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Project Independence



A Unique Welfare-to-Work Job Training Program



The economic redevelopment of urban America is on hold. Until we resolve the issue of the self-perpetuating nature of welfare dependency--the lack of vision, jobs, values and hope--we will never break the cycle. The burden generated by welfare dependency and unemployment inhibits private sector growth, health care, the criminal justice system, and the infrastructure of America.


The Problem


Welfare recipients have a different view of the world that will never allow them to break free of the walls of the ghetto without the competitive vision of what America can and must be. Without skills and the chance to earn an income, people become mired in welfare, crime, alcohol, drugs and a breakdown of traditional family values.  Any attempt to change this reality must be preceded by an intensive drive to train and re-train the victims of a system where people are programmed to underachieve.


The Solution


CORE has a long history of providing workforce training and welfare-to-work assistance. We recognized the need for the development of technical skills, employability competencies, work values and self-esteem and developed a unique welfare reform/job training program to deliver these services to our community in an effective and efficient way. We call our program "Project Independence."


Project Independence is designed to address the lack of skills among inner-city young adults by providing intensive training in office skills and then helping them to find meaningful employment.


Targeted Population


With the hundreds of thousands of unemployed people in America, it is virtually impossible to service them all. CORE chose to concentrate its efforts on a select group defined as "young single mothers who are currently receiving public assistance." We have found that the desire to get off welfare


By targeting young mothers on welfare, CORE hopes to break the perpetual cycle of welfare dependency by giving the participants the skills they need to find employment, We hope that the concept of being self-supporting and the development of personal and work values will be passed on to their children.


Entry into our program is strictly voluntary and training individuals who want to learn has been an important ingredient to our success.


The Method


The most unique aspect of our program has been the training methods that have evolved through years of experience. Most trainees are enrolled for an initial 120-day cycle with the option of additional extensions if necessary.   The majority of our training takes place in a "real" work environment with "real" assignments and "real" responsibilities.


Trainees are incorporated into the workforce at CORE and participating private sector partners. They are expected to perform at various levels as full time employees. We have found that this approach to training is much more successful than a strict classroom style of teaching.


Functional Learning


Functional context learning has emerged as the most effective   delivery model for the transition from welfare to work. Short-term "make work" jobs may respond to the public outcry for "reform" of the 


During their training cycle, participants are introduced to general workplace expectations. They are taught basic office procedures, and the use of basic office machinery. They learn the use of computers and a variety of popular computer programs.



Instilling A Work Ethic


Many people entering the workplace today lack the employability competencies to function in a competitive work environment.  Our trainees are taught proper workplace etiquette including answering the telephone, taking messages, communicating with co-workers, proper office attire, punctuality, follow-up, and reporting on completed work. These simple ABCs of a "good employee" are often forgotten.


Our trainees are also taught interpersonal and thinking skills such as accepting individual responsibility, sociability, self-management, integrity, goal setting, problem solving, collaborative learning and teamwork.


CORE's Job Bank


In the final stages of their training, participants are entered into CORE's "Job Bank" which lists available positions provided to us from many sources, categorized by skill and educational requirements. Trainees who meet the minimum qualifications of available positions are sent on interviews with a referral from our job-training program.


CORE's Job Bank is the vital completion phase of "Project Independence," where trainees receive career counseling, interview techniques and update their resumes in preparation for their job search.   Periodic "job fairs" are organized so that trainees can take advantage of available career opportunities, meet with corporate recruiters and placement agencies all in the same day.


Follow up


Trainees are followed for a period of 6 months after completing the program. During this follow-up period, emotional and technical support is offered to assist the trainee in the transition from welfare recipient to working parent. Referrals are made to other services that a single mother may need to overcome some of the barriers to independence.   




"Project Independence" has enjoyed tremendous success.   Approximately 80% of the trainees who have graduated the program are placed in meaningful employment within 60 days of completion.  


The cost of this program is approximately $1,500 per trainee, making it one of the most cost-effective job training programs in the country. There is no cost to the participants and we receive no government funding.


How you can help!


Project Independence is totally dependent upon contributions from private sources. We invite you to visit our training facilities. Meet our staff and participants. Talk with some of these young mothers who are truly doing something to help better themselves and we are certain that you will find them worthy of your support. Help to give them a new vision, not an empty world of hope, but of real skills, a positive lifestyle and a future for them and their children. HELP US TO HELP THEM TO HELP THEMSELVES. Together we can give some unfortunate Americans the break they need and deserve.




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[Major CORE Programs] [Project Independence] [EOA, Complaints & Legal Assistance] [Crime Victims Assistance] [Immigration Crisis Center] [Corporate Sponsors]


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CORE -- Congress of Racial Equality  *  P.O. Box 264  *  New York, N.Y.  *  10276  *  Tel: (212) 598-4000  *  Fax: (212) 982-0184


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