"Workin' It Out" Preparing non-traditional job seekers for workplace success
A steady job that pays a living wage can be a powerful thing. For struggling people, a good job offers more than just a paycheck. It offers a chance to reclaim a sense of pride and purpose as well. But many non-traditional workers are poorly prepared to meet the demands of today's employers.
Dislocated workers Individuals with disabilities At-risk youth and young adults Welfare-to-workers/TANF recipients Formerly incarcerated men & women People in recovery from addiction
Why do these individuals make such challenging employees? In part, because they lack an intuitive understanding of their employer's unspoken expectations, and the vital "soft skills" needed to abide by them.
Instead, these inexperienced workers often mistakenly use the rules and habits of their personal lives to judge the appropriateness of their workplace behavior. Lacking the skills and/or insights needed to adjust to the workplace culture, they consistently make poor decisions, and just don't get what they're doing wrong. As a result, these workers lose otherwise good jobs, and employers experience costly problems with performance, morale, and retention.
Five versions of"Workin' It Out"
The "Workin' It Out" (WIO) program series represents five, related classroom-based, cognitive-behavioral curricula designed to help challenging workers succeed in today's workplace. The programs are available ONLY to instructors who complete a 3-day training to become certified as WIO soft skills instructors.
1 Workin' It Out: For Inexperienced NonTraditional Workers "Workin' It Out" is a 10-lesson classroom-based soft skills training program designed to help challenging, often inexperienced workers adjust to the unfamiliar expectations of the workplace.
WIO helps participants:
(1) Understand how their personal beliefs may conflict with the unspoken rules of the workplace. (2) Improve interpersonal workplace skills such as anger management, giving feedback and taking criticism, and problem solving.
2 Learning to Work It Out: For Hard to Serve Individuals
"Learning to Work It Out" (completely rewritten in 2015) is a 12-lesson soft skills program designed to help individuals with multiple barriers to employment gain confidence, people skills, and insights needed to transition into the world of work.
LWIO helps participants:
(1) Set relevant goals for self-improvement, understand conflict, and recognize how their own personal beliefs and behaviors keep them from finding success. (2) Improve interpersonal work readiness skills such as self-management, dealing with criticism, expressing concerns, and problem solving.
3 Beginning to Work It Out: For Youth/Young Adults
"Beginning to Work It Out" is a 10-lesson soft skills program designed to help at-risk youth and young adults develop the people skills and personal insights needed to transition from adolescence to a life of work.
BWIO helps participants:
(1) Understand how their personal beliefs, especially attitudes toward authority, may create problems in the workplace. (2) Improve interpersonal skills such as anger management, expressing concerns, and problem solving to improve work readiness.
4 Makin' It Work: For Formerly Incarcerated Individuals "Makin' It Work" is a 10-lesson training program designed to help offenders in transition from corrections to the community adjust more successfully to the world of work.
Makin' It Work helps participants:
(1) Understand how their own attitudes and perceptions have justified illegal actions in the past. (2) Gain new insights into employer expectations in the workplace, and mentally shift their own outlooks to be more successful on the job. (3) Improve interpersonal skills needed to manage difficult workplace situations.
5 Workin' with Tradition: For Native American job seekers "Workin' with Tradition," is a 10-lesson soft skills training program designed in concert with employers and tribal members of North Central Montana to help Native Americans improve the soft skills need to find and keep good jobs on and off the reservation. Workin' with Tradition helps participants:
(1) Appreciate the strengths of their cultures while acknowledging the difficulties faced when seeking employment.. (2) Explore the value of work in building pride and identity while gaining valuable new insights into unspoken employer expectations. (3) Improve interpersonal skills needed to manage stress, organize time, express concerns, and make logical decisions in difficult workplace situations.
Testimonials from Program Participants “The training has been enlightening and informative on a personal as well as a professional level.... even though I began this training as a unwilling participant, you changed that for me.” Workin' It Out participant Escambia Community Services, Pensacola, FL
"These skills are vital to being a reasonable person who functions in society.” Makin' It Work participant Inmate from CA Bureau of Prisons Facility -Terminal Island
“The best class about self-worth I’ve ever been involved in. A very powerful class which will help me be better at life.“ Mike A., Makin' It Work participant Inmate from Yakima County Jail, Yakima, WA
COVID-19 and Instructor Certification Trainings
Due to the dangers of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have postponed all planned in-person trainings in 2020 and early 2021. We hope to schedule open-enrollment, face-to-face trainings beginning in April 2021.
Please contact Dr. Steve Parese (email@example.com) if your agency is interested in contracting for a CDC-compliant onsite instructor training session with a minimum of 8 attendees.
NEW! On January 19-21, 2021, we will be conducting a hybrid virtual Instructor Certification Seminar in Makin' It Work. Click here for all the details.
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Updated Workshop Topics
Dr. Steve Parese, author and speaker
Interested a dynamic workshop for a conference or upcoming staff development day? We offer innovative and entertaining workshops on a variety of relevant topics:
1. “From Jails to Jobs” Helping the formerly incarcerated succeed at work
2. “In Survival Mode” Working through self-defeating patterns with the hard to serve
3. “Cognitive Coaching” Working through differences in perspective on the job.
4. “Leave me alone!” Understanding Traumatized Youth
5. “Kids These Days!” Preparing at-risk youth for the workplace.
6. Staying Professional When It Feels Personal
7. “What Matters Most” Reducing Stress by RePrioritizing
8. “Let’s Work This Out” Supervising Difficult Workers.
9. “Can’t We All Get Along?” Strengthening Team-Building and Communication Skills
Staff Testimonials from Around the Nation “This training was very engaging and all content was relevant to what we would actually be doing. The energizers were good pick-me-ups and by having me provide a demonstration allowed better understanding of how content is supposed to be delivered.” Sara F., Promise Jobs Case Manager Iowa Workforce Development, Burlington, IA
“I loved this training. You’re fantastic and this training is so important and valuable and you’ve made it easy to grasp. What a great service you’ve given us to provide. Thank you!” Alexis R., US Probation Officer US Probation Office, Studio City, CA
“I thoroughly enjoyed the ‘Makin’ it Work’ trainer’s certification program, and am anxiously looking forward to implementing this program to offenders. Dr. Steve Parese is very knowledgeable and his training methods are both enjoyable and highly informative.” Steven P., US Probation Officer Laredo, TX
“Your warmth, clear commitment to assisting people in mastering the skills touched me. I also enjoyed your ability to engage and entertain. Thanks for a terrific program.” Jane A., US Probation Officer US Probation Office, Englewood, CA
“This course was informative, engaging, highly participatory, and well-structured. Steve is an interesting presenter, has a great sense of humor, and kept the workshop moving at a good pace. Top notch material -- well done!!” Tim M, Employment Development Counselor Marin Co, CA