By Charlie M. Holmes
---- — Most people who have heard of Career Opportunities in Rural Education think it’s a program at Milford Central School where adults can go to take classes to help them get a better job. That’s true, but it’s probably not the best description of CORE.
“About 75 percent of our initiative is in directing people toward the resources that already exist,” the director of CORE, Liz Rickard, said. “Only 25 percent of it is coordinating the classes that we feel aren’t being delivered to the population.”
CORE provides education and training in three main curriculum areas — STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). health care and entrepreneurship. The program got its kick-start in 2010 when MCS applied for a grant through the Appalachian Regional Commission. The grant money received allowed for the launch of program in February 2011.
Part of CORE’s mission is to help local people get local jobs.
“There’s such a lack of education in our county about what jobs are available,” Rickard pointed out.
Rickard said she has found that there are certain jobs people don’t typically think about being available in our area, such as engineering.
“Any industry that has a manufacturing component is actively looking for engineers,” Rickard said. “Ioxus, Custom Electronics, the Raymond Corporation in Chenango County, Sportsfield Specialties Incorporated in Delaware County — all of them have told me specifically that they are looking for engineers.”
One aspect of CORE that program leaders feel is vital is their relationship with businesses in the area.
“This network that we’re establishing will really help those people who are coming into our program, that would otherwise be left cold calling trying to get a job, to have a network base that they can reach out to,” Rickard explained.
The people at CORE also realize that anyone who already has been trained to do a particular job has an advantage landing that job.
“That’s one of the reasons our program exists. We want to give people more education because that’s what’s required in the job place,” Rickard said.
CORE works hard to keep the cost of acquiring an education low, according to organizers.
“Typically one of our classes that’s two hours long cost $20 to the average person,” Rickard said.
There is one class CORE offers that is an exception. Because the medical coding class is 140 hours long, tuition for the average person is about $500. That’s about one-third of the price of other medical coding classes offered in the area, according to Rickard.
Classes are also available for free or at a reduced cost to people who qualify for one of several grants that the CORE program offers.
This year, CORE also started offering a pre-engineering class to sixth-grade students at Milford and Laurens central schools.
“There has been a lot of discussion over the last five or 10 years about how our students are going to MIT and RIT and they just can’t compete with the students that are there, they’re just not at the same level, and how do we get them to that level,” Rickard explained. “The idea is to start them off younger and give them constant opportunities throughout.”
CORE organizers plan on growing their pre-engineering program with their students until they reach eighth grade. They say they are hoping that by the time the current sixth-graders are ready to enter high school that the Career and Technical Education pre-engineering program offered by the Board of Cooperative Educational Services will have grown into a four-year program.
People can access an abundant amount of information about getting a job without even leaving their homes thanks to CORE. By visiting its website at coreinstitute-milford.org people can watch a series of videos where businessowners discuss jobs they have available, find job listings and see a calendar of CORE’s upcoming classes
CORE is offering a series of computer courses that are open to everyone. The introductory computer course teaches people how to take advantage of all the benefits of email, Facebook, the iPad and Microsoft Word 2010. People who are interested are invited to attend any or all of the five courses.
To register, visit the website or call Liz Rickard at 286-7721 ext. 8421.