Imagine, if you will, the factors that pin folks into a cycle of poverty. A lack of opportunity. Broken family relationships. An income that forces you to slice life into a series of cascading needs—your rent, your phone bill, your next tank of gas. And that’s if you’re lucky—that’s if you’re not skirting between shelters. Or just outright sleeping in open air, nestled on concrete curbs beneath florescent lights. That’s if you haven’t had a substance trying to keep you down.
It’s common experience that a good job can change things. Just think back to your jump from work-study to an internship. Or from minimum wage shift work to an 8 to 5, with salary and benefits? How do you get that good job when you’re coming off of the streets? Or from prison? Or when you don’t even know how to start a resume?
That’s why we at Serve Houston get excited about The WorkFaith Connection—they’re in the business of transformation. WorkFaith is a unique organization that empowers disadvantaged job seekers to find and keep meaningful employment. Since 2006, they’ve helped thousands of low-income and under-resourced clients gain the skills and confidence they need to change their lives through work, with graduates earning $28 million in wages in 2014. And that’s not even counting the restored relationships and community involvement that emerges from changed inward attitudes.
WorkFaith’s model is built around an eight-day bootcamp. Students get training on how to interview, fill out a job application, represent their strengths while speaking honestly to their weaknesses, and more. Professional job coaches and mentors give inside advice on skills like how to identify the hidden job market. And students are supported and embraced by an empowering, motivated staff. It all culminates in a ceremony where students gain employment and ring WorkFaith’s signature bell.
It doesn’t end with the classroom, either. WorkFaith commits to follow up with clients for up to a year after graduation, with intensive support for the first 90 days after completing the bootcamp. They also have a well-developed network of businesses who rely on WorkFaith as a source of wiling, capable new employees. Though they aren’t a job placement organization, they promise to work with graduates on finding employment as long as the graduates work with them.
Overall, their program comprises four stages that promises support, community, and help as job seekers transition into better careers and more promising opportunities.
As a Serve Houston volunteer, working with WorkFaith is a dangerous choice. Once you see the heart behind their program—once you spend time with their staff and students—you may find yourself committed to the cause. But then again, maybe that’s our goal. Because a good job can change things—and so can volunteering with an organization that helps folks find them.
The WorkFaith Connection is our Spotlight Organization for the month of April. We encourage you to join them in making a difference—and in impacting our city.
Learn more at http://www.workfaithconnection.org