Real World Readiness: Encouraging consistency, competency, and connection

Jessica CeballosAll, Youth Programs

Intro by Sonia Frojen, School Program Coordinator

Real World Readiness (RWR) is a Northwest Maritime Center job-readiness program for adjudicated youth that encourages consistency, competency, and connection. One of our students arrived through the Jefferson County Juvenile Services referral a few years ago. After a year of Real World Readiness, he joined Bravo Team, a longboat seamanship, team building, and environmental learning program. Now he’s coming back to work with us because he wants to keep learning. I feel proud of this student who has transformed over the years from a shy young man into a confident community member. 

Attitude is everything; it isn’t something that’s easily trainable, and often students just need to be given the opportunity to let their inner strength shine. This particular student has one of the most positive attitudes I’ve ever worked with. Each week when he arrives to RWR, he puts his head down and focuses on the task at hand.  His attention to detail, focus, and morale boosting attitude towards his teammates allows him to be a natural leader. In fact, his positivity and motivation caught the attention of a local business person as we were practicing our interviewing skills. This trainee was offered work through what was supposedly going to be a ‘mock’ interview. In this case, it became an actual interview. 

I hope you enjoy reading this student’s reflections on his experiences as a student of Real World Readiness and Bravo Team—how his interest, enthusiasm, and willingness to learn during the program opened doors for him in the local community. 


I got involved in the Northwest Maritime Center through Jefferson County Juvenile Services.  My probation officer told me about a work program at the Northwest Maritime Center called Real World Readiness, a two-day-per-week program that would teach me work and life skills; I told him I was interested. When I went for the first time, I met all the instructors who were nothing but nice.  They all had different experiences in work which gave the program a lot to teach about, and gave me a lot to learn. 

The instructors gave me new ideas for careers I may want in the future. We were always busy and learning new things like keywords on boats or why some boats are shaped differently than others. RWR also offered First Aid / CPR training and a path to be certified with a Washington State Boaters card. The CPR certificate is good to have on a resume, which RWR also helped me create.

When I came for the second session of RWR, I was told that I could join Bravo Team, a class where I would work and learn in the boat shop and also be out on the water. When I was in Bravo Team I met a leather craftsman who taught another student and me how to fit and 

stitch leather oars for the longboats. Later on through the RWR program, one of the instructors brought up a job shadow idea and asked if I would be interested. I went down to the leather craftsman at Artful Sailor to ask about the job shadow. They said if I was really interested I could work once a week with them for two hours. I really like the leather work because it is unique, and the possibilities of what I can make seem endless. 

I’ve really enjoyed my experiences in the NWMC programs because it’s never the same thing—I get to learn new things every day. Not to mention, it’s also really nice to be able to go out on the water and learn how to drive a boat!