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Manchester Community Resource Center Provides Job Training and Education Services

By S. Mathur

The mission of the Manchester Community Resource Center Inc (MCRC) is "assisting individuals in attaining economic self-sufficiency and improving the overall standard of living by providing access to employment, education, and information & referral services in a multi-cultural environment." The 501(c)3 nonprofit Community Based Development Organization has been around since 1998, offering job training, employment and education services.

The target population, stated Renie Denton Executive Director has been those residents of the Greater Manchester and Greater Concord communities who face challenges in finding employment: "... including single parents, TANF recipients, individuals will criminal history, adults with language and or cultural barriers, new Americans, underemployed/unemployed, dislocated workers, individuals with disabilities, homeless individuals and young adults considered to be 'at-risk'."

However, MCRC services are open to all and can be used as needed. For example, registered nurses might come into the computer labs to brush up on their skills; people with college degrees might sign up for the job retraining programs. The education programs give people who didn't finish school a chance to catch up. The two primary service areas are job training and employment, and education. Classes start every month, and there are many customized services such as one-on-one resume writing tutorials for job seekers.

Adult Workforce Development services provide customized job readiness workshops, access to the JobBook which has local job announcements, and office facilities for job seekers, such as public computers with resume writing and typing tutorial software, fax, scanning, and photocopying machines, and notary services. There are two job fairs each year. MCRC also provides customized career training, with resume writing help and computer training. The Adult Basic Education program offers HiSET practice exams several times a year. GED and ESL classes help adult learners to improve their educational skills and employability.

In order to succeed in its goals to improve employment opportunities, increase access to employment related services and provide job-specific training, MCRC partners with the State of New Hampshire, the City of Manchester, local agencies, businesses, civic groups and other non-profits. Referrals to local service providers like NH Housing Finance Authority, the Families in Transition and The Way Home prevent replication of services. MCRC receives federal, state and city funding as well as private funding, including from Granite United Way. Fundraisers and tuition-based services also help to fund the programs.

MCRC has recently moved to a new building located at 434 Lake Avenue in Manchester. The building was recently completed renovated to accommodate the community need. The building is handicapped-accessible and has classrooms, two computer labs and a student lab that provides hands-on learning for career training programs. There is a full commercial kitchen, a break area for students, a conference room and an events hall. MCRC also houses the Lake Avenue Police Substation. MCRC plays a valuable role in helping people to attain self-sufficiency. This is especially important in a slow economy where the job market is changing and requires new skills.

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