The Ripple Effect of Local Philanthropy

The Ripple Effect of Local Philanthropy

Georgia news, in the news, current events, Georgia happenings, GA happenings

The Ripple Effect of Local Philanthropy

Reflecting on her two-month tenure, Ms. T remarked, “Things are going great. I’m beyond pleased with the job. It’s hard to believe it’s approaching two months; it feels longer.”

The center emphasizes that continuous backing, via one-time or recurring donations, provides stability. 

Beyond finanial aid, it encourages mentorship and volunteering, allowing hte community to aid peers in their ascent from poverty. To collaborate with the Georgia Center for Opportunity, reach out to Info@foropportunity.org or dial 770-242-0001.

Read the full article here

*See pages 54-55

 

Q&A with BETTER WORK partner Oatey

Q&A with BETTER WORK partner Oatey

Oatey, Better work Gwinnett, Buford community

Q&A with BETTER WORK partner Oatey

BETTER WORK Gwinnett recently partnered with Oatey, a company that provides high-quality products for the residential and commercial plumbing industries. In this Q&A, we explore the ways Oatey is making a positive difference in the community and how BETTER WORK is playing a key role in accomplishing that goal.

1. What prompted you to partner with BETTER WORK Gwinnett?

Oatey decided to partner with BETTER WORK for several reasons. The main reason is to actively engage in community outreach in the Buford, Georgia area and seek ways to increase Oatey’s presence and connect with local organizations. Furthermore, Oatey is also looking to diversify its recruitment channels beyond traditional job-posting sites, like Indeed or LinkedIn, to find candidates for open positions.

With these goals in mind, we conducted research that led us to BETTER WORK to connect us with job seekers in the Gwinnett County area. BETTER WORK works specifically with those who face common barriers to employment, such as language, transportation, or criminal background. By partnering with BETTER WORK, we aim to strengthen our ties with the community and find new avenues for recruiting candidates for our vacancies. 

 

2. What are some of the ways you’ve been able to successfully work with BETTER WORK Gwinnett so far?

We have already taken several successful steps in working with them and have shared our open positions with BETTER WORK Gwinnett, which has led to a few applicants from their system. Although it is still early in the partnership (one month), this has been a positive start and a great opportunity for Oatey to broaden our recruitment efforts and reach out to potential candidates in a unique way. 

By collaborating with BETTER WORK Gwinnett, we hope to continue to strengthen the partnership and find more qualified candidates for our open positions.


3. What are some of the biggest obstacles employers are facing in Gwinnett County right now?

One of the primary obstacles that Gwinnett County employers are currently facing is a labor shortage, creating a lot of competition for talent and compensation.

However, companies like Oatey are finding ways to mitigate this challenge by offering a very attractive work environment and policies, such as flexible attendance policies and shifts, which draws in job seekers looking for work-life balance.

For instance, we recently introduced a new attendance policy focusing on building relationships between associates and supervisors. Under the new system, associates can make up missed hours at more flexible times or take approved time off without using their PTO.

This approach provides associates with greater work-life balance, while ensuring the company still receives the help it requires. By offering policies that help associates navigate life outside of work, employers like Oatey can stand out in a competitive job market and retain valuable workers.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Oatey increased shift pay for hourly associates with the aim of attracting and retaining candidates who work off shifts, such as second shift.

Oatey’s friendly and family-oriented company culture also sets us apart from larger corporations. It has created a positive atmosphere where people can feel comfortable and relaxed while working. One of our employees even brought in a turkey necks, rice, and cornbread meal for a large group of us. It was a nice surprise, and everybody enjoyed it. We also had a barbecue event last month, where employees from different shifts mingled and enjoyed each other’s company.


4. What are the biggest roadblocks to employment for workers right now?

One of the biggest roadblocks to employment is a lack of education; specifically, a high school diploma or GED. 

Many employers require these basic educational qualifications as a prerequisite for employment. Unfortunately, this requirement can prevent otherwise qualified candidates from securing jobs.

However, there are resources available to help job seekers overcome this hurdle. Institutions like Gwinnett Technical College offer GED courses and testing, including free GED preparation classes, scholarships to assist with GED Testing, and more.

“We have hired individuals who have spent time in prison, and have had a positive experience with them.”

