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Photo courtesy of AACA
Photo courtesy of AACA

I am a longtime community services program developer and I wanted to share some good news with my friends in Somerville: The Asian American Civic Association is working with the City of Somerville to diversify its workforce.  The partnership will provide its low-income residents access to job training programs at AACA that will lead directly to financial stability, better wages, and better quality of life.

Priority will be given to the unemployed and underemployed, women, people of color, immigrants, and English-language learners. They are expanding employment opportunities for residents by connecting them to jobs in the city that will also enrich the growing local economy. Now in this second year of partnership, AACA is eager to continue in Somerville to help more residents reach economic self-sufficiency.

One of AACA’s longest running programs is Building Energy Efficient Maintenance Skills.  For over two decades, BEEMS has provided hands-on training in carpentry, plumbing, and electrical skills preparing people for careers as maintenance technicians where they can begin at over $20/hour. Since its inception in 2005, the program has expanded and solidified connections with employer partners to assure well-paying jobs for graduates. The program is continually undergoing changes to reflect the increasing need and demand for an environmentally-conscious workforce. This is a 17-week training.

Careers in Banking and Finance offers students a chance to enter the exciting field of banking. Students train to become bankers at major institutions in the area like Bank of America, Citizens, Naveo Credit Union, Cambridge Savings, and Winter Hill. The course takes two months, so that students experience a quick turnaround time from enrolling in class to landing their first job. Graduates are hired directly out of the program. The class is ideal for those who may need to work part time or full time due to family obligations. As an industry, banking identifies strong employees and promotes them from within quickly. Starting wages range from $16-20/hour.

To incentivize participants, stipends are also provided. Students can earn $100/week for up to 17 weeks of training. The funds are dispersed once the client reaches 30 days of employment at their first job after training.

AACA stands out from similar programs because it makes a commitment to their clients for the long-term. To this end, they work one-on-one with students until they are successfully placed in an industry-related job. Once a graduate is hired, AACA provides ongoing career support for two years. Additionally, AACA offers a full continuum of services to help low-income clients with food, housing, and childcare resources, immigration services, tax conflicts, and English classes. The agency has been in operation now for more than half-century. In those years, it has enabled thousands of people to achieve success for themselves and their families.  It looks forward to expanding its initiatives in Somerville and meeting the people and communities of the city.

To apply or more information, email or call 617-426-9492 ext. 310.

Photo credit: Photo courtesy of AACA.

Susan Chin is a retiree in Lowell

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