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New additions to STAR Community Justice Center

Ohio Means Jobs center, GED testing site now at campus

FRANKLIN FURNACE — The STAR Community Justice Center recently added to its offerings for residents.
STAR now has an Ohio Means Jobs center as well as a certified GED testing center on site. The Ohio Means Jobs center, which was brought in by the Community Action Organization of Scioto County through a LEAP grant of $471,072, is a cognitive behavior therapy-based course for both male and female residents to learn how to be better prepared for the workforce once they are released.

“We’re providing a 40-hour career readiness course for our male and female residents in hopes of helping them find employment as soon as they’re released,” Louanne Valentine, director of the workforce program for the Scioto County CAO, said. “The CAO has staff here who teach the Ohio Means Jobs curriculum.”

The course meets for one hour, five days a week for eight weeks. The group currently going through the course is the first since the program started at STAR, and has just finished the fifth week. The female residents meet in the mornings, while the male residents meet in the afternoons. Currently, there are five Ohio Means Jobs classes a day at STAR.

“We talk to them from day one of looking for jobs. We make them realize and recognize the skills they have, how to search for a job, how to apply for a job, how to write resumes and how to network,” John Kirkendall, the teacher for the males taking the course, said. “Currently, we’re teaching them in depth interview skills, role playing, how to keep or maintain a job and how to advance in a job.”

As part of the course, the residents take a COPS Skills Assessment Test in order for them to learn what some of their better skills are, how to apply their skills to certain jobs and what they are interested in to be able to find the right job for them.

“We’re getting the tools we need to have a desirable resume for employers. We’re identifying different skills and how to apply those to our resume,” Daniel Fristoe, STAR resident who is taking the course, said. “I didn’t know how to do any of this before I got here, and I’ll be able to get a job when I get leave. I’m blessed to be here.”

Another resident taking the course, Kelly McDaniel said it has helped him realize his potential.

“Before this class, the bar I set for myself was very low, and they brought that bar up,” he said. “I’ll be more confident to get a better job and I’ll shoot higher for myself.”

Once the residents who went through the Ohio Means Jobs course are released, the local Ohio Means Jobs center will get notice of their release and be able to help them find employment.

Also at STAR is a new GED testing center.

STAR already had a pre-GED class and a regular GED class to get residents ready to take the exam, however, once residents were ready to take it, they had to be transported elsewhere to a certified center.

“We’ve been transporting residents to New Boston, Ironton and even Rio Grande to take their GED tests,” Dusty Kellogg, STAR vocational coordinator, said. “We went through all the requirements to make a testing site on campus and were just approved last week.”

Kellogg said that the process to get the testing center certified took about three or four months.

With the testing center on site, residents who don’t pass the GED exam the first time will be able to take it again without having to be transported elsewhere.

“Last year we had 36 residents pass the GED exam, and quite a few more who were close and didn’t make it,” Kellogg said. “They had no other shot because of class and time restraints. The point of getting a GED testing center here is to eliminate time restraints and substantially increase that number.”