Helping to set at-risk youth on the right career path and right life choices is the agenda of SkillsNET Foundation.

The foundation, a branch of SkillsNET Enterprises, is working to apply cutting edge cognitive skills and industrial skills analysis technology to the at-risk population, particularly high-schoolers.

Andrea Green, project manager for the SkillsNET Foundation, explains the process whereby the organization provides services.

“Right now, we are working with youth ages 16-17 that are referred to us by juvenile services,” she said. “These are youth that come from different backgrounds and family situations.

“There are two components to our process,” she said. “First of all, we work with them concerning plugging them into a job skill and life skill. Then, we guide them through a process where they can receive their GED certificate and we provide education training.”

The foundation schedules its clients for sessions at least weekly, receiving personal tutoring and help in school and online services at the foundation’s computer lab.

“One client was expelled from school,” she said. “And rather than just sitting at home every day, we have him to come up here to the computer lab so he can keep up with his studies in his courses online.”

Youth seeking to pursue their GED receive guidance and study material from the foundation in preparation for the test.

“One of our purposes is to help youth to begin thinking in terms of long range and short range professional goals and we seek to direct them to a path leading to the fulfillment of those goals,” she said. “In a recent group, one client said he wanted to become a diesel mechanic and another wanted to go into cosmetology.”

Some of the life skills the foundation staff guides their clients in include identifying job skills, interviewing skills, how to look for job openings, developing skills in filling out job applications and resume building.

“I love it when I see at-risk youth realize their self-worth and their true potential,” Green said. “We hope to expand our services to a broader area of the at-risk populations, not just school students.”

Green is a 2006 graduate of Texas State University, San Marcus, with a bachelor’s of arts in psychology. Born and raised in Waxahachie, she has three years with the SkillsNET Foundation.

Sara Lucius, who works for corporate SkillsNET, recently joined the foundation. She has a master’s degree in industrial-organizational psychology from the University of West Florida.

Andy Miller, a former youth pastor, brings knowledge and experience of years working with youth.

Founder and CEO of SkillsNET Enterprises, Michael Brown, created the foundation and brings to the table industry expertise and a heart to see every youth meet his or her potential. 

“We have a really good team,” Green said. “SkillsNET Corporation is making cutting edge technology available to our students.  We hope to not only educate our clients but give them applicable tools they can use throughout their working careers.”

The foundation’s focus is on being proactive, not reactive.

“A good analogy is reactive people are like a can of soda,” Green said. “When life shakes them up they lose control, blow their top and explode everywhere. Proactive people on the other hand are like a bottle of water – life can shake them up but the lid will not explode. Proactive people are calm and possess self-control. Our life skills training and our job skills training go hand in hand. After this life skills lesson, we would then talk to clients about job situations and how to respond in proactive ways.”

Green said the foundation hopes to gain industry and merchant support from the community.

“We would love to partner with business owners in the local area in creating internships and job placement opportunities within the business community,” she said. “We want to work in conjunction with those businesses to give our clients the assistance they need in order to get on track toward their career goals.

For further information about the SkillsNET Foundation, contact Green at andrea.macias@skillsnet.org or call 972-978-7627.

E-mail Paul at paul.gauntt@wninews.com