We are excited to introduce you to our new JP team member, Elliott Drake, who is serving as Director of Partnerships. He comes to us with years of experience in relationship building and connecting to community organizations. Prior to Jobs Partnership, Elliott and his family lived in Colorado while he attended Denver Seminary and worked at Mission Training International. They returned to Central Florida where his wife Lindsay grew up, and Elliott worked as a Project Manager for Westbrook Service Corporation. He is excited about empowering people to live more fully as God has beautifully created them to be and has a desire for everyone involved with JP to receive God’s grace and to participate in God’s mission in our community.
Elliott and Lindsay have a daughter (11) and two sons (9 and 7) and will celebrate 15 years of marriage this summer. He is thankful for tremendously loving and supportive grandparents, aunts and uncles. Elliott enjoys nature and his hobbies include sports, architecture and exploring other lands and cultures.
We are blessed to have Elliott join us as we grow our network of Employer Partners, so if you are a business owner, hiring manager or part of a company that is seeking to provide job opportunities, we invite you to reach out to Elliott to learn more!
High Demand Skills Training
The spring 2021 LifeWorks program is underway! Certified Medical Assistant and Electronic Board Assembly classes continue to be strong choices for a new career.
We have also formed a new partnership with New Horizons Computer Learning and Spectrum which provides access to the growing need for information technology support. Through collaboration with our employer partner at Spectrum, we can offer all LifeWorks and New Horizon graduates a resume review for employment as a customer service representative at $18/hr. with spectacular benefits!
CareerSource has been at the center of these planning conversations to make sure this class was fully qualified for scholarship funding. These relationships provide growing opportunities for our participants to gain access to in-demand jobs!
Dr. Barbara J. McLean-Smith
“Let every new day mean something new. Discover and Learn!”- Dr. Barbara J. McLean-Smith
When you meet Dr. McLean-Smith, you’ll soon see why her message reflects a commitment to lifelong learning. We met her in 2012 when she attended a meeting on behalf of her church to learn more about Jobs Partnership. Since that day, Barbara has been part of JP, volunteering as a Coach, Instructor, Team Leader, Resume Coach and Mock Interview Coach; she is also a JP Ambassador, supporting the LifeWorks program financially and through advocacy. When asked why she has been such a huge advocate of Jobs Partnership she says she has been able to witness the difference in participants as they go through the 12-week class and how many of them discover and renew their relationships with God.
A Philadelphia native, Barbara became one of the city’s most influential leaders. She served as a City Commissioner and as a Director in the Mayor’s Cabinet for the homeless adult population. Managing a staff of 144 people, she oversaw 47 homeless shelters that housed 3000 people per night. In addition, she earned a Ph.D. ABD in Psycho-Educational Processes from Temple University.
Then, she “retired” to Central Florida in 1997 to be closer to her daughter. During this new season of life, she became the Principal at Rio Grande Charter School of Excellence in Orlando. She continued her education by earning an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from NOVA. Other accomplishments included a Certificate in School Leadership from Harvard School of Business and being invited to participate in an Oxford University English and Reading Symposium Round Table.
Barbara uses her experiences and skills to encourage participants to learn about their own skills and how they can be used in sustainable in-demand jobs. She is proud to share a story about one of her mentees at JP, Nanette, who was a single parent and experienced a transformation during the program. Nanette says that JP changed her life. This young woman ended up going back to college and earned a degree from UCF and is serving as a deacon at her church. Barbara wrote about Nanette and her many accomplishments in a story for the Orlando Times where she is a writer.
We appreciate our JP Champion, Dr. Barbara J. McLean-Smith!
If you would like to find out more about volunteering like Barbara, please click here.
If you are like Heather, experiencing a recent setback in your career, we are here for you. We have been helping Central Floridians, get connected with the right training and career opportunities, for over twenty years.
Our FREE LifeWorks program is open for enrollment. The Spring 2021 classes are held virtually and in-person for twelve weeks, beginning February 23, 2021.
Click the link below to select your ideal location in Orlando and let us help you get connected, so you can pay your bills, provide for your household, and find a sense of purpose at work!
Congratulations to Sharon Wallace and Gloria Grehl, new LifeWorks graduates who were awarded Star Student designations by their class coaches.
Sharon and her coach, Beverly Hudgins, determined the best path for her would be an associate degree in nursing because she wants to someday own a facility that houses and cares for the elderly. Beverly contacted a retired RN and prior instructor at Valencia from the Black Nurses’ Association in Orlando who agreed to mentor Sharon, provide guidance in the nursing program/prerequisites and assist her with tutors (as needed). She is also postured to work as a volunteer in a Nursing facility when safety precautions permit.
In nominating Sharon, Beverly said, “This program has provided Sharon the courage and direction required to fulfill the purpose GOD placed within her; becoming a nurse will not be a job for Sharon, it is her calling.”
Gloria’s coach, Marcos Madeiros, shared, “she has made significant progress during the program and is now more confident to look and apply for new job positions. Our faith-based lessons were a strong push to her psychological health.” He praised her recorded online interviews. She also participated in class, encouraging and motivating other classmates and leading by example.
82 men and women and their mentors and families celebrated the successful completion of the intensive 12-week training program. LifeWorks has prepared them for in-demand career jobs, and they are headed on a new path in the new year!
Congratulations to the 82 LifeWorks graduates who worked hard to complete the 12-week integrated program! We celebrated their accomplishments with virtual Graduation ceremonies this week.
They came to JP with challenges to overcome as evidenced by the information that we learned about the men and women we served during 2020:
median monthly income was $1,700 and 22% came into the program making less than $20k/year
41% came in without a full-time job
30% were on government assistance
72% had no health benefits
The good news is that as a graduates of LifeWorks training, they are equipped with life skills for work and have been connected to community, education and employer partners! 45 LifeWorks participants applied to Valencia College Accelerated Skills Training Programs…45 individuals who learned about the many employment opportunities and chose to pursue skills certification.
