Thanks to the generous support of Comcast, Casa Central was recently able to purchase new computer equipment to upgrade the technology services provided to participants in our La Posada Interim Housing program for families experiencing homelessness. This new computer equipment specifically benefits La Posada’s Educational Community Access and Alternatives to Training/Employment (EDUCATE) program, which was created to fulfill the demand for computer education and to promote career pathways that inspire participants to discover new employment networks. This program aligns with Comcast’s Internet Essentials initiative, which helps close the digital divide by creating opportunities for low-income families to connect to the internet.
La Posada, through the EDUCATE program, has a mission to prepare and inspire participants to further their education as a means to employability and independent living. La Posada’s Education Coordinator oversees the curriculum and operation of the EDUCATE program, including the computer lab, and assists participants develop short and long-term plans through bilingual, multicultural trainings focused on job readiness, vocational training, computer skills, and life skills. Further trainings provided through EDUCATE at La Posada include:
1. Job Readiness – Pre-Employment Skills
2. Basic Computer Skills (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Publisher)
3. Hotel Hospitality Basics
4. GED preparation support and typing
5. English as a Second Language (Class and Online)
The Education Coordinator also teaches a 5-part Job Readiness Training course Monday through Friday from 10 am to noon and 2 pm to 4 pm. The majority of the class is taught on computers, with Power Point lectures displayed on an electronic blackboard in the computer lab. The five components of the training are: 1) General computer skills (appropriate use of computers, MS-Word, data entry including alphabetical/numerical through typing in Mavis Beacon, Outlook and internet basics) 2) resume writing 3) on-line employment research and completing electronic job applications 4) communication and interviewing skills and 5) effective time management and organizational skills.
As part of the Job Readiness Training, volunteers from Chicago Cares and local universities and businesses work with participants on computer skills, mock interviews, resume preparation, and other important skills.
In addition to courses taught on computers, there is open lab time so participants can work on their resumes and cover letters, search and apply for jobs, prepare for interviews, complete homework assignments, and write and answer emails. Annually, the computer lab will be accessible to more than 100 adults, children, and youth experiencing homelessness.