Pathways to Potential
Innovative new campus planned for East End
SER continually evolves, seeking better ways to help people gain sustainable employment so they can thrive in life. We serve thousands each year, but demand is far beyond our current capacity and growing. Houston faces an increasing middle-skills gap, and almost one in five youth aged 16 to 24 is neither in school or employed.
We’re finalizing expansion plans to tackle these challenges head on. This expansion will not only give more people the opportunity to gain the education and training necessary to find productive jobs, but will also offer some new approaches, empowering them to create an even better life for themselves and their families, and help strengthen our community.
“We want to create a community hub where residents can access education, training, support services, and jobs,” says SER CEO Nory Angel. “It will also be a place where employers can recruit, interview, and hire candidates by partnering with our team to help meet their business’ workforce needs.”
New Workforce Opportunity Center
Plans include creating a Workforce Opportunity Center in Houston’s East End by renovating a building whose history is very special to SER. The building, located at 1710 Telephone Road, was constructed in 1948 to serve as Tellepsen’s company headquarters. Founder Tom Tellepsen built his company on a foundation of stability, character, and integrity. He greatly valued the workforce and the skilled craftsman, and this value will be redefined in SER’s new home and extend into the community.
The new main campus will double SER’s existing classroom space for courses ranging from life skills, financial education, and career readiness, to healthy relationships, GED preparation, and computer skills. An adjacent 30,000-square-foot warehouse will be outfitted with training labs for specific careers like construction, welding, and healthcare.
Expanding youth development
Currently we serve approximately 4,000 individuals a year, from 16-year-olds to senior citizens, with specialized services for veterans, ex-offenders returning to the workforce, elders, and youth and young adults. At the new center we plan to expand our work with youth by featuring a meeting spot for them to obtain much-needed adult and peer support, occupational training, paid internships, and mentoring to support them on their path to re-engagement with school, higher education, and careers.
Career café for the whole community
Clients as well as community residents will be welcomed into the new center through a “career café.” Here they will have access to healthy foods and beverages and as well as resources to conduct their own self-directed job search via internet-enabled computers, labor market information, and opportunities to interview with local employers. The café will also serve as a training ground for local youth, seniors, and other clients who will gain hands-on experience by managing daily operations and service delivery. We envision the café becoming a hub for the community to gather and meet, as well a venue for local employers to interview potential employees in a relaxed, open environment. The café will also be self-sustaining as it generates revenue through the sales of its food and beverage options.
Doubling number of people served
The Workforce Opportunity Center is projected to be completed in Fall 2017. Once completed, we will be able to gradually increase the number of individuals served to 8,000 people annually by 2020.
“Education and job training are invaluable tools needed by individuals to help lift themselves out of poverty, earn living-wages, and build productive lives,” says Angel. “This center will not only make these tools more accessible, but will also help bring job-seekers, students, employers, volunteers and the community together. Through thoughtful collaboration we can help some of the most at-risk and in-need individuals achieve real transformation, bringing lasting success that will ripple through their families and our city for generations to come, improving quality of life for us all."