Meet the WERC Crew (Work Experience – Recycling and Custodial)! Their signature blue shirts can be seen all over Goodwill-Easter Seals Minnesota’s St. Paul campus and they might be installing new cubicle walls, painting, polishing the floor or any number of tasks.
Participants learn how to accomplish building maintenance tasks and get paid work experience from a supervisor experienced in building maintenance, Bob Weber. Bob is the transitional employment trainer for the WERC Crew. He’s equally excited about the soft skills participants develop, like customer service, as he is to see them learn building maintenance skills.
While WERC Crew participants learn job skills from Bob Weber, they also work with Andrea West, a transitional employment workforce development manager at Goodwill-Easter Seals. She’s seen dozens of participants learn new skills and move forward in their lives after the WERC program. She says it’s exciting to see people take that step, “It’s gratifying to see participants learn new skills they can turn into employment, like those of a painter or caretaker.”
Andrea says participants often start learning building maintenance in the WERC Crew “unsure of themselves and uncomfortable performing those tasks,” but their confidence increases as their skills increase.
Skills learned in the WERC Crew cover a wide range, but include: custodial duties, facilities maintenance tasks and special projects like minor remodeling and office set-up. The WERC Crew is more than just learning how to complete tasks. Intangible skills learned in the program are invaluable: dependability, punctuality and paying attention to detail. Those are all skills that directly translate to a permanent job.
Some of the jobs found by past WERC Crew participants include: custodian, painter, entry level maintenance technician, recycling technician, office furniture installer, entry-level remodeler, carpet cleaning technician, day porter and caretaker.
Contact Andrea West, Metro Area Transitional Workforce Developement Manager, with questions about the WERC program.