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Jobs for Life graduates find more than jobs

Special to the Salisbury Post 

During the first two years at Salisbury Jobs for Life, they have seen lives changed. Several families put back together after a long separation, a father who now has his self-esteem back for his children, a woman who escaped from human trafficking and a young man enter the ministry.

Some of the alumni are completing an education at RCCC and getting their careers back on track after interruptions by drugs or crimes. Most of the graduates have gotten jobs and many of them have already received several promotions. More than anything else, the Jobs for Life graduates have gotten a new hope and a second chance — one life at a time.

Becky Albrecht, the co-administrator, has been blessed to be a part of Jobs for Life since the beginning in 2014. “I have seen many changes in many lives, from our students to all our volunteers. No one is untouched when you give to someone else.”

The ministry has continued to improve since the beginning. We talked with our instructors and volunteers to find out exactly what works for our students and what doesn’t work. The group continues to want to meet the specific needs of the workforce in Rowan County.

“We never tell our students we will get them a job. That is not our purpose,” Albrecht continues. “We give them the tools they need to discover what God created them to do. We come alongside them to help them find what works for their personalities and work history. Then we help them form a map of how to reach that goal. We know that one important aspect of looking for a job is networking. We introduce our students to others in the community that can help them along their journey.”

Several of the alumni wrote recently about how the classes changed their lives. Kimberly King said, “I was in a rut over things out of my control. While in the program I got a job, found an apartment and am preparing for college. I can honestly say it was one of the best decisions of my life.”

Jason Sapp, one of the first graduates said, “JFL was more than a class. For me it was a second chance. They provided a supportive environment where I was encouraged to keep myself on track. These folks were a family to me.”

That is where Salisbury Jobs for Life is different from other job searches. JFL wants to help students return to the dignity that God intended them to have. The dozens of volunteers, as well as the whole congregation, open their hearts to the students. They believe they have the best volunteers in Rowan County. They truly love their students and even ask about them after they graduate.

Judy Wirt, the Dress for Success Closet Hostess, says even the volunteers’ lives are changed. “I had no idea what a blessing and joy I would receive. They taught me there was much more down in me that I could give. Because of my experiences with JFL, I realized how God can stretch and equip me for His glory.”

Even though it is called Jobs for Life, this ministry is a life-changing ministry. They are changing lives one person at a time. “We help people find out about their Values, Interests, Personality and Skills (VIPS)” says Rod Kerr, the site director. “We help our students refine their job search according to where they can give their best to their employer. Halfway through the class they begin the job search as we bring in people from the community, representatives from their chosen career field and people from other community helping agencies. Then graduation is always a big celebration at First Baptist,” Kerr adds.

A foundational principle of Salisbury Jobs for Life is that when people work, it provides dignity, value and purpose, verifies identity, creates community, produces jobs and renews community.

Salisbury Jobs for Life is currently accepting applications for the Fall eight-week course that will begin in September. Applications for interviews are being taken now through Aug. 13.

Come by First Baptist-Salisbury from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. and fill out an application or go to www.fbcsalisbury.org and fill out the application and email it to rod@fbcsalisbury.org

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