Jobs for Life

Ask James Mincks, Doug Saunders, and Charlie Romine and they’ll tell you, Jobs for Life made a big difference in their life. As persons with a history of incarceration, they never really thought they would have what many of us take for granted – steady work with a decent salary and benefits. To them, such things were merely an unlikely dream they didn’t think could become a reality for them.

Men like James, Doug, and Charlie have a history of hardship. They’ve made many poor decisions, some of which have caused them to spend time in a correctional facility, otherwise known as a prison. When people are released from prison we consider them to have “paid their debt to society,” but in many cases the “punishment” goes on for years, making it even more difficult for them to live healthy, productive lives—lives where they are contributing members of society, caring for their families, and giving back to others. In many cases they become dependent on food pantries and other community services to survive. That’s where Jobs for Life can make such a big difference.

For many years Schweitzer United Methodist Church (now Schweitzer Church) operated a food pantry. After many years of operating this food pantry they began to take a closer look at how they could improve what they were doing. They saw that at the end of the day they were not helping to break any of the cycles of poverty, but instead contributing to them. This led them to ask what it would look like to walk alongside people into life transformation and they set out in search of what this could be.

The one thing that came up time and time again was Jobs for Life. They saw how this powerful ministry had worked for so many. 

Jobs for Life is a program that not only helps people get a job but prepares them to become long-term stable employees. It includes 16 classes spread over eight weeks. Every participant has a “champion” who attends the classes with them. 

They do this by:

  • Instilling confidence
  • Restoring dignity
  • Showing people they have worth
  • Building character
  • Helping people see the value and dignity of work
  • Teaching soft skills such as integrity, attitude, respect for the workplace, communication, work ethic, etc.

Jobs for Life is a global nonprofit that believes the Church is uniquely equipped to address the devastating effects of unemployment and poverty by helping all people experience the dignity of work.  Through honest relationships, mentoring, Biblically based training and an ongoing community of support, Jobs for Life prepares and equips students for meaningful work.

Each student at Jobs for Life is assigned a Champion who sits with them the entire eight-week session to encourage, help understand the work and required tasks, and to just be a support and friend.  Through this process a change is evident in not only the individual but in the family and, at large, the community as evidenced by the following:

Gaining self-confidence

  • Creating self-worth
  • Developing a sense of belonging
  • Building a feeling of accomplishment

Participants in Jobs for Life classes must attend class, be on time, dress appropriately, complete all homework assignments and embody the principles of Jobs for Life Training.  Students cannot miss more than three classes and missed work assignments must be completed. 

When they’re not working, James, Doug, and Charlie will tell you how Jobs for Life helped them become the kind of father they longed to be. They’ll also tell you about all the powerful changes secure employment has made for them over the past three years. For this reason, Good Dads could not be more pleased to partner with Jobs for Life as it helps at-risk fathers become Good Dads. We see it as an essential piece of our Good Dads program.

To learn more about the national Jobs for Life organization visit their website:  https://jobsforlife.org/  

To find out more about Jobs for Life in Springfield go to https://flourishcdc.org/jfl/

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