Community Job Care

Community Job Care
Outreach Magazine Editors

No matter what the unemployment rate, the Church has a prime opportunity to reach out to the unemployed and under-skilled. Consider organizing a job care and computer training center in your church one night per week.
If your church is small, try partnering with another congregation for a better pool of resources and volunteers. Due to the availability of local, state or federal government grants, this can be an extremely cost-effective outreach opportunity.

Advertise. Promote the center in your community with fliers, newspaper ads and bulletin board notices in local grocery stores.

Plan. Tailor your center to meet the needs of your individual community. In rural Manheim, Pa., the number of working poor and unemployed has steadily increased. As a result, Salem United Methodist Church decided to use its extra space to open a satellite office of the Lancaster County CareLink, a local organization designed to assist job-seekers and prospective employers.

Recruit. Enlist a team of approximately 40 volunteers every six months. Make sure they have professional skills and experience and are able to communicate well. These people will work with participants and staff the computer center.

Schedule. Ask participants to call the center to schedule an appointment with a volunteer. Keep a master schedule of all the appointments.

Teach. Provide basic computer skills (keyboarding, word processing, spreadsheets, basic accounting) as well as “soft skills” (interviewing techniques, phone skills, appearance advice and follow-up tips). Have church volunteers help participants enter their resumes online and assist them in an online job-search process.

Donate. Ask church members to donate money, used professional clothing and working computers and printers that can be easily updated with new software. You can also find gently used clothing at nearby thrift and consignment shops. Use any monetary donations to cover overhead costs.

The above article, “Community Job Care,” was retrieved from pg 17 of “Keep the Change, Outreach on a Shoestring,” which is featured in the Outreach magazine. The material was written by the Outreach magazine editors in 2006.

The material is most likely copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study and research purposes.

This article may not be written by an Apostolic author, but it contains many excellent principles and concepts that can be adapted to most churches. As the old saying goes, “Eat the meat. Throw away the bones.”