SER

SERVICE, EMPLOYMENT and REDEVELOPMENT Program

SER, which stands for Service, Employment and Redevelopment, was a non-profit job training and education organization. It was also known as “Jobs for Progress.” It came about in 1964 thanks to the support of LULAC and the American GI Forum. They recognized the need to help the unemployed and provided training, education and placement opportunities to not only Spanish speakers, but all disadvantaged individuals. The materials from this collection include organization records and enrollee files, employment records, and also case files documenting job training and skill measurement activities.

SER, lo cual significa Servicio, Empleo y Redesarrollo, fue una organización sin fines de lucro de entrenamiento laboral y educativo. También se conocía como “Jobs for Progress,” trabajos para el progreso. Se formo en 1964 gracias al apoyo de LULAC y el foro Americano de GI. Ellos reconocieron la necesidad de ayudar los desempleado y proveer oportunidades de entrenamiento, educación, y puestos para no solo los hispanoparlantes pero también para todos los desfavorecidos. Las materiales de esta colección incluyen informes de la organización y fichas de postulantes, fichas de empleados, y también archivos documentando los programas de entrenamiento de trabajo y actividades de medición de habilidades. 

[The following is an excerpt from a SER progress report. The location of this document is currently unavailable as processing is still under way, but it will be part of the Administrative Files series/ Lo siguiente viene de un informe de SER. La ubicación del documento no se encuentra todavía; falta terminar procesar la colección per si va ser parte de la serie Documento Administrativa.]:

BACKGROUND HISTORY

SER-Jobs for Progress, Incorporated is a non-profit community based organization presently serving as the Western Comprehensive Employment and Training Center (WCETC), whose primary mission currently is to provide education, training, job placement, and other supportive services to residents of Western Maricopa County, outside the city limits of Phoenix. SER, which provides all services under the auspices of the Job Training Parnership Act (JPTA) of 1982, is under contract to the Maricopa County Service delivery area (SDA).

The name SER indicates its three primary factors, Service-Employment and Redevelopment. It began in 1964 as a volunteer  community job service, but has expanded its nearly twenty years of activity into a national network reaching from coast to coast. SER-Jobs for Progress, Incorporated, is sponsored by the League of United Latin-American Citizens (LULAC) and the American G.I. Forum, and has its foundation in a desire to enhance employability “across the board” for all economically disadvantaged. It does this by setting up staellite groups centered within five major economically disadvantaged geographic areas. these groups structre comunity bases and programs, from which economically disadvantaged, may receive job counseling, training, and education. The result of their work is the reduction of unemployment and increasing job career potential lost due to insufficient formal education and lack of technical skills.

The problem of unemployment is not, of course, an exclusive economically disadvantaged difficulty. Unemployment, however, still affects the economically disadvantaged more greatly than the rest of the population. Generally, SER is set up for the unemployed or displaced worker who is either unskilled or under-skilled. This is most exact in the case of the younger segment of the work force. Without skills, and lacking in education necessary to understand or communicate a task, the inexperienced youth has only a slim hope of placement. The lack of readiness and inability to show a prospective employer desirable skills is an embarrassment and sometimes a tragedy. SER is attempting to provide training in a cost effective way and still give the highest possible quality of life to its participants.

During the past 19 years, as a provider of services to the disadvantaged, SER has assisted over 8,000 people to develop skills and to identify new purpose in their lives. The combination of skill development and personal goals of responsibility, productivity, self-sufficiency, and independence. SEr is proud of its record of success in the operation of manpower programs in Western Maricopa County. Our program performance reflects a qualified professional staff, realistic objectives and consistent effort toward unsubsidized placement. We are also proud to report that more of our trained participants are still on the job with their original employer today than is the case with the people trained and placed by any other community.

SER’s philosophical direction and related program goals are determined by a Board of Directors, who represent a diverse variety of community groups and resources. In addition to support form the Board of Directors, we are assisted by the Amigos de SER. The “Amigos,” a formidable affiliated group, consists of corporations which provide business services and funds for the support of the SER program. Their support has given SER another dimension which federal funds could not give. In fact, since the withdrawal of federal funds, the Amigos have become even more active in their service to SER. With affiliated groups like the Amigos, youth programs and education/training programs, SER (as the name implies) is teaching unskilled, underedcuated and unemployed individuals hot “to be” more prosperous and productive, and teaching them how “to become” part of society’s mainstream.

Additionally, as a manpower function, SER links with other economic, community and social development programs. SER provides: (1) implementation of innovative programs designed to address the needs of the people, (2) a continuity of services to those residents who are familiar with SEr and recognize SER as an effective provider of employment and training services, (3) data evaluating the success rate of ongoing services utilizing up-to-date innovative techniques, (4) involvement in the business community, both in the planning and implementation of our services, and (5) a proving ground for mnay pilot projects.

In conjuction with its manpower fucntion, SER provides outreach, classroom training, on-the-job skills training, vocational training, personal counseling, job development, self-directed job search, and other support services. In 1980, SER established a comprehensive vocational-academic assessment component, which provides vocational evaluations and career counseling to SER participants. In a innovative and creative apporach toward porviding academic/vocational education to our participants, SER developed a cooperative agreement with Glendale Community College in 1982, for the purpose of stablishing an open entry-open exit clerical training block for at least 25 student seats. The clerical training curriculum includes word processeing and data entry for a 16-week school-year period. Our SER students are enrolled as Freshman and enjoy all the amenities that every GCC student enjoys. After graduation, each of SER students is certified as a clerical typist (as least 45 wpm) and each student earns ten college credits hours.

As a job placement resource, SER will continue to supply that skilled manpower needed in the labor market in efforts to meet the demands of business and technological advances for trained, motivated employees. SER has successfully placed new employees with city, county, state  and federal agencies, plus a host of business and industries through the Valley.

It is SER’s purpose to build a stronger economic community, enhancing the quality of life for all our society. Toward this end, SER (over the past 18 years) has established productive working relationships with hundreds of Valley employers–both large and small. Many of these employers serve on a special business advisory council known as the aforementioned “Amigos de SER.” The Amigos de SER organization has recently been reorganized to stress the following mutually beneficial functions and activities:

A. SER provides the Amigos with:

  •  a source of recruitment
  • pre-screened applicants
  • continuing employee support services
  • assistance in meeting the demands of affirmative action goals required of private industry by federal regulations

B. The Amigos provide SER with:

  • planning/job and labor market trends
  • a source of jobs
  • a forum for discussion
  • training workshops
  • public relations

With the assistance of the Amigos, the SER Board of Directors and other support systems, SER has maintained a 70% placement rate in spite of recent high unemployment cycles. SER has maintained  the highest entry-level wage (all age groups), of all the Maricopa County sub-contractors. During the past four years SER has succeeded in enrolling over 60% of those clients designated as targeted groups. As labor market trends change, so do our efforts to serve our participants and support the employer by promoting more education in non-traditional occupational areas, SER helps to meet the demand of affirmative action goals required of private industry by federal regulations.

SER has a proven track record and will continue to provide outstanding services to residents of Avondale, Buckeye, El Mirage, Cashion, Glendale, Peoria, Goodyear, Sun City, Gila Bend, Litchfield park, Tolleson, Surprise, Wickenburg, and Youngtown. Additionally, as part of parcel of SER’s diversification program and because of the close proximity of SER Headquarters to both the proposed West Phoenix and Noth Central geographical grids, SER proposes to extend services to the City of Phoenix for fiscal year ’85. Ours is a program of “people serving people” and we are united in spirit for the betterment in our society.

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