency.org.