News Release
  February 25, 2003


A Los Angeles Mission College program that provides welfare recipients and low-income people with employable office skills has been singled out for its success in placing low-income people in jobs.

The Clerical Office Assistant Training Program run by Mission College has been praised for its "…innovative approach to occupational education" by the California Community College Association for Occupational Education. The CCCAOE has nominated the program for its outstanding workforce program award.

The training program is in the second year of a two-year, $600,000 grant awarded to Mission College by the California Community Colleges Economic Development Program. The program goal is to train individuals who are receiving public assistance or living below the poverty level in the skills that will qualify them to work as clerical assistants or other office positions in which they can earn a living wage.

To date, the program has trained 150 students in clerical assistance jobs. About half have been placed in placed in jobs where they are earning $10 an hour or more, plus benefits, according to Susan Rhi-Kleinert, program director. Others have used the program as a stepping-stone to educational advancement.

"We’ve seen many of the participants pass their GEDs (high school equivalency exam), or enroll in courses at Mission College," said Rhi-Kleinert. "Most of them have raised their English and math skills to new levels."

About 20 participants undergo training sessions lasting 11 weeks. The students receive classroom instruction in computer and office skills, office practices, business English and math, phone skills and customer service. Instructors with the Los Angeles Unified School District provide a partner in the grant much of the training.

With funding due to expire this summer, Rhi-Kleinert hopes to continue the training through partnerships with private employers who have hired graduates of the program.

The California Community College Administrators of Occupational Education is a statewide organization of educators, deans and administrators of vocational education and workforce programs. CCCAOE will honor the Mission College program at its statewide meeting in March.

The Clerical Office Assistant Program received recognition late last year from the Los Angeles Community College District as an outstanding workforce program.


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