Spotlighting Graduates’ Triumphs and Program Milestones in our Skills for Work Program

Last week, we celebrated the graduation of 13 students from our Skills for Work program. Skills for Work is a semester long program, containing two weeks of classroom activities to help students gain skills before entering job opportunities. These activities include the Skills to Pay the Bills curriculum, job readiness training (mock interviews, resume writing), as well as participation in five job shadows. Following the classroom phase, students embark on two 8-week internships with community employers. This semester, we saw students working in areas of Kimberly Clark‘s kitchen, custodial division, and fitness center, and more. At U.S. Venture, students had the opportunity to work in the Legal Department, on several different floors of their 222 Building office, and at a U.S. AutoForce location.

One of our students felt so appreciative for what Skills for Work did for her that she requested to give a small speech in front of everyone at graduation. This is what she had to say: “Even though I was nervous, I was strong and became stronger. I thank you for showing me love, showing me kindness, and believing in me.” 

We are so proud of each of our students immense growth, resilience to push past hardships, and their determination to succeed to the best of their abilities.

Program highlights 

  • This semester, one of our students had the opportunity to multiply the number seeds planted at the Riverview Garden, from 40 to over 400 seeds PER SHIFT each week! Because of this student, many more of those in need will be able to reap the benefits of this garden. 
  • Another student had the opportunity to help out at AutoForce lacing and loading tires. He enjoyed the opportunity to transport tires and be hands on with this fundamental task. 
  • While in Kimberly Clark’s fitness center, a retired employee who was using the treadmill lost control and couldn’t stop it, resulting in her falling. Our student, who was cleaning machines, saw this situation unfold and sprinted into action. She alerted the fitness center staff to get the employee the help she needed. The retiree came back at a later date to express her immense gratitude to the student who helped her, and to get back on a treadmill!
  • A Skills for Work student worked hands-on in U.S. Venture’s accounting center to scan in documents and email these directly to team members. The head of U.S. Venture’s accounting department says our student and the help they provided will be greatly missed!

Program growth

Our students grew tremendously this semester, and we are happy to say that our Skills for Work program did too! Last year, there was a total of six students in the program (including four in the fall semester and two in the spring semester), compared to the now eight at the U.S. Venture location and five at the Kimberly Clark location in just one semester! That means that this one education program grew 225% from last fall semester to this year’s!

If you own a business or know a business owner that would like to provide students the opportunity to gain workforce skills, get in touch with us today!


Valley Packaging Industries, Inc., DBA VPI, Inc. is a nonprofit, tax-exempt charitable organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code. Our tax identification number is 39-0921632.
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