The main focus of the Center for Living and Learning is on providing paid vocational apprenticeships to rehabilitated criminals, recovering drug abusers, at-risk youth and other disadvantaged individuals. During the 18 months of the program, apprentices receive training in computer skills, data entry, customer service and administration. Further, once they have completed their basic computer training, apprentices have the option of continuing on to advanced classes in the field of their choice. Our apprentices learn the following skills:

Office Skills
• Customer service
• Data entry
• Administration
• Organization
• Clerical work
Computer Skills
• Microsoft Windows
• Microsoft Word
• Microsoft Excel
• Microsoft Access
• Microsoft FrontPage
Optional Advanced Skills
• Microsoft PowerPoint
• Quicken
• QuickBooks
• Advanced Microsoft Access

Much time and effort is spent as well on work ethics, appropriate behavior in the workplace and effective communication skills. As many of our apprentices do not have much work experience, have not been able to hold jobs, or have spent time in prison, training can be difficult and time consuming. Attitudes and behavior learned in prison or on the street require much work, and getting along with others and respecting supervisors is a big part of the training.

Once apprentices have received sufficient training, they have the opportunity of holding various positions within the organization, including three management positions, to gain invaluable real-world experience.

But the Apprenticeship Program is much more than paid job and computer training. It is a comprehensive program that provides a safe and nurturing environment conducive to the recovery of those newly clean and sober. Transitioning to the workforce directly from inpatient treatment or sober living can be very difficult for those newly in recovery. On the one hand, there are barriers to employment such as giving the address of a drug program on job applications, major gaps in employment due to drug use or incarceration, felony records, and little or no work history. On the other hand, there are challenges to regular employment that include drug and alcohol use by other employees in the workplace, little or no support of recovery, and little or no understanding of the problems faced by those new to recovery. Applicants are looking for not only a job, but one where they can learn and progress in a safe environment with mentors who are in recovery themselves.

We require no skills, only a willingness to learn and begin a new life free from drug use and criminal behavior. We also accept individuals who have been identified by our assessment counselor as having learning disabilities. To accommodate this, our training is methodical and detailed, with attention given to individual styles of learning. We move individuals around to different areas to provide as many areas of training as possible, including management and administration training.

Mentoring from supervisors, who are themselves recovering, includes assisting apprentices with personal issues to help them maintain a drug-free lifestyle. We assist many in confronting legal matters, medical and family issues, and any other such personal matters that may arise. There are many factors that contribute to relapse, and when we see something that needs to be addressed with an apprentice, we do so. While we are not a drug rehabilitation program, our program continues to build on the foundation laid in treatment or in a twelve-step program.

Other services provided to the apprentices include:

  • GED tutoring and testing
  • College course and book assistance
  • Management seminars
  • Dental and vision assistance in addition to insurance (much needed for recovering addicts with extensive damage)
  • Group outings that provide exposure to culture and entertainment in a clean and sober environment
  • Transportation assistance for those riding the bus with MTA
  • Assistance in the expungement of records
  • Assistance in handling other court and legal matters
  • Budget planning
  • Clothing assistance for new apprentices and those completing to new jobs

To apply for acceptance to the apprenticeship program, fill out the Apprenticeship Application Form (Word or PDF) and either fax it to 800-391-8259, attention Maria Alexander, or email it to

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