Sometimes big ideas have small beginnings. Such is the case with the brand new JOBS initiative, Catholic Charities newest effort to rethink how we help our clients find meaningful and promising employment.
For just over two years, Father John has driven an effort to find a way to help more of our clients land employment. In visits at our programs, every staff member said the biggest need for their clients was jobs.
Today, two years of brainstorming, discussing, planning and dreaming culminated in a simple open house and orientation as the first nine program “members” started their first day in the JOBS (Job Opportunities & Basic Skills) program. The room, filled with members of the program, Catholic Charities staff and even outside employers, brimmed with hope and excitement.
The first nine members in the new program come from many different backgrounds, including several from Catholic Charities’ shelters.
There’s Henry, currently a resident at our 801 East men’s emergency shelter. When he first heard about the JOBS program, he was skeptical, but decided to look into it. He was one of the first to finish his paperwork to apply.
"I've learned in life there are blessings and lessons," one client said as he introduced himself to the group -- he asked that his name be withheld. "Yesterday I was let go from a job which paid me under the table. And while it hurt, I know the lesson is that my mind can do so much more and the blessing is this program at Catholic Charities."
Another member is Jim, but hopes the JOBS program will help him find more self-confidence and polish his professional manner.
Or there is Bob, another member who is trying to rebuild a career in IT and rediscover his bearings.
The program takes place in Silver Spring, on a wide open floor with spanning views and plenty of natural light. The space sets the hopeful tone for a new program; embarking together to build something new, both as individuals and as a program.
As Father John said, “My greatest hope is for each of you to be successful. Because, if each of you are successful, you help us help others. This time we have 12, maybe soon we can 20, 50, even 100. But today, each of you are trailblazers.”
(In order to protect the privacy of our members, the first names have been changed. But their excitement and energy for getting a better job and career is real!)