‘Future Builders’ program works in Rockdale
David Barkemeyer
Milam County Judge

A few days ago I attended a Central Texas Workforce Center Executive Committee meeting in Killeen with Cindy Jerman who is in charge of our Milam County Workforce Center in Rockdale, and she told me about a program they have been doing for over six years now that I thought all of you should hear about.

As you may know, we also have a juvenile detention center that is privately operated in Rockdale that houses some 65 troubled kids from the ages of 10 to 17 that are from a several county area including Milam County.

While there they attend regular school classes through a charter school which is actually doing very well. However, many of these youths are obviously behind in their studies and when returned to society many do not finish high school.

But the story I want to relate is that the Rockdale Workforce Center has been conducting classes for selected groups of students from the detention center.

They are teaching them how to interview for a job including certain basic job skills such as how to count out change, how to use a cash register, basic customer relations skills, and so on to help them get a job when they are released.

Keep in mind that many of them have no way to make it in life, no one to take care of them, no real home, no way to make a living, no idea how to get a job.

The program is called Future Builders. The class lasts for one week, two hours per day, six students per class, one class per month, September through May of each year. Cindy and her crew try to make the class as realistic as possible, simulating real life situations. And it’s working! Of the 177 or so kids that have been through the program 32 percent have used the information to get a job and held it for six months or more, 43 percent have received a high school diploma or GED, and 88 percent have not committed any further offenses after being released.

Considering the type of individuals we’re dealing with here, this is quite a success story.

Hats off to Cindy and her folks for a job well done for a job that isn’t even in their job description.

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2011-06-23 digital edition

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