Pastor of Refuge & Restoration church Ken Jenkins has teamed up with “Jobs for life” to assist in rebuilding the Ferguson community. Jobs for Life offers faith based job training, currently operating in 275 cities, 40 states, and 9 countries and serving 4,500 individuals each year. Jobs for Life was established in Raleigh, North Carolina, in 1996.
Their mission addresses the root causes of unemployment by uniting churches, businesses, and community organizations and facilitating positive transformation within lives and communities.
People in the St. Louis community continue to ask the question “How do we help?” The answer is by connecting people of our community with the right resources. The negative press over last year placed a dark cloud over our city. Now is the time for us all to do our part by getting involved. Something as small as sharing information with someone in need goes a long way.
Jobs for Life offers its resources by way of Churches, Prisons, Re-Entry programs, At- Risk Youth Ministries, Rescue Missions, Substance Abuse Recovery programs and YMCA’s. Business leaders, church leaders and community leader’s facilitate the sessions offering support by mentoring students which establishes authentic relationships. Participants have to be serious about working through the program and be willing to see it through until the end. The hope is for students to understand their self-worth, figure out who they are and know that God has given us all a purpose and has a plan for us all. What’s important is identifying roadblocks that are preventing many from reaching their goals. The plan is to identify what stops you; then take the steps needed to remove them by connecting students with the right resources to help empower them.
For those that were in doubt there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Centene Corporation is building a facility in Ferguson that will handle insurance claims and will be looking to employ approximately 200 people. Schnucks is planning on building a Distribution Center and looking to employ about 400 people. This is great news for the community and students that participate in the Jobs for Life program will graduate and have not only the confidence but the training that will make them ideal candidates for any employer.
Establishing authentic relationships in the community is key. Everyone needs to come together and establish a partnership. Lots of learning needs to take place in the community. The tragic situation has forced us to look together for change.
According to the Jobs for life website there are other churches and organizations that are offering the “Jobs for life for Adults” classes and are also called Network Sites. A Network Site is a church or organization that implements the Jobs for Life’s job training and support strategy enabling unemployed or underemployed individuals to obtain and maintain meaningful employment.
In case you’re wondering why your church should become a Network Site the website points out a few good reasons: People in your community need employment or better paying jobs, Employers in your area can not find the people they need, people coming out of prison need a job, people who are moving off welfare need help finding employment, you are looking for a proven job training model with a track record of success, you are interested in implementing a Biblically-based job training strategy, you need a viable strategy to mobilize your church and or organization to reach out to the unemployed and underemployed, you want to help people transform their lives, you are interested in being a part of a local and global network of churches and organizations committed to the same mission of helping those who struggle with work.
In case you’re wondering about the cost of this all, the website clears up any would be complications or would be barriers to success. The membership is free of charge. With your membership, you have access to free electronic training materials. There is a cost plus shipping and handling for your church, business, or organization to purchase hard copy Jobs for Life training materials. Your site should plan for any other costs to run a Jobs for Life class, including food, refreshments, supplies, staffing needs (if necessary), or other implementation costs. Many sites are able to cover the majority of these costs through volunteers or donated items.
Any church can get involved with this initiative. There will be a city wide training offered on July 14, 2015 at 9:00 a.m. held at the Community Center in Ferguson located at 1050 Smith Ave. Ferguson, Mo 63135.
The first group of graduates graduated the program on Monday June 8th at 7:00 p.m. held at Bishop Calvin Scott’s home of worship, Believers Temple 2115 Chambers Road, St. Louis, Mo 63136.