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Houston Public Library to Celebrate Graduation of WeCAN Works’ At-Risk Houston High School Students

Innovative Workforce Digital Literacy Program Made Possible by Microsoft Corporation Grant

WHAT:
The Houston Public Library will celebrate the second class of high school students to participate in the innovative WeCAN Works Track I component. These 9 at-risk high school students were provided with paid job placements with a goal of graduation and the obtainment of sustainable and transferrable skills upon graduation in preparation for entrance into the workforce in a high-demand, high-growth field.

WHO:

Dr. Rhea Brown Lawson, Director of the Houston Public Library

Nicole Robinson, Director of Digital Inclusion

Student Graduates from the Houston Independent School District’s (HISD) Career and Technology Education Challenge Early College and Houston Academy of International Studies Schools, and their Parents

WeCAN Works Partners: HISD’s Career and Technology Education Department, Microsoft, Workforce Solutions, Tech Corps Texas, and Greater Houston Partnership

Employers – Texas Children’s Hospital, State Farm, HISD Office of Strategic Partnerships, CoH Office of Protocol and International Affairs

WHEN:
Wednesday, May 16 at 11am

WHERE:
Houston Public Library
Julia Ideson Building Auditorium, First Floor
550 McKinney, 77002
832-393-1662

MORE INFO:
The Houston Public Library will celebrate the second class of high school students to participate in the innovative WeCAN Works Track I component. Made possible by a $4.5 million cash and software grant received from Microsoft Corporation, WeCAN Works is an innovative digital literacy and workforce preparedness effort launched as part of the Houston Digital Inclusion Initiative Wireless Empowered Community Access Network (WeCAN), www.houstonwecan.org. The Microsoft Unlimited Potential grant awarded to the Houston Public Library Foundation in 2009 for WeCAN Works represents one of its largest U.S. donations. This public/private partnership focuses on drop-out prevention, GED recovery, and digital literacy/job readiness skill development for underserved, unemployed, and unskilled youth and adults.

WeCAN Works Track I targets, places, and trains at-risk high school students to prepare them to enter the workforce in a high-demand, high-growth field with a goal of graduation and the obtainment of sustainable and transferrable skills upon graduation. The 9 high school seniors from Challenge Early College and Houston Academy of International Studies High Schools represent the second class of student participants to complete the first full year of Track I for the program. The students were recruited from HISD’s Career and Technology Education Department, which has a mission to empower students with the academic and technical skills needed to compete globally. Through the support of WeCAN Works, , these high school students benefitted from paid job placement opportunities, professional mentoring, career counseling, job skills, and digital literacy training, collectively receiving over 600 hours of hands on work experience and $50,000 in wages. All graduating students have successfully completed coursework and exams for Microsoft certification.

WeCAN Works partners include the City of Houston, the Houston Public Library, Microsoft Corporation, HISD, the Houston Community College System (HCC), Workforce Solutions and the Greater Houston Partnership (GHP). Other significant contributing partners include Tech Corps Texas. Through its partners, WeCAN Works is offering digital literacy training, job readiness training, internships, GED programs, career counseling, and job referrals and placements as outlined below:

WeCAN Works offers three Tracks of programming in cooperation with partner organizations.

Track I targets, places, and trains at-risk high school students to prepare them to enter the workforce in a high-demand, high-growth field, with a goal of graduation and the obtainment of sustainable and transferrable skills upon graduation. These high school students receive digital literacy training, certification opportunities (i.e., MOS and A+), career counseling, apprenticeships, and mentoring.
Track II targets unemployed and underemployed youth and adults who do not have a high school diploma for classes to prepare them for the General Equivalency Diploma (GED) Certification test; in addition, these participants receive digital literacy training, career counseling and job placement assistance.
Track III provides expanded digital literacy and workforce skills training, to underserved populations in high-need communities to improve quality of life.

These services are offered at HPL locations, established WeCAN community access locations, and on-site at partner organization locations. WeCAN Works established this innovative program as a model in workforce readiness for other cities to emulate. For more information about WeCAN Works, call 832-393-1313 or visit http://www.houstonwecan.org.

About the Houston Public Library
The Houston Public Library (HPL) operates 35 neighborhood libraries, three HPL Express Libraries, a Central Library, the Houston Metropolitan Research Center, the Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research, The African American Library at the Gregory School, and the Parent Resource Library located in the Children’s Museum of Houston. Serving more than 4 million customers per year, HPL is committed to excellent customer service and equitable access to information and programs by providing library customers with free use of a diverse collection of printed materials, and electronic resources, Internet, laptop and computer use, and a variety of database and reference resources with live assistance online 24/7. For further information, visit the Houston Public Library at www.houstonlibrary.org or call 832-393-1313.
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Contact:
Sandra Fernandez
Manager of Public Relations
Houston Public Library
832.393.1381; cell 713.435.9448
sandra.fernandez@houstontx.gov

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