Thanks to a recent grant funded by Jax Journey, students in City Rescue Mission’s LifeBuilders Program are getting more than just physical and spiritual healing. The Jacksonville Public Library’s LEAP Program is giving students the tools and resources to gain confidence in future employment. The LEAP program stands for “Library Enhanced Access Program.” The goal of the program is to increase digital literacy and improve language literacy resulting in increased educational and economic success. “Project LEAP is a Jacksonville Public Library outreach initiative designed to provide underserved communities with critical literacy resources, library services and educational programs,” said Jennifer Giltrop, Deputy Director of the library. “We are proud to partner with the City Rescue Mission to give their students tools for success—the computer skills they need to lead more productive lives and enter the workforce.” Project LEAP is a 9 week program taught by two E-Learning Specialists who spend Tuesday-Friday on campus in City Rescue Mission’s Learning Center from 10:00a.m.-12:00p.m. They cycle the 9 week program for both men and women students enrolled in the LifeBuilders long-term residential Christian recovery program. Each 9 week rotation of classes includes:
- Basic computing
- Learning to use Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Publisher
- Learning to create a resume with tips for job hunting and interview success
- Using government resources online (E-government)
- Learning about the free classes, databases and technology available at the public library
- Classes to prepare for civil service tests, college entrance and job certification tests.
Karen Walker, E-Services and Digital Access Manager for the library, oversees the LEAP computer class curriculum, said digital literacy is necessary for students who are trying to apply for a job—any type of job. She said, “CRM students are responding positively to LEAP computer classes. Over the past few months, the library has witnessed hundreds of CRM students progressing in their computer skills—filling out applications online, writing resumes, and using e-mail. For some, it is their first time using a computer and a mouse. LEAP computer classes can be tailored to fit individual students’ needs and that goes a long way in helping students succeed.” CRM is one of two recipients of this amazing program. “We are so blessed to have access to teachers and resources that help empower our students and give them confidence with digital literacy specifically for gaining employment and becoming independent self-sufficient citizens in the Jacksonville Community,” according to City Rescue Mission’s Workforce Development Manager, Angela Cook. “Here at the City Rescue Mission, we exist to transform the lives of the homeless and needy. We are so grateful for this partnership with the Jacksonville Public Library and their commitment to enriching lives, building community and fostering success here for our students who are equally dedicated to change,” stated Penny Kievet, Executive Director.
After successful completion of the 9 week course, students receive a Certificate of Completion and a new confidence to LEAP back into the workforce with new skills and a new life.