FaithWorks provides unique help for job-seekers
Job-seekers in Abilene have a unique resource.
FaithWorks of Abilene is a 13-week career development course, assisting students in overcoming barriers to employment. While employment agencies merely help with the mechanics of getting a job, FaithWorks uses a holistic approach to the issue of joblessness.
FaithWorks has helped more than 500 students since its beginning in 2003.
Here is one graduate’s story:
“If it weren’t for the help of this FaithWorks program, I would not have gone back to school And I would not have known the potential that I have within me to succeed.
“After FaithWorks, I attended Cisco College where I did receive an Associate Degree in Art. I was able to maintain a 3.96 GPA. I have received an Associate Degree in Applied Science in Respiratory Therapy and am now employed as a respiratory therapist.”
Susan McCabe (Photo: Contributed photo)
The 49th class begins Sept. 16. This class will be the first one to use the updated facilities at 1229 Mockingbird Lane. The addition will provide a classroom that is 30 percent bigger, and a dining room that is three times the size of what is now available. Other changes include a welcome area and a new computer lab with donated computers.
Executive director Joyce Dalzell was volunteering at a food pantry and heard the comment several times, “They should just get a job.” She said that people who come for help at food banks and other ministries lack the skills that they need to find and keep work.
Even such simple things as not having laundry soap or shampoo can keep job-seekers from finding work. Researching programs that might be able to help, she modeled a program after a program in Memphis called HopeWorks.
The program is a holistic approach to the problem of joblessness. Meeting basic human needs is first.
FaithWorks provides two meals a day. The senior pastor at Mission Abilene, Zacheri Espinoza is the kitchen and meal coordinator. Meals are served in a family style atmosphere and are nutritious and high quality.
The program also offers counseling to help students address root causes of some of their barriers to employment. FaithWorks matches the students with mentors who encourage and love them. Students have access to a professional clothing room. They explore jobs that would be a good fit with their interest and skills. They also prepare resumes and learn to write cover letters and other professional documents.
They learn computer skills and soft skills, such as interviewing and work habits.
After graduation the support continues. Many students return for meals, to volunteer and to serve as mentors. Many graduates state that their classmates become family. Tifani Smith, the instructor at FaithWorks, believes FaithWorks is a transformative program for students as well as for staff.
For FaithWorks to continue its important work they need resources. Monetary donations are always helpful, as are classroom supplies. Clothing donations that are “clean, cute and current” help students dress for success. Churches, classes or individuals can provide meals.
Lunch is always open to visitors who want to learn more about the program. For information visit the website at faithworksofabilene.org or call 325-437-2272.
Susan McCabe is an alumna and volunteer with Faithworks of Abilene.
Abilene Reporter News
by Susan McCabe