Center for Education & Career Guidance

Charmaine Smith
Education & Career Guidance Manager

Please Note: GED program is only available to our residents in recovery.

Open Door Education & Career Guidance Center

The Education Program-DoorWay to Knowledge
Open Door Mission’s Center for Education and Career Guidance is a critical component that separates our Program from others.

Education in the 21st century is more than ever a prerequisite for employment opportunity and success. Abusing substances at any age prevents learning and intellectual development from occurring. It is impossible to simultaneously have learning retention and abuse substances.

However, education is the first step out of poverty. Therefore, Open Door Mission requires all men in the DoorWay Recovery Program to complete a specified number of hours of academic education each week (the required hours vary based on education level testing at entry and then progressively) during their stay in computer-based instruction to become computer literate, ready for additional academic and technical education or employable. Men with the potential and desire to obtain a GED are enrolled in a self-paced curriculum and, with the help of volunteer and peer tutors, they can aim for passage of all 4 parts (math, science, social studies, and literature) of the examination prior to their graduation from the Mission.

The minimum objective of the Education Program is to establish basic reading and writing skills, basic math and computer literacy. The manager of the Education Program constantly refers to this daily routine as a “Do Over” opportunity, and to not pass up on this time to learn what was not learned during elementary and middle school. When testing indicates that a student is at grade level 9, he is assessed for GED candidacy.

Each client is given an educational assessment using the Test for Adult Basic Education (TABE) early in his stay to diagnose and identify his personal skill level and aptitude and educational grade equivalency level. From the results come a customized academic curriculum, with emphasis on his weaknesses, is created for his improvement based on his personal performance. This computerized program is self-paced and available to each client for daily preparation for regular evaluations of his progress. In order to begin to function in our computer-based society, computer literacy is required, including typing and functional use of the Microsoft Office software (Office, Word, and Excel), most commonly used in job placement opportunities. We are fortunate to have many Mission volunteers who provide additional support as tutors for clients who need one-on-one drill and instruction to achieve academic progress.

Education Requirements and Commitments:

  • All students who test in below fifth grade on reading or math skills are placed with a tutor.
  • All men seeking a GED must complete 10 hours of study per week, and are partnered with a tutor to help them advance.
  • All men who have a GED or high school diploma must complete five hours of refresher education weekly, working on math, language, typing, science, and more.
  • Educational retesting is done prior to promotion in the DoorWay Program to chart progress and determine if students are eligible for vocational or community college and career guidance programs.
  • All students must pass the computer literacy test in order to graduate from the Program.

Volunteer Opportunities in Education:

We are currently seeking individuals with interest and experience in tutoring, particularly in Literacy and GED education.

If you are interested in volunteering with this department, please contact us through the Individual Volunteer Page of this website.

If you are a local agency focused on adult education or are looking to hire individuals who have successfully completed our Program, we would love to partner with you! Please contact the Education Manager, Charmaine Smith at 832-962-4235,

We look forward to hearing from you!

The Career Guidance and Transitional Living Program

Career Guidance

Dr. Stephen Klineberg of the Rice (University) Kinder Institute for Urban Research in his 2017 presentation The Kinder Houston Area Survey states, “By 2020, 65% of all American jobs will require education beyond high school.” This economic reality has led Open Door Mission to establish partnerships with local colleges, universities and technical schools for client admissions in specific adult education programs. Clients who have the potential to be successful in these programs are identified early in their stay at the Mission and encouraged to work towards building a plan beyond getting a minimum wage job. Our preference is to talk about and encourage a career rather than a job. For those clients who are not able to pursue longer-term training or academic pursuits, we also offer the resources of key community partners such as SER-Jobs for Progress, The WorkFaith Connection, and WorkForce Solutions to help the client find the best employment opportunities possible upon the completion of his DoorWay Program.

The newly created (2017) Career Guidance Program has been implemented to facilitate our DoorWay graduates in their growth. They now move from the completion of the 7-month Recovery Program into an opportunity for a lifestyle and career that is self-sustaining, meaningful and productive. A trained and experienced career guidance counselor is on staff to work as an addition to the Center for Education and Career Guidance to guide men in the final stage of their recovery and towards creating a plan for determining their future employment career and how to obtain the education and training required to be successfully hired and retained as a valuable employee worthy of advancement. This process includes a computerized software curriculum and activities to prepare for job readiness, support, and pre-employment services, job placement and post-employment services. Due to the economic circumstances of these men, their stay at the Mission continues free of charge as long as they are actively working towards obtaining these skills and earning the ‘meaningful work’ defined as a livable wage with financial benefits and personal fulfillment in their work environment.

This approach includes scheduled time and regular weekly fellowship events with successful Mission alumni and support agencies prior to graduation. Clients should then feel at ease with making personal choices after they graduate, choices that prior to entering the DoorWay Recovery Program may have been stress triggers for their addiction.

Transitional Living For Employed Graduates

Open Door Mission also provides transitional living housing with 42 beds in the main campus building and at the 11-bed Mayfield House directly across the street from the Mission. These two spaces, with a total of 53 beds, are available to successful DoorWay graduates who are employed but do not yet have permanent housing. The client may continue to live in transitional living until he feels he is ready to go out on his own and has the ability to financially support himself with the savings he has built up since he started to work. Nominal weekly rent in transitional living includes 3 daily meals provided by the Mission and includes full participation in Mission activities (work schedule permitting) and the creation of a financial savings plan. This is the client’s exposure to a sober living lifestyle while still a part of a safe, sober, supportive and faith-filled community.

Interested in this program or know someone who will benefit from it?

Admissions Info
Admissions Info