A program you don’t know about…but should

Cory Hope, Arts and Entertainment Editor  Ω

There is a program at TRU that you are likely unfamiliar with.

It doesn’t get the same coverage of the prestigious new law school, or participate in fund-generating research projects that might get noticed all over the world, but it is sociologically important and we should be proud that we offer it.

The Education and Skills Training certificate program offers students with cognitive disabilities knowledge about future employment opportunities and training in a specific area.

The core classes of the program are workplace communication, workplace employability, computer literacy, health and safety and job search and maintenance.

The courses are designed to give students knowledge that will assist them in finding jobs — from learning the habits and qualities of an effective employee to learning about “nutrition, wellness, back safety, fire safety, and Workplace Hazardous Materials Information Systems.”  The courses take place, according to their website, in an “interactive setting aimed to allow the concepts covered in class to be integrated into their present lifestyle.”

Students also learn how to handle job interviews and how to find and use agencies that can help them get jobs.  In short, the students enrolled in these courses are given lessons that everybody should learn before entering the job market.

That’s just the beginning, though.  After completing the core courses, students are given training in various elements relevant to the fields they are training for, which currently include automotive, retail and kitchen.

Students train in both written and verbal communication as well as math.  The math courses cover fractions, percentages and how to deal with money.

The job-specific training comes next — first with theory and moving on to practical lessons.

For kitchen jobs the first theory course deals with food, and emphasis is placed on safety and sanitary procedures.

The second course tests their understanding before they move onto practical training on “clean-up, sanitation, basic food preparation, and use of kitchen equipment and machines.”

Again, safety in the workplace is stressed.

This practical training takes place in the CAC cafeteria, “where they will learn to follow directions, organize work and work as a team member,” according to their website.

The second practical course gets them to the point of being ready to work in a commercial kitchen.

The automotive students learn how to use hand tools, and learn the basic functions of an automobile during the theory courses, with more in-depth details and more complicated tools taking place during the second half.  Safety is again stressed.

Their practical training is designed to introduce them to a workshop environment, which teaches them safety while simultaneously helping to “remove the fear of the unknown.”

Tasks such as tire service and oil changes are a major part of the time the students will spend in the shop.  The follow-up course continues to enhance their proficiency with the tasks they have already learned, and more maintenance procedures are introduced.

Retail students focus on customer relations’ skills, and organizational skills including time management, numeric and alphabetic filing. Students learn how to count money accurately and count back change, teaching them to work effectively with the public.

Their practical training happens at Bookies, where they learn merchandising, cleaning, inventory, shelving, and gain experience with a Point of Sale Service computer system.

With the Education and Skills Training Certificate Program, TRU is helping those with cognitive disabilities to become productive members of society, enabling them to further their own educations and lead their lives with more confidence and independence.

We should all take pride in having this program offered at our school, and be proud of every student taking part in it.