Trained and Ready: Pine Street Inn Celebrates Job Training Graduation

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They signed up with the goal of becoming self sufficient, and graduate with the skills necessary to find a job and get back on their feet.

The Pine Street Inn celebrated it’s annual job training graduation ceremony on June 24th, granting certificates in honor of students who completed either the food services or building maintenance training programs.

The Pine Street Inn’s job training programs consists of students who are looking to learn skills which will enable them to earn a job and become self sufficient. Currently the Pine Street Inn offers job training programs in two areas.

“There are two different programs, one is in food services training in various aspects of food preparation and cafeteria operation,” said Barbara Trevisan, Spokeswomen for the Pine Street Inn. “The other is in Building Maintenance, so various forms of building skills like plumbing, electrical, painting, yard work.”

Each program varies between 12-14 weeks and includes students who were referred by case managers and from other programs. Each year these programs combine for more then 100 graduates.

“They [students] can be referred by case managers; we also do have other people that are referred in from other programs, so it’s not exclusively Pine Street,” said Trevisan. “We have about 125 or so students complete the program each year.”

While both programs are run through the Pine Street Inn and celebrate their graduations on the same day, they are separate programs and are even held in separate facilities.

“The building maintenance training program is actually held out at Anchor Inn in Long Island,” said Nick Pieri, Manager of the building maintenance program.

Although students are often referred to the job training program, they are still required to apply and interview for a spot in the program. During the application process to the building maintenance program Pine Street Inn looks for students who are motivated and have passed experience they area being trained. However, past experience is not required.

“Some prior experience doing something, showing that they like to work with their hands is good,” said Pieri. “Although we have accepted people who don’t have any formal job experience if their level of motivation in high and they really want to learn a trade and get back into the work world or get into the work force for the first time, that’s really the biggest thing.”

Once accepted into one of the Pine Street Inn’s two job training programs, students get hands on experience in their trade. In the building maintenance program, students learn how to safely handle tools as well as basic knowledge in carpentry and some electrical and plumbing.

“It’s a 10 week chapter eight program and focuses on skill in safety tool usage, safe and effective use of tools, hand and power tools, basic carpentry, basic repair, that’s most of it” said Pieri. “We also do a little bit of electrical and plumbing repair.”

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Along with receiving basic levels of job training, students in the building maintenance training program are also eligible to work as an intern for various local organizations, or even use their new found skills to give back to the social enterprise.
“The complete the program and then they have the opportunity to work either an internship with a local organization and there maintenance program, or they can work for the social enterprise afterwards for three months,” said Pieri.

Along with the opportunity to work an internship and gain first hand experience at their new trade, many graduates have gone on to earn jobs at places such as the Franklin Park Zoo, and The Boston Center for the Arts.

“They [graduates] have worked for The Greater Boston YMCA, several different branches, the Franklin Park Zoo, The Boston Center for the Arts,” said Pieri.” It’s going well, and over the last year we have been developing Boston Handy Works.”

Boston Handy Works in a social enterprise created through the building maintenance program to help fund the training program.

“Boston Handy Works is a social enterprise which we have created to help to fund the training program, because as budgets get tighter and tighter and public money isn’t paying for training programs very much, so it’s like a business that we run in the community,” said Pieri.

Pieri continued, “So we do jobs for higher with the training program graduates. So that’s what we’ve been working on over the past year. So we just getting out there and doing a lot more jobs in different places.”

Along with the recent formation on Boston Handy Works, the building maintenance program also recently added horticultural landscaping as part of their program.

“There was an additional component over these last three months. We worked with an organization called Cog Design, and had a horticultural training program, we just completed that as a pilot program,” said Pieri. “That will be a piece of the building maintenance curriculum, so we will have another one of those starting in September.”

This years graduation ceremony was held on June 24th. During the ceremony 27 students from the building maintenance program received certificates along with students from the food services program and residents former residents of Pine Street Inn who had recently moved into permanent housing.

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