Local non-profit, Love INC has started a new jobs training program known as Jobs for Life. The first class was held early in September at Shelton United Methodist Church with seven students. The program received a grant from the Wal Mart Foundation to purchase materials.
Jobs for Life is an 18-year-old nationwide program with a successful track record. According to Jobs for Life Site Director Beth Johnston, what makes the program different is that every student is paired with a Champion who helps them overcome personal obstacles and barriers to becoming employed. And each local program is staffed by volunteers.
A Love INC. representative introduced the program to Shelton United Methodist church, where Johnston attends. The church agreed to host the program, and later asked Johnston to become the site leader. She is also one of two program instructors.
Jobs for Life helps students identify their strengths and weaknesses. It also teaches them how to write a resume and practice job interview skills.
Lessons are based on the principles of integrity and perseverance, and classes are open to anyone at no charge, except for active drug users. Volunteers will evaluate applicants to determine eligibility.
Champions follow their students throughout the program and monitor students’ progress after graduation to help them overcome any obstacles to maintaining employment. Some barriers might include the need for reliable childcare or transportation. Champions will also celebrate their graduates’ successes, such as completing their first week on the job.
Sessions are held two evenings per week for 16 to 18 weeks. A graduation ceremony will be held for students who complete the course. In addition, meals are served at every class to help overcome the barrier of hunger
Volunteers for the program are needed in all areas. For more information, contact the Love Inc. office at 360-462-5693. To learn more about Jobs for Life, visit www.jobsforlife.org.