Congratulations to SOME’s 2021 Center for Employment Training (SOME CET) graduating class! This past summer, over 20 students completed their certifications in the healthcare and building trades. Due to COVID-19, this was the first time we have been able to celebrate graduates in person since 2019.
The SOME Center for Employment Training (SOME CET) is a tuition-free adult workforce training program that prepares adult learners for national, industry-recognized certifications for careers in Healthcare and the Building Trades. SOME CET empowers people to move out of homelessness and poverty and into living wage careers through hard and soft skills training, adult basic education, and career development.
In 2020, as DC shut down amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, SOME CET quickly pivoted to offer students with virtual classes. After converting to an online learning format, SOME’s CET students persevered and completed over 35,000 hours of online learning! We continue to instruct students in a hybrid virtual and in-person learning environment.
SOME president and CEO, Ralph Boyd, was the keynote speaker for the event. Boyd was adamant about praising the new graduates in his speech.
“Our graduates completed 35,000 hours of online learning. Real hard work is rolling your sleeves up and deciding you want to complete a comprehensive job training program in a pandemic.”. He went on, “We believe in you, we believe you can be prosperous, and we believe it’s going to happen … You are building sustaining and rewarding careers. Careers that can sustain you, and uplift your families.”
The graduation ceremony included two program representatives, Angel Parrish (Healthcare) and Christopher Ward (Building Trades).
Healthcare program representative Angel Parrish spoke about the support she received through the program, saying, “At SOME they told us never to give up, even if we wanted to. There were times I wanted to give up, but I talked to God, and looked into my kids’ eyes every day, and told myself I wouldn’t give up.” Parrish finished her speech with the loud exclamation, “ONCE CET, ALWAYS CET!”
Building Trades representative Christopher Ward shared how the program helped him get unstuck in his career, saying, “I applied for the program and initially I was denied, most likely because I had a master’s degree and multiple years of experience in the field. But I contacted them and told them I hadn’t been able to get a job, but I enjoyed carpentry, plumbing, and electrical. The instructors always encouraged me and told me to be the best I could be. After leaving SOME’s CET program, I was already managing different divisions in my current employment using the skills that CET had taught me.”
The CET program has a history of continuous success. Christopher Dixon, a graduate from 2013, was able to come back and speak for the ceremony and attest to this. “I left SOME, and their career development took me far. I graduated and I immediately found employment working at a construction company that works on all of SOME’s properties. From there, I went on to manage multiple properties and managed supervisors. I now work in a development company that manages properties in Florida. CET is an awesome program. It can change your life—it changed mine.”
SOME’s CET program continues to be a wonderful resource for many people in the community. That’s certainly true for the 30 SOME students who graduated in 2019, began employment in careers earning at or above minimum wage and reported an average starting wage of $17.50 (which means the average starting wage has increased for the 4th consecutive year!). 100% of those graduates maintained employment for at least six months and 87% maintained employment for one year.