August 13

Graceworks Housing Services helps youths learn job skills through Capabilities, Inc.

Housing Services - Lorenzo

Lorenzo, center, appreciated coaching from Andrew, left, and Keith, right.

Thanks to Graceworks Housing Services, this summer Lorenzo learned how to paint a fence and more importantly, how to perform a job. He is one of six youths who completed a valuable project at Redeemer Community, Graceworks Housing Services in Dayton, as part of the Summer Youth Work Experience program of Capabilities, Inc.

“It was pretty fun and helped me to have a good work experience,” said Lorenzo. He is learning job and life skills that he hopes will lead to a career in mechanical work or carpentry.

The project not only improved the property, but also raised the spirits of residents of Redeemer Community, affordable apartments for adults who are older or have disabilities, said Keith Young, Maintenance Technician at Redeemer Community.

“Our residents have been happy to see the young people doing good work,” he said.

Disadvantaged youths are referred to Capabilities, Inc. ( by the Ohio Rehabilitation Services program, said Beth Barr, a career counselor at Capabilities, Inc., serving in Montgomery, Miami, Shelby, Clark and Auglaize Counties.

The youths receive training in workplace communication, workplace skills, interpersonal skills, independent living skills, and how a disability affects you at work. They participate in interest inventories, career exploration, and community job shadows to determine best matches for work experiences. They receive training in job seeking skills, including videotaped interviews. When they are matched to a job site, coaches make sure they have appropriate attire and transportation.

The program pays youth to work on real projects, while counselors coach them on how to be responsible employees and complete a job. Each week on the job site, career coaches review workplace skills and living skills.

“It’s helpful to learn things like budgeting, managing our time, listening to others, cooperating with people,” Lorenzo said.

Barr said youth often have little job experience before they graduate from school into the world of work, “Most youth need a chance to show their capabilities.”

Andrew Huber, the other career consultant who worked with them, said youth also need to prove something to themselves.

“It’s a chance to prove to themselves what they can do. They became confident of what they can do. By the end of the first day, they’re saying ‘Let’s do this!’ ”

Keith Young was thankful for the cost savings to Graceworks, as Capabilities, Inc. paid the youth through its grant funds. But just as importantly, he was thankful for being able to help disadvantaged youth learn to succeed.

“I was worried, at first, about whether they could do the job. But from Day One, this has been a win-win situation.

“The job coaches have been fantastic. They teach them how to prepare for jobs, how to present yourself, teamwork, responsibility. By the end of the first day, they had a plan for how they could accomplish the project, with daily goals and long-term goals.”

“They’ve done a quality, affordable job and we’re doing our part in faithful caring. It’s been very, very good, real positive experience for us,” he said.