Find out how this workforce development program is preparing clients for success in the corporate world.
Given how highly educated the Northern Virginia region is on the whole, it may be easy to forget that not everyone in the area always has access to such opportunities. Without certain skills and credentials, residents may have difficulty obtaining the higher-paying, career-track jobs they need to thrive in our community. Programs such as Training Futures help to bridge that gap.
“At Training Futures, we are preparing clients for career-track jobs in office support functions,” shares Julie Mullen, director of workforce development for Northern Virginia Family Service. “We teach them hard skills, such as Microsoft Office Suite, customer service, office administrative skills and business communications. But our real competitive advantage and our real value in the marketplace is that we teach soft skills – the attitudes and behaviors necessary to be successful in the corporate environment – in a simulated office environment. So we’re treating our clients as if they’re coming to a corporate job every day.”
But there’s more to this program than just the training it provides. Here’s how Training Futures is benefiting its graduates and helping them thrive:
- Clients come in Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., for six months to develop tactical office skills and prepare themselves for a full-time, benefited, office-support position.
- Within six months of graduating from Training Futures, 75 percent of graduates are employed in office careers with opportunity for advancement.
- Graduates make about $14 to $15 an hour on average – generally about a 60 to 65 percent increase from their pre-program wages.
- Benefits from full-time office-support jobs include not only increased wages, but paid time off and regular schedules, which are often not available to hourly employees in service-related industries. This allows more time with family and a safety net for issues such as caring for a sick child.
- Training Futures uses a transformational learning model called Imaginal Education, based on the work of economist Kenneth Boulding. “The idea is, if you change your image of yourself, you can change your life outcomes,” Mullen notes.
- Training Futures has been recognized nationally by The Aspen Institute for its program success and innovative partnerships.
- Training Futures has been keeping abreast on in-demand skills and workforce trends for years to ensure its graduates are marketable in the current workforce. “We’re always asking our employer network what jobs do they have open, where they see the trends going, and if we are training for the right things,” Mullen shares.
- Trainees learn not only hard skills to perform in the corporate world, but also the “soft” skills and attitudes of U.S. corporate culture to help them succeed.
- Training Futures has approximately 200 referral partners that it works with to identify clients in need of its workforce training.
- Training Futures helps graduates not only build their skills, but the confidence needed to overcome barriers and challenges such as low foundational skills or low English proficiency.
- As part of the simulated work environment, trainees are required to wear professional work attire during the program.
- Trainees come from all over the world with skills, motivation and a desire to succeed.
- Trainings are conducted both by Training Futures staff as well as professional partners, such as FMP Consulting, Deloitte and Octagon.
- Training Futures operates a Clothing Closet to provide clients with professional work attire.
- Graduates receive a Microsoft Office certificate through their training.
- Trainees and graduates may have had successful careers in a different country, but their credentials aren’t recognized in the United States or they don’t know how to navigate the U.S. corporate environment.
- During the course of its 20-year-plus operation, Training Futures has provided programs in Tysons Corner, Springfield and Manassas.
- Training Futures supports roughly 100 clients each year and has graduated more than 1,900 trainees since it began.
- Each training cycle also includes a four-week internship at a local company or organization to gain on-the-job experience.
- Training Futures regularly recognizes trainees and graduates for their accomplishments, both throughout the training and at special events, including our 20th anniversary celebration in 2017.