ROP project wraps first year with banquet

September 28, 2001|By KELLY GRANT, Staff Writer

Imperial Valley Regional Occupational Program's Project PACE wrapped up its first year of existence Thursday night with an award ceremony and dinner for participants and their families.

PACE, which stands for Providing Access to Careers and Education, offered work experience and training for 110 Imperial County young people between ages 14 and 21. Funded by a grant from the State Work Enforcement Act, Project PACE placed participants at work sites within each person's chosen career field.

The program doesn't provide just on-the-job skills.

"It gives them a sense of responsibility," said IVROP Superintendent Mary Camacho.

Participants also learn leadership skills and develop their self-esteem, she said.

"They see how the skills they learn at school relate to their jobs," Camacho said.

El Centro resident Tamara Shelton, 19, was placed at Imperial Valley Medical Imaging Services Inc. through Project PACE. Her paid job experience there as an office assistant provides her with valuable skills.


Shelton said she probably wouldn't have been able to get an office assistant job on her own without PACE's help.

"I didn't have any training," Shelton said.

The work experience is something Shelton will be able to use on her resume and will likely increase her chances of being hired for similar positions in the future. Shelton, however, hopes to stay with Imperial Valley Medical Imaging, she said.

Project PACE was operating on a one-year grant that runs out at the end of this month, explained Program Manager Anna Vizcaino. She'll find out in October if the program will be funded for another year.

The program's value was obvious to Camacho as she noted the number of parents attending the award dinner.

"It tells me parents value what their kids are doing. It's making a real impact," Camacho said.

Staff Writer Kelly Grant can be reached at 337-3441.

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