As often happens, today’s
broad and rapidly growing Jobs for Life movement had a simple
beginning (formerly National Jobs Partnership), in 1996 during
a casual lunch Raleigh, NC.
Chris Mangum, at that time head of a major contracting company and Reverend
Donald L. McCoy, pastor of the Pleasant Hill United Church
of Christ, were chatting during lunch when Chris happened
to mention, “I’ve got a lot of idle trucks,
I just can’t find good drivers.”
Then Pastor McCoy quickly replied, “That’s interesting,
in my congregation I have a lot of idle people who just
can’t find good jobs.”
At that moment, a movement was born.
Chris and Pastor McCoy went out into their communities, each
to find twelve others to make up a partnership of businesses
and churches, with the common mission of reaching, mentoring,
training and employing their unemployed and under-employed
neighbors. Within a few weeks Jobs Partnership of Raleigh
was formally launched.
Early on, it was clear that effective leadership was necessary,
so a Steering Committee was put together with eight pastors
of different denominations and race, together with seven leaders
of diverse businesses effectively reflecting and representing
the home city of Raleigh. This Steering Committee developed
a strategy to successfully move their neighbors from unemployment
to financial self-sufficiency, through a process of classroom
education with a two-fold curriculum of basic workplace skills
and ethics, all the necessary tools to get and keep a job.
Because of this early suucess, cites like Washington, DC; Orlando, FL; Indianapolis, IN; Brenham, TX; Little Rock, AR and Cleveland, OH have replicated what took place in Raleigh by building their own Jobs Partnership organizations.
In the years since its founding the original mission has grown
exponentially in energy, purpose and – most important
of all – effectiveness.
These past years have been a time of constant assessment,
refinement, further trial, feedback, analysis of results,
follow through with those helped and continuous evolution
of the program - always in search for the best way.
And now renamed and relaunched as Jobs for Life, the movement
has developed a powerful, dependable, repeatable system, combining
community immersion, neighbor-helping-neighbor, mentoring,
instruction, learning, coaching, all proceeding down a permanent
path, all rooted in the foundation of faith.
The results are extraordinary and possibly unprecedented.
While most broad scale initiatives designed to help the jobless
find work and emerge from poverty have a follow-on success
rate (those who are still at work after a year) of only about
20%, Studies show that Jobs for Life can show results that
are just the opposite. After 1 full year, between 70-80% of those
who commit to follow the Jobs for Life way are still employed,
with stable, growing lives.