One of the most important elements of The Doe Fund’s Ready, Willing & Able (RWA) program is occupational training. Trainees in the program select an occupational training track that suits their interests and matches their abilities, and with the help of the Workforce Development department, they prepare for a fulfilling and sustainable career.
A 2017 internal survey found that an incredible 83% of jobs obtained by the Men in Blue were in one of The Doe Fund’s five targeted job sectors. This is called a “program match.”
“We have a high rate of program matches because we’re training in sectors where these men can leverage themselves,” explains Jennifer Dillon, Director of Workforce Development at The Doe Fund. “This is a great indication that these sectors are well-suited for trainees, both by level of interest and accessibility in the job market.”
The Doe Fund offers training for careers in Building Maintenance, Construction, Culinary Arts, Transportation/Warehouse and Pest Control—all essential, recession-proof growth industries that help ensure that our graduates have a pathway not just to work, but to a career.
When it comes time to choose their track, it generally comes down to a matter of familiarity, says Dillon: “What they’re interested in is contextually based. Maybe they know someone who’s a construction worker, or who’s been in the food industry, and that opens them up to the idea that they can do it, too.”
RWA is a 9-to-12-month program, so trainees have to pack in a lot of learning into the occupational training period. Many graduate with certifications or professional licenses, significantly enhancing the likelihood of stable employment and lifelong career advancement.
“Graduates learn the hard skills they need to perform well,” says Dillon. “But it’s also about gaining the soft skills, like how to call in sick, communicate, or adjust to the pace of a job. That’s why we encourage the trainees to work with our employee partners, who understand that learning curve.”
After spending some time in a new career, graduates sometimes find that they would like more extensive training or classes, or to broaden their horizons by learning a new trade altogether. Those men are always welcome to return, and to take advantage of all the resources The Doe Fund has to offer.
“We’re always looking to deepen what we offer so it’s more meaningful and offers a pathway to management and upper-level positions,” Dillon says. “We want a high quality program that takes these men farther than a foot in the door.”