“My first time at [the] Care Center for food was on April 3 when you also had a job fair. All the food was awesome and much appreciated; plus, I got a job. The Care Center was a double blessing for me; praise Him. Willow has been changing my life ever since I started attending.”
-Employment Services Participant from Homer Glen
The beauty of the Care Center’s Employment Services is the incredible potential it holds for life transformation. A job can provide hope and a future to Care Center guests in a way that little else can. For a single mom, a job means the ability to provide for her kids. For a 21-year old recently released from incarceration, it means a second chance to build a new life. These stories and others have continued to pour in from guests who have found work and hope through participating in the Care Center’s Employment Services (ES).
The Care Center exists to fight poverty and injustice so that lives are transformed and Jesus is known. ES helps guests move from simply finding help for an immediate need to a place where they are equipped to meet their own needs.
This is accomplished in three ways: employment counseling, skills training, and job fairs. Employment counseling includes one-on-one advice on resume writing and interview skills. Skills trainings involve skill-building workshops and entrepreneurship training courses.
“One-on-one counseling is our mainstay,” says Anne Rand, Employment Services Program Manager. “And the great part of it is that our employment counselors are gifted inwhat they do.”
Each counselor is invaluable, offering his or her time and talent to help each guest. No appointments are necessary and counselors are available every Wednesday between the hours of 10 a.m-12 p.m. and 6:30-8 p.m.
BACK TO WORK
In addition to one-on-one counseling and skills training events, ES hosts quarterly job fairs, which are some of the most anticipated events created by the team. These job fairs have been an imperative component to the Care Center, helping both the unemployed and the underemployed find permanent employment. At the last job fair alone, 31 employers were available to accept applications and conduct interviews with nearly 275 participants present.
At each job fair in the last year, Anne has distributed “celebration cards,” to each participant in an attempt to capture some of the stories of those who have found work and hope through Employment Services. The celebration card is simply a card that guests fill out and return to the Care Center with their story if they are hired by one of the employers at the fair. “It’s been so exciting to receive these cards and read about the families and lives that are changed as a result of finding work,” says Anne.
Employment Services has been active for almost two years, and it has continued to expand its services in order to meet the growing needs of the guests. “In 2014, we hope to do even more,” says Anne. “We just want people to have the skills and the support they need in the context of a Christian community— and to know that God is for them, and we are, too.”
New workshops and support groups will be added over the next several months. September 10 marks the beginning of an eight-week employment support group that was created to help people learn essential work skills while receiving the spiritual support they need.
If you or someone you know could benefit from the resources provided by Employment Services, don’t hesitate to learn more. Register for upcoming events at the Compassion & Justice webpage. Learn more about services offered at the Care Center.