The pitfalls of the economy, minimal education, high crime, and low employment opportunities are often obstacles to many residents. However, they do not have to be. Venture & Venture is offering help, hope and holistic training.
The human skills/technical training center and management consulting firm, has relocated to a larger state-of-the-art, cutting-edge facility at 102 East Front St and will host an open house on June 5th. Venture and Venture has been working with adults and youth in the Plainfield area for the last nine years providing educational and employment opportunities through community partnerships and training services as a NJ Department of Education certified vocational school with a production studio complete with top of the line equipment, bilingual education, GED preparation, basic and advanced computer training and theatre production.
For over three decades, Mr. John W. Downs Sr., CEO/president of Venture & Venture has provided services for business employment and training organizations, community agencies and the public educational system. They also provide a low-end to high level of technical training.
“We’ve always played a part in helping people to develop themselves and getting them to better their lives,” said Downs.
He said his main objective is to help people achieve a lifetime of success.
Downs started off in the theatre business, as director and co-founder of Theatre Six in Metuchen in 1967. The more he became involved with the youth and school systems in the community the more his role started changing. Along with the roles changing so did the name of the business – Venture Theatre became the new header.
“Writing and producing the plays were easy for us,” Downs said as he described his company’s transition. “We evolved into the consulting business. That’s why we do more of a holistic service. It’s not accidental. It’s a natural fit. We train the whole, total person - not only to live but how to understand life and how to enjoy it.”
However, this wasn’t it.
Downs’ and his staff soon start specializing in consulting. They actually created and designed a human skills training method, “Attitudinal Experiential Training” (AETÔ). This soon became their trademark. They were called in to develop and provide personalized and individualized training for groups to produce “professionalized, job ready workers” and “professionalized, life learning-ready citizens.” It became so much a part of the business that VentureTheatre soon became known as Venture & Venture, Inc., Downs explained.
Finding an individuals’ talents and matching it up with a career that he/she is most compatible with is the other and perhaps, most important part, he added
Reaching out to the disadvantaged and underprivileged is an important factor in Downs' personal campaign to revive the community.
“All the things that we’re doing contributes to the economic growth of the families and in the community,” Downs said. “It will also contribute to their quality of life.”
He wants people whether it be at-risk, unemployed, diverse, or whatever walk of life they are from to recognize that they do have talent and help them to develop it so they may live full and productive lives, he said.
“It’s important for a person to find out their purpose and mission in life,” said Downs, “and working with the talent that God gave them. That’s what kept me going. I knew that there was goodness and talent inside of me and no one could take that away from me. And that’s what our parents and kids need today. If we can do that - we will have a better society.”
Venture & Venture’s staff and consultants are preparing to make this happen.
Ed Moore, VP of Technology for Venture & Venture, said he is determined to close the technical disparity that exists for so many urban communities. He will use his knowledge and resources to become a “facilitator” at the training agency.
“Computer technology and networking are integral parts of our lives and will remain so moving forward,” Moore said. “The digital divide is no joke. It’s ultimately what will separate the haves from the have-nots.”
Various courses will be taught in Networking, Sound Engineering and Microsoft Office. There are also language labs to help Spanish -speaking students master the English language. In addition to the diverse classes there is also a continuous mentoring atmosphere that helps students develop into well-rounded individuals.
Downs has moved full circle from developing characters for role-playing at Theatre Six in Metuchen to developing successful individuals as human capital for real life.
“If you graduate from Venture & Venture you will have a lifetime service,” Downs said. “Anytime you want to walk in those doors somebody will serve you.”
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