Life Skills Education

Many of us take for granted skills and abilities that assist us in completing everyday tasks. Life skills include developing and keeping regular routines; being reliable and on time; appearance; and accepting personal, family, and academic responsibilities. Goal setting, decision-making, time management, listening skills, and problem-solving are additional examples of life skills that some students may not have had an opportunity to develop. These life skills are a necessary prerequisite for Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training (EWDJT) program candidates who must meet the challenges of the rigorous training. They are also necessary for a student to gain and hold employment after graduation.

Funding for life skills training is not supported by EPA’s EWDJT program, but is often available from a number of other sources. Programs sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), community colleges, and faith-based and community organizations may provide assistance for students entering an environmental job training program.

Life skills training supported by the federal government is usually part of a larger comprehensive program with block grants to states who, in turn, establish social service agencies and Workforce Investment Boards (WIBs). States may develop statewide programs passing resources down to counties and communities to support local programs. Federal grants may be matched or supplemented with local funds. Each locality is different.

It is important to search local, county, and state labor and social services programs for available assistance with life skills training in addition to other student support. Note that local programs require local partnerships and that every community operates differently. Websites are useful in learning how national programs work and in identifying and providing contact information for local programs.

Remedial Education and Literacy Issues

To improve adult literacy, the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Adult Education has provided funding for programs to teach basic skills that can result in new employment. Funds included in this program also provide for transportation and child care services. For additional information visit (http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ovae/pi/AdultEd/index.html).

The Evenstart Program provides similar assistance through community-based organizations. Additional information can be found at (http://www.evenstart.org/) or at (http://www2.ed.gov/programs/evenstartformula/index.html).

Additional information concerning reading and communication skills may be found at the ERIC Clearinghouse on Reading, English and Communication Skills. (http://reading.indiana.edu/). This site is a clearinghouse that addresses issues related to communication and listening skills.

Literacy issues can be found at The National Clearinghouse on Literacy Education (http://www.literacynet.org/adlited.html). This site provides information on educational materials available to teach English to out-of-school youth.

At the ERIC Clearinghouse for Science, Mathematics, and Environmental Education at Ohio State University provides basic environmental education materials relating to math, science, and environmental education.

Child and Dependent Care and Student Financial Assistance

Funding for child care services is usually provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Child Care through block grants to each state. The best place to start regarding child care assistance is the State or County Department of Human Services, Child Care Services or Family Services. The National Child Care Information Center may provide additional information at the following address (http://nccic.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm).

If a student is on public assistance, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) is a state and federal program that provides funds for support services and family assistance (http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ofa/tanf/about.html).

The Employment and Training Administration provides assistance to qualified dislocated workers at (http://www.doleta.gov/layoff/).

Similar programs include Job Corps (http://www.jobcorps.gov/home.aspx) and the Workforce Investment Act – U.S. Department of Labor (http://www.usworkforce.org/).

Funding to Tribal/Native Americans from the Department of Labor may be found at (http://www.doleta.gov/DINAP/).

The ERIC Clearinghouse on Urban Education at (http://iume.tc.columbia.edu/) is a Web site that addresses some of the issues discussed in this chapter.