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City funds for career training gone soon

<p>Keesha Modesti has long aspired to work in health care, yet it wasn’tuntil the 27-year-old got into a group job training program at ProjectHope in Roxbury that she felt she’d finally get the experience toachieve her goal. <br /></p>

Keesha Modesti has long aspired to work in health care, yet it wasn’t until the 27-year-old got into a group job training program at Project Hope in Roxbury that she felt she’d finally get the experience to achieve her goal.

“I thought this was an open door for me,” Modesti said.

City officials hail the success job training programs yield. Despite the recession, 70 percent of participants in FY09 found jobs in their training fields, according to Conny Doty, who directs the city’s Office of Jobs and Community Services.

Boston typically spreads out spending on job training initiatives throughout the fiscal year. Yet the city has burned through the majority of its job training dollars in a feverish effort to help struggling Bostonians struck by the rise in unemployment — up to 8.2 percent in October compared to 5.5 percent the same month in 2008, according to state figures.

Only 10 percent of the funds remain, which were held over for January to respond to additional layoffs, Doty said.

While federal assistance for job training dropped from $1.9 million to $1.5 million, the city also received another $1.1 million in stimulus money for five group programs (including one at Project Hope) to help create more than 500 training slots overall, Doty said. The training fields include
everything from computer skills to jobs in health care and food services, and interviewing skills are also covered.

“Our participants really want to work. They just need the avenues and tools to make that happen,” said Tressa Stazinski, director of workforce development at Project Hope.

 
 
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