we launched our Jobs for Life program at the Orange County Homeless Shelter called “Bridges at Kraemer Place”. Through Jobs for Life, we engage underemployed and unemployed men and women in training and preparation for a lifetime of work.
While the issues revolving around homelessness are complex, one primary contributing factor is joblessness. Without employment, many are forced to rely on government and private agencies for assistance. Churches and other groups typically respond by giving food, temporary housing, clothing and the like. But very few (less than 2%) help with job training or placement.
So what if we engaged men and women with the prospect of employment — Jobs that could move them out of poverty and back into the social fabric? We would find ourselves needing to provide less food and shelter as more and more become self-reliant. Jobs for Life is an opportunity that makes self-reliance possible.
“You guys are great to come here, because we have nothing else like this at the shelter. I’m going to finish the Jobs for Life course because I have never finished anything in my life and I want to finish this!” – D. (Jobs for Life Student)
“My mom is in heaven, looking at what I’m doing here, and I know she’s saying, ‘I’m proud of you son!'” – E. (Jobs for Life Student)
“Halfway through the course, one of our students was absent. When asked where he was, his friend said that he “decided to go out and get a job! [He] wanted to be a sushi chef, but had lost hope in finding work. Through what [he] learned in Jobs for Life, he walked into a Poke restaurant, nailed the interview and got a job!'” – M. (Jobs for Life Champion / Mentor)