“We have hired individuals who have spent time in prison, and have had a positive experience with them.”

5. Can you share an example of a success story of how a job has helped someone succeed in life?

We recently hired a gentleman who relocated from Mississippi. Since starting at Oatey, he has learned new skills on machines like the FedEx machine and forklifts to increase his earning potential.

With this income, he was able to purchase a new vehicle after his car broke down, which would have been a significant challenge without steady employment, especially right after relocating. A secure job has provided him with the financial stability to support himself and care for his needs.


6. It’s my understanding that you are willing to consider applicants who were formerly incarcerated. What made you open to that and what has the experience been like?

Regarding our policy on hiring individuals with a criminal background, we are willing to consider such applicants. However, we still have a rigorous screening process and certain requirements in place.

We have hired individuals who have spent time in prison, and have had a positive experience with them.

In conclusion, our company is open to hiring individuals with a criminal past, provided they meet our screening requirements, and demonstrate that they have learned from their past mistakes and are committed to improving themselves. We understand that everyone’s circumstances are different.

Empowering Job Seekers: The Gwinnett Housing Corporation Event

Empowering Job Seekers: The Gwinnett Housing Corporation Event

Lawrenceville and Norcross, Carolina pachon, Gwinnett Housing Corporation, Lawrenceville Housing Authority, and the city of Norcross

Empowering Job Seekers: The Gwinnett Housing Corporation Event

Key Points

  •  The BETTER WORK Program attracted over 60 participants seeking employment assistance.
  • The event brought together job seekers, employers, and mentors in Lawrenceville and Norcross.
  • The Gwinnett Housing Corporation, Lawrenceville Housing Authority, and the city of Norcross  joined forces, pooling their resources to help those in the community in need. 

The Gwinnett Housing Corporation recently organized an event that brought together job seekers, employers, and mentors in Lawrenceville and Norcross. The event was a resounding success, attracting over 60 individuals interested in the BETTER WORK Program.

The BETTER WORK Program: Assisting Job Seekers

The BETTER WORK Program, a centerpiece of the event, garnered significant attention from attendees. Job seekers flocked to the program seeking much-needed employment assistance. By participating in the Better Work Program, individuals gain access to valuable resources and support, increasing their chances of securing meaningful employment. The program offers a range of services, including resume building, interview preparation, and job placement assistance.

A Portal for Success: Sign-ups and Employment Assistance

The event witnessed an overwhelming response, with numerous attendees signing up for the BETTER WORK Program through the designated online portal. Overjoyed by the level of interest, our team was delighted to assist these individuals in taking their first steps towards a better future. By providing a user-friendly portal, we streamlined the sign-up process, ensuring a seamless experience for all participants.

 

Together, these organizations demonstrated their commitment to empowering individuals in the Lawrenceville and Norcross communities, providing them with the tools and support they need to thrive.

Together, these organizations demonstrated their commitment to empowering individuals in the Lawrenceville and Norcross communities, providing them with the tools and support they need to thrive.

Collaboration for Community Success

The success of the event can be attributed to the collaborative efforts of multiple organizations. The Gwinnett Housing Corporation, Lawrenceville Housing Authority, and the city of Norcross joined forces, pooling their resources to make this event a reality. Together, these organizations demonstrated their commitment to empowering individuals in the Lawrenceville and Norcross communities, providing them with the tools and support they need to thrive. As we celebrate the success of this event, we extend our heartfelt gratitude to all those involved in making it possible. Together, we are building a brighter future for the Lawrenceville and Norcross communities. 

The Ripple Effect of Local Philanthropy

It Takes a Community

Georgia news, in the news, current events, Georgia happenings, GA happenings

It Takes a Community

A few years ago, Neighborhood Cooperative Ministries (NCM) acquired a complex to further the mission of helping neighbors who sincerely want to break their cycle of poverty and regain financial independence. To remind the community of its expanded facilities and partnerships with other nonprofits, NCM invited the community to an event called Tacos + Tours.

Luisa Beeco, a program manager for Better Work Gwinnett, part of the Georgia Center for Opportunity, (GCO) explained that GCO focuses on family work and education.

“Our goal is removing barriers, and we do it in many ways so that every person, no matter their race, past mistakes or the circumstances of their birth, can have access to quality education, fulfilling work and a healthy family life,” she said. “We have people who are working on research and policy and working on trying to keep families together.”

