Taking Great Strides in SPACE

This morning, Goodwill hosted an Open House for many of our partnering organizations and client referral sources. The focus of the event was to educate those in attendance about some of the big changes taking place in Goodwill's computer lab programs - the Self-Paced Applications in the Computer Environment (SPACE) program and the Work Keys program.

The SPACE program provides participants with self-paced training in Microsoft Office applications in Windows, Word, Excel, Access, PowerPoint and QuickBooks. The program has three levels of expertise, allowing individuals with limited to no computer experience to become comfortable and proficient with computer use, ready to work in an office environment.

The Work Keys program utilizes a computerized curriculum to assist individuals in achieving their academic or soft skill goals.

After considerable research, we have changed to format to make the SPACE and Work Keys programs even more effective. These programs has a long and proven history of helping people learn to use the computer and office programs, and now the focus is shifting towards ensuring that our clients are fully prepared to obtain employment upon graduation.

Clients will now be able to choose from four employment concentrations: Customer Service Representatives, Receptionists and Information Clerks, Secretaries and Administrative Assistants, and Bookkeeping, Auditing and Accounting Clerks. Clients will receive customized curriculum which will combine specific components from the SPACE and Work Keys programs and will prepare them well for careers in their selected field.

As the Open House was taking place this morning, a former client, Kristy Roberson, stopped by to talk to SPACE Instructor Penny Williams. When she discovered Penny was leading the conversation about the SPACE program with our partnering organizations, Kristy agreed to share her story with the group.

Kristy came to Goodwill with a goal in mind: to work as a nurse in a prison or jail. "That was her goal from day one," Penny shared with the visiting organizations. "She said, 'I want to work with those who need to be inspired, and I want to bring them health and happiness, and I want to work with those who lost their hope.'"

Before she could enter a nursing program, Kristy needed to pass the entrance exam, the ACT Compass test. Kristy enrolled in the Work Keys program and worked tirelessly to prepare for the exam.

Kristy is moving towards her goal; she just graduated from the Tennessee College of Applied Technology with a Licensed Practical Nursing (LPN) diploma. She thanked Penny for all the guidance and preparation provided through the Work Keys program. Kristy will be working with Goodwill's Placement program to work on building her resume and finding her perfect job.

Success stories like Kristy's are what encourage us to keep building our programs and making them more effective. With the new SPACE concentrations, we hope to be able to help even more individuals prepare for and obtain employment in our community.