Second Chance for a Better Life—Jubilee Jobs
Nearly 40 years ago the Church of the Savior in Washington, D.C. stepped into the job market—not for themselves, but for others. A group of members realized their neighbors in a nearby low-income housing project were struggling to find work. So with the call to "love your neighbor" in their hearts, they began Jubilee Jobs, which has subsequently prepared and placed nearly 26,000 people in the workforce.
Volunteers with the program begin helping applicants develop a resume´. Most have never done so, which is one of their barriers to employment. Most also come with other obstacles they must overcome, including past incarceration, addiction, or homelessness, as well as having barely any computer skills and very limited access to computers.
Jubilee Jobs, however, is a wrap-around program, providing not only that first-step resume´ assistance, but also computer access and coaching on filling out online applications. What's more, applicants receive training and practice in interviewing, which helps them overcome their fears and become confident. Too, the program coaches interviewees on dressing appropriately and will secure needed apparel. Additionally, volunteers work with applicants on expected workplace behavior and anger management.
A growing number of employers know about Jubilee Jobs and will invite applicants who have gone through the program to interview. Prospective employers view the organization as a trustworthy first-round screener that makes their job of hiring easier. If after an interview applicants are not selected, they still have hope because Jubilee Jobs volunteers will continue their work with them until they do land a good job.
For 10-year volunteer John Hisle, retired from executive management in health care, working with Jubilee Jobs one day a week is a blessing. Through the program he has met, gotten to know, befriended, and been befriended by people he would not have otherwise. He is inspired by the resilience of the human spirit he sees in these applicants who are eager to learn and who don't give up. For John, mentoring his new friends is a way to give back. He knows he is blessed to be a blessing to others.
Why would a church become involved in the job market? The answer lies in the name "Jubilee." In the Bible the Jubilee Year (every 50th year) was a part of God's economy of grace, which provided for the land (the source of wealth at the time) to be redistributed to the original owners, giving a second chance to people who were caught in some way by forces that had left them impoverished and on the margins. Helping people have a second chance at a better life is the vision of the faith-based program and the volunteers at Jubilee Jobs.
For more information about Jubilee Jobs, visit jubileejobs.org.
For other faith-based organizations, including churches, that have "entered the job market" in various ways, check your local area. In the Nashville, Tennessee, vicinity one church to contact is Brentwood United Methodist Church at bumc.net and type in "career transitions" in the search bar.