Lifeworks Social Skills at Anoka Technical College

Lifeworks client Tavarrus Robinson smiling on graduation day

Submitted by Kath Pengelly, Lifeworks volunteer and advocate coordinator 

Do you remember your first days at college, finding your way from classroom to classroom, deciding what the best thing to eat in the cafeteria was or remembering to turn in your assignments on time? In September 2011, Lifeworks began a partnership with Anoka Technical College to offer a similar college experience for clients wanting to work on their social skills. A series of classes were developed to cover a broad variety of topics including: reading and understanding nonverbal cues, addressing a problem, how to politely interrupt and finally, “the business lunch.”

Fast forward to April 2012 – This week I had the pleasure of attending a graduation ceremony for the second group of Lifeworks clients who have completed the eight week long Business Social Skills class. Thirteen Lifeworks clients along with their staff attended this series. 

The Lifeworks classroom sign at Anoka Tech

I watched with curiosity and interest as the instructors led our group through the last session which included a mock interview. “Watch for eye contact, good posture, tone of voice and smiles,” said both Craig Asche and Jean Juelich, the college instructors. At first I was not sure if everyone was listening to the instructions, but it was clear that they were at full attention as I listened to the critiques, “Good eye contact Tavarras.” “Good job on your smile, Judy.” “You look very nice today, Steven.” 

Good reminders to all of us. Practical information that will contribute to success for everyone- make eye contact, be an active listener, and most importantly, smile. I can say without a doubt that everyone’s face wore a smile as each student accepted their certificate of completion from Jean and Craig.  

In the next few weeks, Lifeworks program supervisor, Angi Reisdorf, will be meeting with the Anoka Technical College instructors to plan future classes. We want to foster a culture of lifelong learning for all people. Everyone benefits from continually building their skills and knowledge whether it is through experiences or classes. There is a Chinese Proverb that says,

“Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere.”

Thank you Anoka Technical College for partnering with Lifeworks, who knows what treasure lies behind those doors.

Left to right: Lifeworks staff Jamie Kauppi and Andrew Felicilda, Lifeworks client Judy Carnahan, and Anoka Tech instructors Craig Asche and Jean Juelich



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Filed under Client Stories, Self-Advocacy

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