BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – A Bridgeport-based organization that provides job training and educational opportunities for the good of employees and employers has been awarded a $400,000 grant that is expected to aid 300 people in southwest Connecticut.
The WorkPlace at 350 Fairfield Ave., Bridgeport, is one of 10 workforce development boards, or WBDs, in the country to receive the grant, which was awarded by the Walmart Foundation from a larger $10.9 million grant program administered by The Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership, according to a statement released by The WorkPlace.
The WorkPlace, along with the other grant winners, is tasked with using the grant money to “collectively form and implement” a new model for providing retail-specific career services that will serve as an example for the country’s other 550 WDBs, according to the statement.
According to The WorkPlace, these boards -- five of which are located in Connecticut -- are already providing worker assistance in the form of career coaching, soft skills training, specialized skills training and referrals to other resources.
"Our collaborative effort with The Partnership, regional business leaders and government officials, and the nine other selected WBDs will allow us to foster workforce training innovation in a sector that WDBs have not traditionally focused on: retail,” said Joseph Carbone, president and CEO of The WorkPlace.
The grant will help provide a number of services to job seekers, including:
- Job readiness training customized to the retail sector that will help job seekers acquire "soft skills" that are critical for workplace success such as teamwork, leadership, communication and conflict resolution
- Workshops in job placement assistance, resume writing and interviewing
- Post placement services to promote job retention
- Serve as a point of contact for retail employers in the area for recruitment and training opportunities that include career tracks such as sales, customer service, logistics, merchandising/buying and management
- Customize recruiting and screening and assistance in writing job descriptions for new positions
- Improve employee retention and the supply of qualified job candidates.
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