Career development trainer Brian Smith knows that finding a job requires more than excellent job skills. It also requires a job seeker to excel in applying for and interviewing for positions.

Smith seeks to get them back on track with career development courses, which are among the many classes his Laurel-based nonprofit organization, EduSerc, offers to adults.


"We have been experiencing an increase of individuals who have become comfortable being out of work and have lost the thought process to keep a job or maintain a job," Smith said. "Sometimes it's professionalism, communication, résumé writing or their presentation skills. … I see our organization as an instrument to help individuals."

Founded in 1996, the organization focuses on providing help in the areas of career, workforce and professional development, according to Smith.

"Our expertise and other individuals who work for our organization have industry experience, and we work on applying that (experience) into our programs," Smith said.

EduSerc also offers online courses for adults ranging from learning Microsoft products to various certifications, along with corporate courses for organizations that seek leadership or community development training.

Those programs are fee-based, but EduSerc also offers monthly workshops available to the public at no charge, such as financial literacy, career development and tips on interviewing.

Additionally, EduSerc provides training for students as young as those in first grade, according to Community Relations Manager Yvette Smith, who is Smith's wife.

"Our number of years of corporate experience helps us to adequately prepare young people for corporate America because we know what corporate America is looking for," Brian Smith said. He added that his staff help provide that credibility because they are speaking from their own hands-on experience.

For elementary school-aged children, EduSerc offers Young Innovator programs that are operated as after-school clubs in elementary schools.

The programs allow students to "sample" eight career fields over the course of the academic year through projects, field trips, interactions with mentors and a final presentation in which they apply everything they've learned, Yvette Smith said. Students are introduced to careers in engineering, architecture, journalism, finance and business, filmmaking, informational technology, fashion/image development, and culinary arts. She said students also develop team-building skills, leadership and presentation skills.

"We try to replicate skills they would experience if they worked in that particular industry," Smith said. When learning about engineering, she said, students are given a project, tools and real materials. Industry mentors provide additional support and act as a resource for students.

The organization will offer after-school programs for the 2011-2012 academic year to area schools, including Scotchtown Hills, Montpelier and Laurel elementary schools; and Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School. Smith estimated 300 students participated last year.

"We're trying to excite students and help them find their passion as early as elementary school, and help them make choices, so they have a better sense of what they want to study," Smith said. "We're also exposing them to a variety of industries and careers."