Sign In
Boston Public Health Commission Home


Job Training and Education

The Adkins Program is an innovative multimedia, group, employability, learning program developed at Columbia University.  The program aims specifically at helping economically disadvantaged and under-served adults and youth. The Adkins Program does what other programs often neglect: It systematically and sensitively enlists clients in discovering their strengths and taking responsibility for their own development and employment. In this setting, participants can build their skills, learning strategies, confidence, self-advocacy, and self-sufficiency.  The Adkins Program is the framework for the job-training and education programs of The Homeless Services Bureau.  

Job-Training and Education Programs
The Homeless Services Bureau of the Boston Public Health Commission has two paid, hands-on job-training programs, The Work Experience Program and The Serving Ourselves Program.  The Homeless Services Bureau also has an educational and employment program, Project Lighthouse, which is available to program clients and emergency shelter guests. 

Each program recognizes an individual’s needs and struggles and seeks to support clients in moving beyond shelter.  By utilizing The Adkins Program, the programs help clients realize their potential and foster personal and professional growth. The programs hope to inspire the belief that it is never too late to change the direction of one’s life.  For clients, the goal of these programs is to break the pattern of homelessness. Clients graduate by first re-entering the workforce and gaining new skills, and then finding independent employment. 

With the help of case managers, clients set goals and take the steps to reach them. Clear standards and expectations are established, which encourage a sense of responsibility and self-respect. Through their job-training, clients also begin to discover key competencies and a work ethic that can carry them into independent employment. 

To benefit clients in the recovery process a relapse-sensitive approach is taken by offering individual and group substance abuse meetings.  Referrals to outside services are also available to these clients as necessary.  

The following services are offered to clients:
  • Case management
  • Legal issues support
  • Physical and mental health services
  • Housing placement assistance
  • Job search and placement assistance
  • Access to private health insurance
  • Life skills training
Please see each program below for contact or referral information. 

For more information on The Adkins Program, please visit: 

The Work Experience Program is a work rehabilitation program at our emergency shelters.  Program participants live at either of the shelters during their stay with the program.  Program participants are hired to do janitorial work in the shelters, which benefits their community.  

  • Homeless adult
  • Motivated to take steps toward housing
  • Motivated to take steps toward independent employment
  • Medical and mental health clearance

To make a referral or for more information, please call:
Woods-Mullen Shelter at (617)534-7100

The Serving Ourselves Program is a work rehabilitation program designed to help homeless individuals in active recovery. Clients may live in a shelter setting or in transitional housing. Clients successfully complete the program by finding independent employment and housing. 

 Clients are hired into one of the following areas:
  • Food Services & Culinary Arts Training
  • Clothing Distribution and Inventory
  • Laundry Services
  • Building Maintenance
  • Organic Farm (seasonal only)
  • Culinary Arts Training

  • Homeless adult
  • Motivated to take steps towards housing
  • Motivated to take steps toward permanent employment
  • Medical and mental health clearance
  • A minimum of 30 days sobriety
  • Committed to remaining sober
In addition to The Homeless Services’ shelters and programs, The Serving Ourselves Program also provides valuable services to local agencies within the City of Boston. The Serving Ourselves Kitchen and Laundry provide over 2,000 meals approximately 3,000 pounds of clean linen each day.  The Serving Ourselves Farm grows on average 25,000 pounds of fresh, organic produce each season.  The Farm designates around 60% of this produce is to be used in the Serving Ourselves Kitchen and the rest is sold at a local farmers’ market and in community supported agriculture shares.  

To make a referral or for more information, please call (617)534-6100. 

Project Lighthouse is an adult education and employment program serving the Homeless Services programs and emergency shelters.  

The Adkins Program is incorporated by focusing on:
  • Adult basic education, including math, reading and writing skills
  • Job-readiness
  • Life skills development, including budgeting, conflict resolution, goal-setting
  • Practical and applicable skills for today's competitive job market
  • Pre-employment skills for clients who have been out of the job market
  • Matching clients with available employment opportunities​
Project Lighthouse offers clients: 
  • Computer Literacy, including a “drop-in” computer area
  • Adult Basic Education: math, literacy, and life skills, GED and Pre-GED program placement
  • Lending library and periodicals
  • Workshops in resume writing, interviewing skills, time management, etc.
  • Specialized training for prison re-entry clients
  • Educational advising, including college search, financial aid and scholarship ​information

To make a referral or for more information, please call  (617)534-6100. 
Boston Public Health Commission
1010 Massachusetts Ave, 6th Floor, Boston, MA 02118.
Phone:(617) 534-5395 Email: