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CoMPETE seeks to strengthen workforce

By TRAVIS HANDY

travis@southwesttimes.com

It’s a new year, and many people may be looking for new ways to become involved in the community. This month will present an opportunity for interested parties to learn more about a program meant to benefit the local workforce.

Communty Mentoring Partnership for Enrichment, Training and Employment (CoMPETE) is seeking mentors in a local partnership with Pulaski Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP). RSVP issued a reminder that CoMPETE is offering an information meeting Jan. 10 to recruit new volunteers.

 

CoMPETE is a program that works with families struggling to build healthy and more secure lives. Literature provided by the program indicates those most at risk of failing “are faced with barriers such as long term unemployment, lack of education and training, lack of housing security and transportation, felony charges and convictions, and behavioral and developmental disabilities.”

 

According to information from the organization, CoMPETE “strengthens existing efforts to secure long-term, living wage employment for the most at risk in our community.” This is accomplished by “developing a sustained mentor network and engaging the business sector.”

 

“I think it would give real life advice,” Pulaski RSVP Director Ava Stillwell said in December. “A lot of times the younger workforce goes into a job and they’re not sure about what is expected of them and the appropriate things to do in (certain situations) … people need to know that when you’re in an adult workforce, people are counting on you to do your job every day.”

 

CoMPETE expands upon the existing Partners for Self-Sufficiency (PSS) program of the local Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS) to offer a more dynamic approach in obtaining employment.

 

Volunteer mentors would be expected to meet with mentees a couple of times a week to learn about the mentees’ experiences in the workplace and evaluate ways to make the mentees better employees or volunteers. For the mentee, that could translate to a full-time or permanent position.

 

An information meeting about CoMPETE, will be held at the Pulaski RSVP office Thursday, Jan. 10 from 2 – 3 p.m. Anyone interested in being a mentor is invited to attend the information session.

 

CoMPETE is supported by the W. K. Kellogg Foundation and is administered by the VT Institute for Policy and Governance. For more information about CoMPETE, please contact Teena Vernon at (540) 200-5474. Additional information about the program and Pulaski RSVP is available by contacting Ava Stillwell at 980-3969.

 

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