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Training, Inc. Spinoffs

Training Inc. business skills and English as a second language training for communication skills

Futura is offered in churches.  Susan Erickson and Marla Burton launched this program in 2017 within a church’s English as a Second Language (ESOL) program to help immigrants understand job search in the United States.  In 15 class sessions, students receive job search skills training: writing a resume, master application, reference sheet, cover letters, answers to standard interview questions, practice interviews, internet job search, and information about other resources in the community.  Information interviews are arranged with contacts in an appropriate field for each student. At the end of the program students have a comprehensive, personalized Job Search Methods Manual to serve them as they look for a job or a promotion.


The main contribution of the training is giving students a safe place to process their experiences and build new relationships.  Pillars of the program are:

      1. Learning Community. A community of learners is carefully created. The new friendships and multi-cultural understanding among the students can be a lasting gift to them.
      2.  Conversation Methods. The  conversation methods bring out student insights, involve them in learning, and help them form new self images.
      3. Volunteer Participation. A team of 4 to 10 volunteers is involved in each of the evening class sessions. Students are assigned mentors, use Google Docs and have a Job Search Learning Lab.  They become aware of a large number of “hidden hands” that are there to welcome and assist them as they heal from past trauma and begin to make a home here. They no longer experience such a sense of isolation.


The hope is that this program can help other church volunteers play an important part in efforts to welcome immigrants flooding into the United States. 


For more information contact: Susan Craver Erickson – or Marla Burton –  


Understanding how to find a job

Spring 2018

Fifth City Business Careers

Fifth City Business Careers began in 1980, 15 years after the launch of the Fifty City Human Development Project. Shirley Mueller directed the program and Theo Mueller, Christina Harris, and Karen Snyder made up the team.  We felt confident about teaching all the curriculum (math/English, typing/calculator, job readiness) but were neophytes in using computers, not alone teaching others to use them. When we purchased two Apple computers, we were afraid to touch them for fear of breaking them. The entire team went to the computer store for a Word Processing training hour.  After watching and questioning the instructor, we were off and running for the next six years!

Training Futures


An award winning adult training program in Northern Virginia, Training Futures was designed and led by Susan Erickson Craver and Marla Burton from 1996-2010.  Its 25-week program uniquely offered college credits to students while gaining workplace skills. Susan describes the role internships and Toastmasters play in the program:  


      • Internships. Remember that play we saw eons ago in Chicago called “Getting My Act Together and Putting it on the Road”?  Internships are like that. They give the industry seal of approval for each person’s imaginal journey. The participant experiences slayed any doubt dragons that the “new me” was not going to hold steady in the “real world.”  It is exhilarating to have an imaginal journey tested and proven by outside, objective forces.
      • Toastmasters was all about the trainees finding their voices and telling their stories. We literally witnessed stories going from those of victims to those of heroes in the telling. It was powerful and often reduced guests to jelly. I often thought of D. H. Lawrence’s line, “the song of one who has come through.”  



In 2003 (the 7th year of Training Futures), the Trickle Up case study was written on the program, documenting the community benefits of workforce development (Executive Summary of case study). In 2007 Aspen Institute awarded Training Futures $300,000 and in 2010 the Aspen Institute wrote this report of the program results. A representative from Booz Allen gives a graduation presentation  and this report shows documented success. In 2011 a partnership between Northern Virginia Community College and Training Futures wrote a case study called “Rediscovering the American Dream of Opportunity” states:

      •  94% of enrolled participants successfully completed the 25-week program, one of the nation’s top success rates for job training programs serving low income workers
      • 84% of participants successfully completed a median of 17 NOVA college credit hours while at Training Futures, more than a full-time semester course load
      • 84% of program graduates secured new jobs following the program, a strong outcome despite the recession
      • Newly-employed participants reported average initial wage gains of $3 per hour over previous earnings in their first new job (29% increase), equivalent to a $6,000 annualized earnings increase.