The Adkins Life Skills Program, developed at Columbia University, its formal title is the Adkins Life Skills Program: Career Development Series. It is called the Adkins Program for short.

It was specifically designed for educationally and economically disadvantaged adults and youths who share many of the following characteristics: interrupted schooling, poor work history, illiteracy, social problems, various disabilities, lack of marketable vocational skills, poor motivation and low self-esteem, one-parent families, and impoverished communities. These individuals also often possess many strengths of which they are unaware, including hopes that lie dormant but which have enormous motivational value, and abilities that have marketable value if developed.

The Adkins Program does what other programs often neglect: It systematically and sensitively enlists clients in discovering their strengths and taking responsibility for their own development and employment. As one client said: “What I like about this program is the subject is me – learning what I want to do, what jobs I could get and what I need to do to get them.”

It helps clients make informed, short term, job choices and/or long term career plans. It deals systematically with the underlying motives, attitudes, values and behaviors that are desired by employers and lead to successful lifelong employment.

It uses engaging video, audio and print-based learning activities and innovative group action-counseling/teaching methods to change attitudes and behavior. The many learning activities such as modeling tapes, role-plays, games, simulations, guides to inquiry, are used in a sequence that maximize learning.

Research shows the results: clients participate actively and find the process very satisfying. Their self-esteem increases as they see themselves succeed. They attend regularly. They get and retain jobs that lead to permanent employment and career advancement.

For the past 31 years, the Adkins Career Program has helped over 2 million adults and youth, in 2100 agencies, in 45 states, to learn to become employable and employed.

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