One way to keep families together is by making sure the adults have jobs. That’s where the Better Work program comes in.

“It’s not like a staffing agency — it’s different,” she said. “I would call it a referral program.”

Better Work has partnered with multiple employers in the area that have agreed to reach out to job candidates within 3 business days for an interview or a conversation to be able to go through their process.

“We have people go through our portal. It takes five minutes. They can do it on their phone,” said Becco. 

Once the applicant signs up, Better Work has a 30- to 60-minute conversation to understand where they fit in the work world. They assess the barriers to work — transportation, childcare, etc. Instead of creating more programs, Better Work connects clients to existing resources such GED classes and English language classes.

Unlocking Opportunities: Empowering Women at Whitworth Correctional Facility for Successful Re-entry

Unlocking Opportunities: Empowering Women at Whitworth Correctional Facility for Successful Re-entry

Unlocking Opportunities: Empowering Women at Whitworth Correctional Facility for Successful Re-entry

Key Point

  • Those reentering society need a plan for gaining stable employment after serving time. 
  • Local businesses will hire and support those reentering society.
  • There are tools, resources, and support available to former inmates.

At the beginning of the summer, Prison Fellowship hosted an inspiring event at the Whitworth Women’s Facility in Hartwell, Georgia.

This event was significant for inmates because many of them will soon be integrating back into society, which can also be referred to as “reentry.” This process can be tough because there are many challenges, like finding a good job. Assisting former inmates in swiftly obtaining reliable employment is crucial as it plays a pivotal role in reducing recidivism rates, or keeping people from going back to prison.

 Tony Kitchens, a board member of GCO and a representative of Prison Fellowship, along with Luisa Beeco, BETTER WORK Gwinnett’s program manager, participated in a panel discussion focusing on the options available to women after serving time and the significance of stable employment in their journey towards successful re-entry. With around 150 engaged participants, including former inmates, the event aimed to provide hope, support, and resources for these women as they prepared for their transition back into society.

Incarcerated women are eager for job opportunities and self-sufficiency:

The importance of supporting incarcerated individuals and helping them integrate back into society has become a pressing concern in recent years. The panel of speakers featured former inmates, our GCO team, and representatives from The Georgia Justice Project. Luisa highlighted the need for a plan to secure stable employment as a stepping stone towards a better life after incarceration. One of the most remarkable aspects of the discussion was the unexpected level of engagement displayed by the incarcerated women, who were eager to learn about their job opportunities and how to achieve self-sustenance. With local community leaders showing support for their ambitions, the women left the discussion with a renewed sense of hope and determination for a brighter future.

“The women actively participated by asking thought-provoking questions to the panelists for a substantial period of time,” stated Luisa. “This eagerness to learn and seek guidance demonstrated their genuine desire to better themselves and seize the opportunities that awaited them upon release.”

 

Stable jobs after prison are key to women finding purpose and success:

One of the recurring themes throughout the discussion was the critical role of stable employment in the re-entry process. Our team highlighted the benefits of having a job after release, such as financial stability, personal growth, and a sense of purpose. The panelists emphasized the importance of using their time in prison wisely to acquire necessary skills and qualifications, ensuring they are well-prepared to enter the job market upon release.

“This eagerness to learn and seek guidance demonstrated their genuine desire to better themselves and seize the opportunities that awaited them upon release.”



“This eagerness to learn and seek guidance demonstrated their genuine desire to better themselves and seize the opportunities that awaited them upon release.”



Hope and resources for incarcerated women returning to society:

GCO provided a comprehensive list of available support networks, job training programs, and organizations dedicated to helping formerly incarcerated individuals transition back into society.

The event held at the Whitworth Women’s Facility was an inspiring testament to the power of hope, support, and education in the lives of incarcerated women. By engaging with panelists, seeking guidance, and embracing the importance of stable employment, these women showcased their determination to rebuild their lives and contribute positively to their communities. The collaboration between Prison Fellowship, Tony Kitchens, GCO, and the dedicated individuals within the correctional facility exemplifies the transformative potential of collective efforts in enabling successful re-entry and giving these women the tools they need to thrive.



