Highland News Leader

Highland works to help job seekers through ‘Adult Leadership Academy’

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The city of Highland and the Highland Chamber of Commerce will be holding a pilot program that the Assistant City Manager Lisa Peck said will help create a local solution to a national problem.

The kick off class for the first 2017 Adult Leadership Academy will take place Aug. 1 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Louis Latzer Memorial Public Library, 1001 9th St.

Peck said that the goal of this event is to get citizens to grow and strengthen soft skills. It was also designed to help them understand the current needs of employers.

Sessions taught during the academy will focus on communication skills, goal setting, professionalism, and ethics. It will also cover resume building, networking, financial management, interview preparation, mock interviewing, problem solving and critical thinking.

“I am not aware of any program like this, developed locally to address local employers’ concerns,” Peck said.

Attendees who complete the academy will be given a certificate from the Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center or Southern Illinois University Edwardsville signifying the completion of the academy. Peck said that the curriculum is the same, but participants are able to decide which certificate fits for their own job search.

“I’m really excited and proud that we are taking on workforce development at the local level, as this is such a vital part of business retention and attraction,” Peck said.

Over the past several months, the city has worked with the participants of the Employer Roundtable meetings to get this class up and running. The Employer Roundtable is a group of employers who gathered through city outreach efforts to address common employment issues. Peck said those employers include many of the local manufacturers, stores, banks, HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital and the Highland Community Unit School District No. 5. During those meetings, the participants would voice many of the same concerns and complaints had when hiring new employees, like job readiness and mastery of soft skills, according to Peck.

“I feel like we had a really good mix of employers and the soft-skills issues were universal,” said Peck said.

The city worked with these employers to weed out the universal problems to create a program in hopes of helping new hires overcome those deficiencies. The workshop was designed after a Leadership Academy that has been provided for two sessions for local high school students. But, this will be the first time the course is offered for adults.

The workshop is open to anyone 18 or older from all walks of education. The first round of the academy will consist of five sessions that will be held Aug. 1, 8, 15, 22, and 29, all from 6 to 8 p.m. Registration is $10. To join the participant must fill out an application and pay the entry fee. Applications will be available at the front desk at city hall. The deadline to apply is July 21. The city is encouraging anyone who is looking to develop professional workforce skills to join the Highland Leadership Academy.

Adult Leadership Academy at a glance

Goal: Grow and strengthen participants “soft skills” to better market themselves for employment

Dates & Times: Five sessions, Aug. 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29, all from 6 to 8 p.m.

Location: Louis Latzer Memorial Public Library, 1001 9th St. in Highland

Cost: $10

Open to: Anyone 18 years and older

Registration: Required

Contact: Phone 654-9891 or email smaher@highlandil.gov