Jobs Partnership is a faith-based job readiness training program that brings churches and businesses together to train, mentor and get the unemployed working. “Jobs Partnership of Cleveland has graduated over 500 students. Ninety percent of the students that finish the program secure jobs, 83 percent are still on the job after 12 months and 65 percent of the students have jobs with benefits, with the average starting wage of over $9 per hour,” proudly states Elder Yvonne Tufts Jeans, Executive Director of the program. “This jobs program works.”

Keys and Steps

Classes meet once per week for three hours at a local church. During the first half of each session a Minister leads the class through the “Keys to Personal and Professional Success.” The ten part series utilizes bible scriptures that are related to work and soft skill enhancement. Class topics include: Who am I; God and Relationships; God and Work; Authority and Work; Integrity; Communication and Attitude; Conflict Resolution; and Stewardship and Excellence. After the Keys session, the group has dinner and the participants and mentors divide into smaller groups for more in-depth discussion.

During the second half of the session, Human Resource professionals lead the class through the “Steps to Personal and Professional Success.” The Steps curriculum includes classes on job readiness and job search skills. Steps topics include: Goal Setting and Personal Development; Interviewing Skills; Resume Preparation; Time Management and Budgeting; and Computers and the Internet.

While discussing job search strategies, Steps Instructor, Vanessa Smith, a communications professional at the Cleveland Clinic gave the following insights. “The shotgun approach to finding a job is the least successful. Answering newspaper help wanted ads, randomly sending your resume to employers and sending your resume over the internet have low success rates because of the sheer numbers of people competing and the fact that you are unknown to the employers. A sniper rifle shot approach works better since it involves networking with people that know you, your interests, skills and abilities. A personal referral goes a long way, because that person has a vested interest in your success. It is important that you let people that you have a relationship with know that you are looking for a job.”

The Jobs Partnership Program is successful because it provides the participants a faith based understanding of themselves, the workplace and why work is important. Additionally, they are individually mentored and learn job readiness skills that will help them get a job and stay on the job. Although the program is faith based, there is no requirement that participants join or affiliate with a religious institution.

The program is an all volunteer effort. The instructors, Ministers and mentors all participate on a volunteer basis. There is no cost to the participants for the program. The participating Churches pay for the course materials and the cost of the meals and refreshments.

“Jobs Partnership works and people’s lives are changed. It’s a win-win for all involved,” states Elder Jeans. If you are an employer looking for excellent employees; or if you are a pastor looking for an opportunity to participate in faith-based economic development; or if you are an individual who would like to be a mentor, please contact Elder Yvonne Tufts Jeans at ytjeans@yahoo.com or visit the web-site: http://www.jpcleveland.com.

(Michael G. Shinn, CFP, registered representative of and securities and investment advisory services offered through Financial Network Investment Corp.n, member SIPC. Visit http://www.shinnfinancial.com for more information or to send your comments or questions to shinnm@financialnetwork.com.)

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