It is based on a successful national program that has been proven to be extremely effective.
“I’m very proud of the program,” said Avery Johnson, vice president on the CSA board. “I just kept saying ‘Amen, Amen, Amen” when I read about this program.”
CSA board members realized the key to this program is the spiritual component.
“We realized, like with the addiction programs, if you don’t get a spiritual higher power involved, we can’t help them,” said Harry Johnson, CSA board member. “The chances of failure go way up without it.”
One new member of another CSA program, Second Chance’s Jesus Herrera, a trainee, put it this way: “It’s the truth of the program — which is the positive difference of the people. ... I’ve been through good times and bad times and it’s the difference you guys make. It was a blessing.”
The goal of the program is to prepare people for work and for life through interactive classes, providing tools and materials, in addition to mentoring. Jobs For Life teaches through the use of Biblical principles and how these principles are applied, especially at work. But Jobs For Life’s success is due to its emphasis on developing the entire person and incorporating a biblical foundation for a well-rounded life.
And the proof is in the pudding. This national program has a 57 percent success rate in helping people find a job.
Some of the specific elements of the program include leadership training, some specific skills training, integrating with the community, and then actually finding jobs for the students.
“There also is a mentor for each person in the program,” Harry Johnson said. A “Champion Team Leader” tracks each student’s progress throughout the program. “This will be impacting lives for decades to come.”
But the ultimate goal for the graduates of this program is to get them ready for successful employment.
“It’s for people who are ready to go to work,” Harry Johnson said.
But getting hired is only part of the solution.
“Job retention is key,” Harry Johnson said.
Launched in 1996, Jobs For Life is an international nonprofit organization based in Raleigh-Durham, N.C.
Today, there are Jobs For Life sites located in 180 cities and 40 states serving approximately 3,500 men and women per year in churches, shelters, prisons, ministries, community development corporations, community nonprofits, etc.
Starting in February, CSA staff will begin teaching classes through the Jobs For Life Program.
“All you have to do is fill out a form to join,” said Harry Johnson.
The first such classes will begin on Feb. 5 and continue, twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays, for eight weeks. Classes begin at 2 p.m. and go to 4 p.m.
CSA would like to have at least 10 students. No more than 15 total, however, will be able to join the class due to the limited source material.
There is no deadline to sign up for this program, Harry Johnson said.
“And this program is open to any Bradley County resident who wants new work skills,” he added.
Anyone interested in Jobs For Life should call the Bradley Cleveland Community Services Agency or come by the office at 155 6th St., S.E. The phone number is 479-4111. The hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.