Workforce Solutions Success

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For 70 years Saint Leonard’s Ministries has been walking the path with returning citizens as they work to return to their families and our communities. One of the keys to success for returning citizens is sustainable, fulfilling employment. Our Workforce Solutions team partners with our residents and program participants build a sense of community and belonging while identifying skills they never knew they had – all without judgement.

When we guide people to employment, it’s about more than jobs.

“Our solution is holistic,” says Sunday DavisDirector of Workforce Solutions. “If you’re not OK, you’re not going to maintain that job.”

That means we help participants address mental health, self-esteem and sobriety. People may need driver’s licenses or child-related support. For community participants who don’t live on campus, they receive assistance to secure stable housing.

It’s a total team approach – with the added bonus of some team members who have walked the re-entry journey.

“In doing this work, I take the role of being the voice for the voiceless and advocate for an equal opportunity and fair wages,” says Employment Specialist Stacie Winston. “The work I do is personal for me because helping people is my passion. The service we provide is a service I wish had been provided to me.”

The educational foundation is Road to Success – a two-week course that meets every weekday for three-plus hours.

This job-readiness program teaches skills related to interview techniques, workplace behavior and how to cope before, during and after receiving an offer of employment. Participants leave with a resume and are ready to apply for available positions, or they can continue into other Saint Leonard’s programming.

They also receive support from Clinical Case Manager Venessa Z. Bailey, who approaches her work with a spiritual outlook, understanding of the re-entry experience and educational background in psychology.

“The merging of these qualities allows me to meet the participants where they are,” Bailey says. “The work I do is personal because this is the work I asked God to allow me to do, and God answered with a resounding ‘Agreed.’”

On campus, hands-on lessons are available via the kitchen for the Culinary Skills Class and the studio apartment to tear down and rebuild in the Construction Skills Class.

“It’s very personal because I once was living their life. I was able to get help and start over, so I’m doing my best to reach back and help as many people as possible,” says Jonathan WilsonConstruction Skills Instructor, who teaches with patience and understanding.

Chef Golden MooreCulinary Skills Instructor, combines her expertise in the cooking and hospitality industry with an empathetic approach to motivate and inspire students.

When the program participants are ready to start a job search, Workforce Solutions is ready with a list of opportunities to pursue. Employment sectors have included hospitality, healthcare, logistics, sports and entertainment venues, transportation and more.

“We’re trying to get you a career ­– from a job to a career path,” Davis says. “They’ve been incarcerated where there’s a loss of independence. Somebody told them when to wake up, eat, turn the lights out. The reason they want to have a career path is to support their independence.”

“And they teach me so much. I’ll meet people who are looking down at the floor when they meet me. And they’re too afraid to look up and approach my desk. Now they drive a car, and they come in so happy showing us their ‘report cards’ – which is their paychecks. We become family to people who don’t have a family.”

“That’s very fulfilling. And it is daily.’”

And anybody with justice-system involvement can visit campus on Wednesdays at 3pm to learn more about these services.

Your support and commitment to returning citizens is crucial to Saint Leonard’s work and our resident’s efforts to regain the life the want and deserve. Please consider making your gift today by clicking the link below.

If you would like to visit Saint Leonard’s Ministries campus for a tour or join us for lunch, we would be delighted host you. You can call or email me anytime.

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