2011-03-11 / Top Stories

RDRC Suspends Job Development Classes

By Miriam Rosenberg

Kevin Alexander Kevin Alexander One of the few job development programs in Far Rockaway has suspended its main component – job readiness training. The Rockaway Development and Revitalization Corporation has laid off three staff members and will suspend classes, The Wave has learned.

“We temporaryily suspended the adult readiness class component under the employment sector,” said , the executive director of RDRC.

“The actual course that includes outreach, case management and actual classroom instruction with a facilitator, [that] last class will be the week of March 7.”

According to Alexander, the suspension of the job training and the reduction in staff in the division of employment services is entirely funding related.

“We will reevaluate [the classes] because of the economy and constraints of funding, training, placement and recruitment services,” explained Alexander. He added that, “We need to evaluate where the support comes from and look one, two, three years [ahead].”

Part of RDRC’s evaluation of the program, Alexander said, would be to “see if we can ID partners, organizations we currently work with, to put up some of the training to do here or some other place.

“It’s possible we could work more closely with Workforce 1 to be certain that the neediest [students] can successfully navigate their system.”

Following training, graduates have been sent to the city’s Workforce 1 program, but Alexander said a good many of those former students tend not to be ready for the city program.

In the meantime, the RDRC will continue to do events such as job fairs. Alexander also said that the organization has several employment vendors with which it works and that one idea could be to do “sector based job fairs throughout the year based on [current] vendor relationships.”

RDRC has been involved in employment services to the community since the early 1980s. Last year the program enrolled 350 students. Approximately 300 graduated and found permanent jobs.

“This just didn’t happen overnight,” said Alexander. “The board and the senior staff have been evaluating [this] the last two years.

We have to figure out how to sustain the program without all the necessary funding in place.”

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