Navigating the current economic crisis: A guide to surviving the job market

Navigating the current economic crisis: A guide to surviving the job market

Navigating the current economic crisis: A guide to surviving the job market

Key Points

  • As of March 2023, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a nationwide unemployment rate of 3.5%.
  • Well-known companies are conducting large-scale layoffs—in some cases, laying off tens of thousands of employees. 
  • The BETTER WORK program can help you take the next steps in your career to secure a better job, whether you’ve been laid off or you’re simply looking to move to the next level.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on the global economy, leading towidespread job losses and an uncertain future for many workers. As we continue tonavigate the economic crisis, it is important to understand the current state of the jobmarket in Georgia and strategies for finding and securing employment.

Times may be turbulent, but with the right mix of strategy, action, and support, it’s possible to find and keep gainful employment.


The state of the job market

The current economic crisis has impacted the job market in a number of ways, causing several industries to contract. Layoffs have been widespread across multiple markets. As of March 2023, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a nationwide unemployment rate of 3.5%. But with many companies announcing widespread layoffs, that number could potentially increase in the coming months.

Since January 2023, the tech industry has been hit hard by layoffs in a number of companies. The impact extended to household-name brands such as Meta, Google, Microsoft, Zoom, Netflix, Salesforce, and many others. Beyond tech, other well-known companies are conducting large-scale layoffs—in some cases, laying off tens of thousands of employees. Disney just announced 7,000 coming layoffs, while Amazon is cutting 9,000 more jobs in addition to the 18,000 jobs it cut in early 2023. Companies such as Goldman Sachs, H&M, Walmart, McDonald’s, Tyson Foods, NPR, and many others are also letting staffers go, in some cases by the thousands. 

Ultimately, white-collar workers are most likely to face layoffs as the impending recession looms. Most blue-collar jobs are still hiring, though, so workers in those sectors may fare better.


Strategies for finding employment

Having a support system to come alongside you and help with your job search is invaluable. The BETTER WORK program can help you take the next steps in your career to secure a better job, whether you’ve been laid off or you’re simply looking to move to the next level. If you’re in the Gwinnett or Columbus areas, we’re ready to help! Learn more about BETTER WORK here.

Regardless of whether you face layoffs or not, it’s important to get prepared for the possibility of a job hunt. It’s far better to update your resume and refresh your network connections now, rather than waiting until it’s too late. Here are a few things you can do to boost your chances for landing new employment, should the need arise.

1. Assess your skills and experience: What skills and experience have you acquired over the years? What about transferable skills? Make an exhaustive list of your professional experience and transferable skills up to this point. After that, consider listing out what skills you might like to acquire in the future.

2. Identify in-demand jobs and industries: If you need to launch a job search, you’ll want to start with industries that are actively hiring. You can research specific industries on the Bureau of Labor Statistics website, but it’s also useful to check the pulse of the market by running searches on Google and staying up to speed on LinkedIn.

3. Network and leverage personal connections: It’s always important to meet new professional connections and keep in touch with existing ones, but now it’s more important than ever. Reconnect with professional connections and leverage your network to find new opportunities you might not come across otherwise. If you don’t yet have an account on LinkedIn, go ahead and get set up there, too. It’s a great place to showcase your skills, follow companies you’re interested in, apply for jobs, and keep in touch with professional peers.

4. Utilize online job boards and resources: There are plenty of fantastic resources online that you can use to find and apply for great jobs. Sites like CareerBuilder, Monster, Remote.co, Indeed, and FlexJobs are useful for finding strong opportunities. You can also apply directly to jobs you’re interested in through company websites.

“Having a support system to come alongside you and help with your job search is invaluable.”

“Having a support system to come alongside you and help with your job search is invaluable.”

Moving forward in the job market

Regardless of whether you’re currently job searching or preparing to do so in the future, it’s important to understand how to move forward in the job market. It’s also important to note that, according to Atta Tarki’s report in the Harvard Business Review, it’s “still a workers’ labor market.” That means, for many job seekers, the power is still in your hands. 

Don’t lose heart if you find yourself searching for new work in the near future. Embrace new opportunities and industries, cultivate and identify transferable skills, and get ready to pivot quickly if needed. Stay flexible and adaptable to changing market conditions, and plan for the future. When you remain open to new possibilities, you’ll have that much more control over your career trajectory.