Why I believe in The H.O.P.E. Project and the Community College Prep Academy

 An editorial about changing lives

An editorial about changing lives

We know how hard it is east of the river to find a living wage job. Members of our community face some of the most challenging barriers to employment. A person can face a lack of a quality educational opportunities, lack of job and life skills, and maybe even have a criminal history. Good news is that we have a resource right in our own community that provides DC adults the job skills they need to not just get a job but actually develop a career, a real pathway to the middle (and upper!) class!

First and foremost, there is no shame in any legal and honest work, a dollar earned is a dollar to be proud of! I believe that all day every day. That said, I have noticed that when it comes to minority or under-resourced communities that the majority of our job training programs seem to be in industries that will keep people in or barely out of poverty or won’t provide long-term job security. It seems like the job training programs based east of the river focus heavily on either the hospitality or construction industries, and that’s not to say they are bad but I wonder why that is the case? Is the reason rooted in some hidden racial bias? That’s not an accusation, that’s real talk. I’ve been at the table of some of these planning sessions to bring training programs to Ward 8 and I was struck by how often I was the only person of color in the room and/or the only Ward 8 resident in the room. There are times when the people planning the “pathway for success” couldn’t be more far removed economically and socially from the people they are professing to help. Their hearts were in the right place, I just wasn’t sure if they realized the irony of providing “opportunities” for people who were absent in these discussions. That’s why I implore all organizations, particularly nonprofits that profess to serve Ward 7 and Ward 8 residents to look at the demographics of their leadership and board of directors. Are the people you claim to serve represented in your offices and board rooms? And if so, why not? How are you sure that the services and programs that you raising money to provide are the services and programs that are actually needed or wanted? It’s not enough to conduct a community survey (assuming you have conducted a survey) you need to have created a space in your leadership and an atmosphere in your organization so someone (usually someone like me) can raise their hand and ask, “we say we are a community-driven organization but are we really?”

We live in a modern age, that is fact. Technology is at the root of our daily life and it is only going to increase and expand. So why aren’t we training more people in these industries? You don’t need a college degree to obtain an IT certification and starting salaries in the IT field are much greater than what you would find working in a hotel or in a kitchen. Construction work while well-paid (when you can get it) is cyclical and depends on so many factors. We see how hard it is to get Ward 8 residents on construction jobs, so why are we investing so much time in money in that industry? In comparison, someone with the in-demand IT training and certifications could find themselves with the job security that comes with an in-demand skill, even a person with a criminal record.

So for that reason, I have always supported and been in awe of job training programs such as The Hope Project that was founded and run by a man of color, Raymond Bell. Raymond has single-handedly moved more unemployed and under-employed people into the middle and upper class. Anyone that follows Raymond on social media can see the results. I’m including a few videos below but you really need to check out the website, the videos I really wanted to post I couldn’t. You can check out some of The H.O.P.E. Project alumni here.

Hope Project graduates aren’t just succeeding, they are thriving! They are not just earning enough to survive, they are living and living well! Hope graduates are buying not just cars but homes, they are going on international vacations, they are taking international jobs. Hope graduates have the hope for the future that comes with having a skill that allows them to earn six-figures without a college degree and crushing student loan debt.

If that is not hope I don’t know what is! The fact that for the longest time the HOPE Project didn’t get any government funding is also telling. But that’s another day and another blog post.

That said, I am glad to say that you have the opportunity to get some hope of your own and you don’t have to go halfway across town to get it! The Community College Preparatory Academy has two locations in Ward 8 and they are currently accepting students right now! And even better, these classes and certifications are FREE to DC residents ages 18 years and older. I’ve been telling everyone about these classes and I have friends, neighbors and even my manicurist signed up! Why? Because I believe that anyone is capable of improving their circumstances. The key is not to limit yourself or your options but to afford yourself every single opportunity available!

So if you are inspired and ready to make the leap from living from paycheck to paycheck and really want to start living the life of financial freedom that comes with a career, call the Community College Preparatory Academy today. I am including information on their programs and classes below. Who knows, you may even see me in an class in the future. Why? Because you can never have too many tools in your toolkit! Please spread the word and call or stop by for more information! There are two awareness sessions on Tuesday, October 2nd. See below for details.

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Courses available immediately at Community College Prep Academy include:

MOS - (word, powerpoint, access, and  excel)  6-8weeks

9 am -12noon  M-F

 1 pm - 4 pm    M-F

5pm - 8:45pm M- Thurs.

GED 

9 am -12noon      M-F

1pm - 4pm           M-F

5 pm - 8:45 pm   M- Thurs.

Currently, CCAP is conducting "same day" enrollment. That means a student can call or stop by and Community College Prep Academy will immediately schedule them for a TABE test, orientate them on day two and they can start class on day three!

To apply call (202) 770-3252 or (202) 610-5780 or visit 3301 Wheeler Rd. SE (rear)