ESTA Program

Pictured above: ESTA students are all smiles after receiving positive feedback on their job shadows.


Eliada Students Training for Advancement

Apply for ESTA

Is ESTA a good fit for you? Are you ready to take the next step and begin the student application process? Click Here for instructions on how to download and submit the application. Remember, save the application to your computer first! After you fill it out and click submit at the bottom, an email window will open up with the application attached, so you can send it to us. You may also print the application out and hand fill it out.

A parent/guardian, adult mentor, or young adult may fill out the application. If you have any questions about the application itself, please contact Athena Cole-Ekman, Intake Coordinator, at or (828) 254-5356 ext. 332.

More Information

To speak with someone about the ESTA program, please contact Sarah Dickerson, ESTA Director, at (828) 254-5356 x323 or at

Each year ESTA provides students access to workforce development training, life skills development, and academic assistance.

View our ESTA Brochure


What is ESTA?

ESTA is a 6 month program for youth with multiple barriers to employment.  ESTA includes training, hands-on learning, and support services that provide youth a bridge to adulthood. ESTA includes a 6 month follow up period, where staff check in on youth to ensure they are meeting their personal and professional goals.

Workforce Development

ESTA provides youth the opportunity to immerse themselves in diverse career pathways including Hospitality, Healthcare, Advanced Manufacturing, Information Technology, or Construction. ESTA partners with employers in the community who invest in youth by teaching them specific skills relevant to their industry. Youth leave the program “go-ready” with entry level employment, industry-endorsements, independent living skills, 21st-century workplace skills, and entry into a clear career pathway.  

While in the program youth participate in:

  • Industry tours
  • Job shadows
  • 21st century skill building workshops
  • An internship
  • A paid-apprenticeship
  • Job placement

Support Services & Life Skill Building

Beyond workforce development, youth in ESTA receive academic assistance and life skills education. ESTA staff help youth achieve their high school diploma/GED, and assist youth in their post-secondary school applications and financial aid applications. Youth also get assistance planning for housing, transportation, health care, and get training in financial literacy and 21st century skills. Youth also receive opportunities to tour local post-secondary institutions.

Life skills training in ESTA includes financial planning, communication, navigating community resources, healthy living, and household maintenance.


Partner with us!

Is your business interested in providing a tour, job shadows, internships, or apprenticeships? ESTA provides “go ready” employees for your business, with the guarantee that we’ll support their professional growth once they are employed. Please contact Sarah Dickerson at (828) 254-5356 x323 to learn more about partnering with ESTA.