West End Neighborhood House
History of West End Neighborhood House

Manny's Story

Growing up, Emanuel (better known as ‘Manny’) was part of a large, loving family that faced many struggles. When he was 14, they were forced to move after his father was laid off from his longtime job. “Our family lost our house, our cars, everything. That’s when the downward spiral began.” By the time he was a young adult, he was “in the streets,” convinced that he would never amount to anything. He had dropped out of high school, and despite wanting to work, had no skills or training that would help him get a job. Manny became so hopeless that he “wanted something bad to happen” because he felt there was no future for him. It was the thought of disappointing his family that inspired him to search for other options.

After researching local GED® programs, Manny found West End Neighborhood House. In March of 2016, he enrolled in West End’s Education & Employment program to finish his high school equivalency and jump-start his career. Although he started at seventh grade math and eighth grade reading levels, he was motivated by the “judgment free zone” and individual engagement with staff. Within two months, Manny advanced four grade levels in reading and five in math. By May, he was at the twelfth grade level in both subjects and had passed his exam to become a certified Customer Service representative with the National Retail Federation. Manny earned his GED® in July of 2016, only four months after starting the program. He praises the program as an opportunity for people who have been unsuccessful in the traditional school system.

While studying for his GED® at West End, Manny also discovered the Environmental Job Training Program funded by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In his own words, “[the program] changed my life; it’s as simple as that.” Once without direction or goals to give him hope for a better life, Manny found himself on the path to a career in the environmental field. After completing courses in OSHA 10 & 40 he finished his class on Wastewater I at Delaware Technical and Community College and will take the state licensing exam in January, followed by the Base Level Water Operator course next semester.

After completing his OSHA courses, Emanuel landed an internship with Brightfields, Inc. as an entry-level environmental technician. He is working full-time and learning first-hand how to perform environmental remediation techniques in the field. He also has several mentors within the company and the support of West End staff as he learns to balance school and work. One day, Manny hopes to land a permanent job with the company and enroll in other certification programs that will help him be successful in his career. His family is, of course, immensely proud. Looking back on 2016, Manny has accomplished more in one year than he thought was possible in a decade!

History of West End Neighborhood House History of West End Neighborhood House History of West End Neighborhood House History of West End Neighborhood House


West End Neighborhood House offers FREE employment opportunities for youth and adults 16 years of age and older. Services are designed to help individuals build the critical thinking skills necessary to enhance employability and gain and retain employment.

Our Employment Training program provides a unique, individualized approach by providing customers with the following opportunities:

• Job Preparedness Workshops
• Customer Service Certification Training
• Job Search, Placement, and Retention Assistance
• Job Shadowing and Internship Opportunities
• Work Attire and Job Training Fee Assistance

To enroll in the above courses, contact Lisa Graham at (302) 658-4171.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s Workforce Development Program offers residents the opportunity to become employed in careers that reduce environmental contamination and provide more sustainable futures for the community, with emphasis on reducing environmental contamination in Brownfields sites located in New Castle County, specifically in the City of Wilmington.

In order to qualify for enrollment, participants must:

  • Be 18 years of age or older
  • Be unemployed or underemployed
  • Be physically fit to do the work (able to lift 50 lbs., work in extreme heat/cold, etc.)
  • Successfully pass a drug screening
  • Possess a Social Security card, state I.D or Driver’s license; a birth certificate or other U.S. Residence Documents; proof of Selective Service Registration (Males 18+)

Environmental training courses:

  • All participants must take OSHA 10 (Construction, 10 hours) and HAZWOPER (Hazardous Waste Handling, 40 hours), as well as complete a field sampling course through Brightfields, Inc.
  • Track I (Waste Water Treatment Track): Participants take either Wastewater I or Base Level Water Operator. These courses are once a week for an entire semester (58 hours) and prepare participants to work at a sewage/water company or at a wastewater treatment plant.
  • Track II (Construction Track): Participants take all of the following: Lead Removal (8 hours), Forklift (4 hours), and Asbestos Removal (16 hours). After completing these classes, participants will be prepared to work for construction or environmental remediation companies to remove hazardous waste from sites.

The EPA Environmental Job Training Program is offered through a partnership between West End Neighborhood House, Inc., Delaware Technical Community College, BrightFields, Inc. Environmental Services, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC), and the City of Wilmington.  The program offers seven (7) different certifications and licenses related to environmental remediation along with a nationally-recognized credential in Customer Service.  All classes are free of charge and the program is open to unemployed and underemployed Wilmington residents.  The graduates of 2016 are now equipped with both the technical and soft skills needed to start a high-wage career in the environmental field.

Interested applicants should download, complete, and email the application below (see link) to epajobs@westendnh.org or call (302) 658-4171 for more information. Applicants will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis, with priority given to City of Wilmington residents.

EPA Program Application

Bright Spot Ventures

BRIGHT SPOT VENTURES is a social enterprise to empower and employ youth.

Bright Spot Ventures is Delaware’s first social enterprise managed by youth currently or formerly involved with the foster care system. The program is currently comprised of two initiatives: Bright Spot Farms and Popdot Signs & Graphics.

West End created Bright Spot Ventures to offer realistic work experience to youth who have encountered the foster care system. Bright Spot Ventures employs, empowers, and equips youth with the necessary skills to successfully transition into adulthood.

The Bright Spot Venture experience promotes positive and meaningful outcomes for involved youth. Impacts include resume-worthy employment experience which will facilitate the transition to full-time education and/or employment. BSV offers an environment in which youth can safely learn appropriate work-place behaviors, improve time management and interpersonal skills, and develop habits that lead to a successful transition into adulthood.

For more information, contact:

Ally Schonfeld
(302) 658-4171