Reboot Charlotte: Workforce Development
CHARLOTTE, NC- As the city grows and becomes more competitive, it's easy for lower educated and under- privileged residents to fall by the way side.
Organizations in our community are trying to make sure they have an opportunity to rise up... through employment.
"When I lost my job, I was very upset, I was very down on myself. I felt like a failure, " said Curtis Baker, a South Charlotte resident.
After working in heating and air conditioning for 16 years, Curtis Baker felt helpless for almost two years with no job and no confidence.
Until someone told him about Goodwill.
"I was like... the clothing manufacturer? And he said 'No, they acutally have a school that teaches you different qualities in the industry," said Baker.
The Goodwill occupational skills training includes banking, construction, and customer service.
Even veterans helping veterans in Operation Independence.
Goodwill operates by the motto.. changing lives through the power of work.
They focus on those in community who have major barriers to employment:
Poverty, reliance on public assistance, and disabilities.
"Those folks have been even more impacted by the recession because the competition for jobs in so much keener. As we come out of the recession, we're going to continue at Goodwill to focus on populations that have the greatest challenges," said Goodwill CEO Michael Elder.
Before 2008, the Goodwill served close to 6,000 job seekers. In 2010, that number doubled.
Curtis Baker took on the Goodwill's 7-week intensive course in hospitality and tourism training.
After role-playing, resume building and job searching… he has landed a job at a Pineville Hotel.
"They gave me the confidence I needed in order to go out and get the job I wanted... not just settle for any job," said Baker.
Charlotte is a labor magnet! With close to 150,000 people commuting daily to Mecklenburg from outlying counties, it makes the competition steeper and the challenge greater for job seekers.
That's where Jacob's Ladder Job Center steps in.
The job center offers a month-long, intimate course for the unemployed.
In 2002, the center served under one hundred clients. Today, they serve over 700!
"With high unemployment and a very competitive marketplace, they need the structure and the networking to stay engaged and to do the job searches," said Steffi Travis.
The team facilitates mock interviews, teaches clients how to tailor their resume and focuses on computer literacy in the digital application age.
“I haven't had to apply for a job in almost 10 years. I remember at one point, you could go door-to-door," said Michelle Yancey, a client at Jacob’s Ladder.
Even with an extensive IT background and bachelor's degree, Michelle Yancey is left laid off and looking for work.
"I'm not positive how to find a job in this day and age. What I was doing was not working so I needed some help, so that's why I turned to Jacob's Ladder," said Yancey.
She joins hundreds of others who are building confidence from the inside...out!
The job center even offers free professional attire and business etiquette.
By connecting people to resources, building confidence in the broken-down, and getting the unemployed back to work.... these organizations are rebooting Charlotte!