We also celebrate the 61 passionate community leaders who volunteered to serve as coaches this Fall, giving 48 dedicated hours to each LifeWorks participant. We were so blessed to have 19 NEW VOLUNTEERS join the LifeWorks team! Thank you to all those who came out both virtually and in-person to be the hands and feet of Jesus.
Thank you for your continued support and prayers! We appreciate you and welcome your continued engagement in equipping people for life and work through Biblical principles.
Last semester was the highest enrollment in Jobs Partnership’s 20-year history of people looking to upskill their lives and find new opportunities! Heather was one of those students who fully embraced the idea of a fresh start in life and work. Through our partnership with Valencia, Heather discovered the Electronic Board Assembly program. An artist by nature with a natural ability to put pieces together, Heather jumped into this new opportunity supported by some much-needed encouragement from her mentor coach.
Facing a tough personal situation, God led Heather to a job fair where she was introduced to Jobs Partnership and not knowing what to expect, she signed up for LifeWorks training. COVID hit in March, but Jobs Partnership offered real and viable career paths forward into high demand recession proof jobs. We are proud to tell you that Heather graduated from LifeWorks training and enrolled in Valencia’s Accelerated Skills Training, graduated as Valedictorian of her class and received multiple offers of full-time employment even before she graduated!
This is a powerful story of Gods provision for Heather. She went from being stuck and overwhelmed in February to graduating the 12-week LifeWorks training in May, the 10-week Electronic Board Assembly class in September and landing a full-time offer with one of Orlando’s top employers Lockheed Martin in October. Yes, this all happened in the midst of a pandemic!
We celebrate Heather’s success and others like her as we continue to prepare people for life and work with Biblical principles.
The key to Jobs Partnership’s success over the past 20 years is our Church Partners. Many, like Washington Shores Church of Christ, believe that Jobs Partnership is missionally aligned with their core values and provides a tool for the church to serve the people of the community. Phil and Elleen Ellis who are ministerial leaders at Washington Shores Church of Christ initially agreed to observe a LifeWorks class site to learn more before potentially hosting a class at their church. Because of the need for additional coach mentors, they quickly found themselves serving as coaches. During their first semester, they learned first-hand how beneficial LifeWorks is to both the coaches and participants. They looked forward to the speakers and using the affirmations to strengthen themselves during the week.
The following semester, Washington Shores Church of Christ, with the leadership of the Ellis’, jumped in 100% to host a class at their church and bring together all the volunteers needed to run the class. They also purchased laptops for the participants to use for classes and financially supported JP’s efforts to expand LifeWorks training to serve more people struggling with work. When the pandemic hit, Washington Shores’ site leaders found themselves shifting and learning not only how to be a host site, but how to be a virtual host site. They were successful and their virtual graduation after the 12-week program was a celebration!
Because of COVID, Washington Shores Church of Christ could not host an in-person class this Fall semester, but the team of volunteers shifted once again, joining Thursday’s virtual LifeWorks class. The Ellis’ both agree that they miss in-person classes yet have fully embraced virtual learning. They shared that the participants are more transparent on a virtual platform and have pushed themselves out of their comfort zones. Asked about their greatest accomplishment as a mentor coach, Phil said his is “getting people to see they have value and building confidence,” and Elleen said, “seeing the ladies make it to the finish line.”
Why have they served for three semesters, despite all the obstacles and challenges they’ve faced? “Washington Shores is an underserved community, and the church has a responsibility to serve the people of the community.”
Jobs Partnership is grateful for the commitment and sacrificial service of power couple Phil and Elleen Ellis.
Nader Soliman Redirects His Career Through Training
Nader Soliman came to the United States three years ago along with his wife and two children. In his native country of Egypt, Nader worked as an engineer, but in the U.S., he struggled to find work that uses his natural aptitude for problem-solving and engineering.
While searching for work on OrlandoJobs.com, Nader discovered Jobs Partnership and the 12-week LifeWorks training and at the direction of his mentors, Nader was directed to the Mechatronics Certification Program at Valencia College. In addition, Jobs Partnership connected him with CareerSource who awarded him with a scholarship to cover tuition costs.
The Spring LifeWorks session saw record enrollment in short term skills training classes at Valencia College. Students, like Nader, seized the opportunity to redirect their career into an industry that is in high demand.
For Nader and the many other LifeWorks participants, Jobs Partnership is a connector. It connects him to classes and opportunities specific to the demands of the Central Florida employment market while using the skills, natural abilities, and talent.
Nader told us that he is excited about his bright future! We agree!
COVID Generates Innovation and New Partners
When COVID hit, LifeWorks classes were underway at seven sites in Orange County with plans to add two more this Fall. The impact of COVID has caused us to innovate and create new ways to deliver our mission.
This semester, we will host two virtual classes and two in-person classes. We are excited to welcome The Kingdom Church as they partner with New Life Ministries to bring a NEW class site to the Pine Hills community. We’re also happy to welcome Heart of MercyMinistries as they partner with New Life Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church. Thank you First Presbyterian Church Orlando and Lifebridge Church for supporting the Mercy Drive community.
Our Community Resource and Career fairs will shift to a virtual Showcase, currently being developed by our team. A new model has been created for LifeWorks participants to get in front of employers with employment opportunities. Business partners are invited to host JP Tours where small groups of participants can preview a job opportunity. They will learn about the organization, the culture, application process, and career growth opportunities. Businesses can then choose to offer on-the-spot interviews.
We look forward to these new changes to prepare people for life and work with Biblical principles. Together, we’re helping people bridge the opportunity and skills gap to connect to better jobs!