Kauaians gain life skills

Instructors with Kauai Economic Opportunity’s Life Skills Workshop program recently celebrated another graduation of students from the program, they said in a press release.

Included as graduates were two staff members from the KEO Employment Program.

In order to get first-hand experience as students and the opportunity to witness the facilitation of the class, the staff members participated in all activities of the eight-session class.

That included, of course, completing all the homework assignments.

At the graduation ceremony, each student was presented a certificate of completion, and the graduates were honored with a luncheon following the ceremony.

The graduates are Ruel Ramos, Noel Serquina Jr., Lisa Lau, Shanlynn Hammond and the Rev. Jesse Layaoen. Lau and Layaoen are the KEO staff members who completed the course.

The Life Skills Workshop is employment-based, and appropriate for any individual regardless of his or her employment experience or educational level, KEO leaders said in the press release.

The workshop can be broken down into three areas, with participants exploring their backgrounds, influences and previous life experiences to get better acquainted with themselves in the first module.

Students learn to recognize skills and abilities gained through past experiences, and how to translate these abilities into employer-desired skills.

Through “Who I Am” presentations, students gain the experience in speaking about themselves, including their skills, abilities, interests and work values, in preparation for job interviews.

In the second part, students go through job exploration, where they research various career categories and try to match their skills, abilities, personalities, interests and work values to jobs that are realistic and achievable for them.

Students also learn how to create goals, and the steps needed to successfully attain each goal.

Finally, workshop instructors teach students the essential skills needed for employment: filling out job applications properly, how to create resumes for specific jobs, and interviewing skills.

In this section of the workshop, students not only learn to anticipate and overcome obstacles encountered during the employment-seeking process, but also skills needed to maintain jobs.

One of the graduates also received services from KEO’s Housing Placement Program. The Housing Placement Program is open to all single-parent, income-qualifying families.

This program assists families at any stages through the process of finding and maintaining suitable rental housing.

KEO staff members work with members of families and landlords to find suitable rental units.

As needed, the Housing Placement Program staff has funds available to assist with security deposit, first month’s rent, and utility deposit, to aid families in getting into housing.

Case management is a necessary service during the time family members are in the rental unit.

Additionally, two graduates of the Life Skills Workshop also received services from KEO’s Transitional Housing Program.

KEO officials operate a Transitional Housing Program to assist homeless individuals and family members to become self-sufficient and obtain permanent housing for the long term.

Program recipients receive case management, support services, and temporary housing for up to 24 months.

An Individual Service Plan is developed that details the participant’s specific goals, such as housing, employment, education, child care, transportation, and financial aid that will be accomplished during his or her stay in the Transitional Housing Program.

All participants in KEO’s Housing Placement Program and Transitional Housing Program are encouraged to participate in the Life Skills Workshop.

This workshop is an important segment of not only assisting individuals and members of families toward greater life achievements and self-sufficiency, but of tying together all other services that are provided throughout the programs.

For more information on KEO’s Employment Core Services or the Life Skills Workshop, call 245-4077, ext. 231, or the Homeless & Housing Program, 245-4077, ext. 232.

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