Partnerships with community-based organizations are essential in reaching people who may need the most assistance in preparing for and finding employment. New Americans, including immigrants and refugees, and people with lower educational attainment, including people who may not have finished high school, often face significant barriers to employment. Adult education programs throughout the state offer English language learner classes and courses that prepare people for a GED or high school diploma equivalent, along with other offerings. CareerForce works with adult education programs in many communities. One example of a very strong partnership CareerForce in Bloomington staff have built with Metro South Adult Basic Education and Hopkins Community Education. This partnership grew stronger and more comprehensive during SFY2023, thanks to the work of Robin Johnson, development specialist at CareerForce Bloomington, working with Paulina Kohan at Metro South Adult Basic Education and Michele Smaby at Hopkins Community Education.
“Paulina and Michelle have both jumped in with all feet promoting us and explaining what we do and who we are,” said Robin. “They fundamentally understand that many of their students come from situations that foster distrust of official entities and so they work hard and long to break down the barriers of anxiety and doubt.”
Robin teaches in-person career exploration and job search classes, conducts mock job interviews with students and does individual resume reviews for adult education students at both adult education locations. Robin continued her praise of Paulina and Michelle: “They have shown the ideal characteristics of community partners: enthusiasm, true belief in what we are all trying to do, endless commitment to their clients and appreciation for DEED’s contributions at the table.”