SwiftStart Off to A Great Start!

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NRCA’s newest program, SwiftStart, is up and running! SwiftStart is a partnership between NRCA and TAP, Roanoke’s Community Action Agency, and helps working parents secure higher-wage jobs by providing skill development in healthcare, advanced manufacturing, and information technology, along with access to affordable, quality childcare.

Since the new program launched this past winter, SwiftStart has connected with area community resources such as child cares, Workforce Development, New River Community College, Virginia Employment Commission, and New River Valley Community Services, and informed them about the program. SwiftStart has also linked with other NRCA programs for parent referrals, including Head Start and Children’s Health Improvement Partnership (CHIP).

The Career Mentors make the difference at SwiftStart! Parents who have had the opportunity to further their education now have an additional resource in SwiftStart Career Mentors. The Mentors go above and beyond as personal champions providing needed encouragement. One mentor even provided tutoring to help one participant pass a math placement test for selection into the LPN program where she will be starting this fall! The Mentors visit clients on-site for a personal connection.

SwiftStart Career Mentors provide six-part orientations to enroll participants into the program. The Mentors provide experience in social and soft skills needed for today’s working world, including interviewing skills and proper job etiquette.

As the program continues to get its feet wet, it continues to expand and add services to enhance the participant’s employability. Motivational speakers are invited to speak to SwiftStart students. Ammon Miller, recently highlighted in the Roanoke Times, will share his story about coming from an Amish background and graduating with an associate’s degree in instrumentation and control automation. The guest speakers share accounts of their struggles, limited resources and barriers to obtaining their degrees.

With SwiftStart, participants learn the struggles they encounter are not new. They happen every day for many in the New River Valley, but with support from SwiftStart, the right resources can make all the difference.

SwiftStart has already graduated two participants from the program in healthcare, one with two credentials! Mentors are now assisting the graduates in employment searches. Six students will be ready to graduate by the end of summer 2017 in healthcare fields. The program also has four more parents ready to start programs this summer and fall.

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