DESHAYLA’S STORY

Meet Deshayla, a  Fall 2019 JP Grad! This year we offered our participants a unique opportunity to enroll in a class at Valencia College where they could learn how to become a Certified Medical Assistant. One of those students was Deshayla Willoughby.  Check out her powerful story…

“The first thing that comes to mind when I think about what motivates me and keeps me going is God. Just three years ago I was sleeping on a park bench, pregnant with no diploma no license, no direction and no goals. God kept me protected through all the bad times and He showed me that I could be more than just okay I could be great!  My kids are my second biggest motivators. I was told I couldn’t have kids then God blessed me with two and I swore to God that I would do everything in my power to take care of my little boys and set a good example for them. I want to give them everything that I did not have and more. I want to be that example for my kids to let them know that just because you fall down doesn’t mean you can’t get back up, and that when you get back up that doesn’t mean that you’re limited on what you can do. If you put your mind to it and you stay focused, determined, and motivated that you can achieve anything you put your mind to! My third biggest motivator are my coaches and my Jobs Partnership family. They care about my success so much that it’s impossible not to want to push forward and do better. Just seeing how much they believe in me, makes me believe in me so much more.  Last, but definitely not least, I feel like I’m one of my biggest motivators. I believe in me so much I can’t fail, and I feel like no matter how much anyone else believes in me or how much support I receive from my family and my friends that if I don’t believe in me then I wouldn’t be able to succeed.”

Deshayla and the other six Medical Assisting students are set to graduate at the end of February with a license that will open up their pathway to a professional medical career! The medical industry is exploding with growth in Central Florida. Advent Health and Orlando Health participated in our recent Career Fair and are invested in connecting our trained and eager participants to high growth career opportunities!

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20th Anniversary Kick-off Celebration

In 1999, the Orlando Regional Chamber of Commerce was looking into the future with an initiative called Workforce 2020. The project brought the business and faith communities together to solve a problem – the anticipated exodus of Baby Boomers from the workforce beginning in 2020. Marc Stanakis and Pastor Sylvester Robinson were introduced, and along with several others, launched a pilot program to provide training to up-skill people for the workforce. The success of the pilot resulted in the nonprofit called Jobs Partnership!

20 years later, thousands of volunteers, many churches, businesses, community partners and donors have helped 2,500 people graduate from Lifeworks training and pursue a job that matches their strengths and provides opportunities for career and wage growth.

On October 16th, many of the people who have grown with Job Partnership – volunteers, graduates and other champions – gathered at The Balcony in downtown Orlando to celebrate, reminisce and look ahead. One of the highlights of the evening was a corporate prayer time for the city of Orlando. As attendees divided East, West, North and South on the balcony overlooking the city, pastors blanketed all areas in prayer. The focus was the many men and women who have yet to discover Jobs Partnership and the life changing tools that it provides to change lives, families and generations. It was a night of joy!

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What’s coming?

You might ask “what is a cohort”? Well, it’s a group of people taking the time to learn the same thing together. So, what is Jobs Partnership doing with this and why is it important? Our employment market is changing…rapidly! We must continue to innovate if we are to effectively serve the students of our future. It is no longer good enough to be a great person with a great work ethic. That is certainly “nice,” but the “necessary” thing to have is a skillset that is in high demand. Employers want people that can bring immediate value to their business and knowing this is important. What we also know is that there are certain sectors of the job market that are exploding with growth. This is where we find the great jobs with great pay and Jobs Partnership has a mission to connect these opportunities to our students.

We have been working with our partners at Orange Technical College, Valencia College and The Second Harvest Culinary School to create cohorts of students who will be prepared for high demand jobs. All these institutions have superb programs that offer short term accelerated skills training in areas of our economy with the greatest need.  Carolyn McMorran, Assistant Vice President for Professional Continuing Education at Valencia College recently said when she addressed our current graduates, “This is a perfect storm! We have a supply and demand problem, and that offers a terrific opportunity for those that are willing to equip themselves with valuable high demand skills.”

The decisions surrounding the cohorts we offer depend on many different factors, and one of these is transportation. The new downtown campus at Valencia is located within walking distance to the bus line, as is the downtown campus of Orange Technical College. Another factor is the length of the program, and the time commitment throughout the day. Our students need to be able to continue to work and provide for their families, so we are only offering opportunities that meet all these requirements.

Cohorts are an exciting way forward for Jobs Partnership students that are ready to take this on! In the Spring of 2020, we will have cohorts in the construction, manufacturing, distribution and culinary industries. Each of these opportunities will come with Job Placement through a collaboration with the educators and our employer partners.  Stay tuned for continuing updates on this new initiative and the student’s stories that become part of our Jobs Partnership family.

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RECORD-BREAKING RESULTS

It’s hard to believe that the Fall 2019 semester has come and gone!  Each Jobs Partnership Graduation marks the successful completion of our 12-week Lifeworks training for men and women.  And, we broke records this semester!  

The evening of graduation was full of enthusiasm, hope, optimism, laughter, and even a few tears. We celebrated both the accomplishments and the perseverance of our participants.  There was an 84% retention rate with 74% of our participants having perfect attendance!

We couldn’t have done it without your support! Thank you for your invaluable contributions.

Special thanks to First Presbyterian Church Downtown, for hosting the past 11 years.

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New Winter Garden Class Serves More People

The first of four new LifeWorks training sites is underway at Orange Technical College’s Winter Garden campus. Part of the Expansion Plan to double sites in Orange County by Spring 2020 to eight total, the class is supported by St. Luke’s United Methodist Church and Mosaic Church.

Yvette Desrosiers-Alphonse, JP Site Coordinator, works with the church partners to recruit volunteers and coordinate the class. As a member of St. Luke’s, she sees LifeWorks as a “great marriage of meeting a community need and meeting a strategic plan initiative to take the church into the community.”

Lee Grande, volunteer Head Coach for the class, says that there is a 1:1 ratio between students and volunteer coaches. She notes that the commitment from the coaches has been remarkable, and they’re spending extensive time outside of the classroom to help their students.

Lee also notes that the students are particularly strong and will have great opportunities. Most have some type of job, but want to move up or into another industry. The class is giving them the strategies, including how to overcome age barriers for some. As a former senior HR executive, Lee says the Life portion of the class is lifting people up and the LifeWorks Career Fair, which brings business partners and JP job seekers together, is a unique and intimate opportunity. She adds that both are unusual compared to what goes on in the marketplace.

Longtime volunteer, advocate and JP Board member, Dorathy Nevitt is the Team Leader for the class and a member of St. Luke’s. She is Director of Human Resources at Orlando World Center Marriott and brings that experience to the class as she manages the LifeWorks curriculum instructors and keeps the intensive class flowing.

As a new volunteer, Kim Hsu shares, “I believe the greatest value we provide is to surround the students with people who believe in them and encourage them in their journeys. I love seeing the students grow in confidence throughout the program as they learn more about who they were created to be and gain the skills they need to move forward in their careers.”

Jason Marberry is a veteran coach and returned to serve the Winter Garden class. When asked what he would tell anyone interested in the experience, he replied, “it is a great way to give back in a very meaningful and impactful way and I think every volunteer I have spoken with has learned unexpected things through the program. The Winter Garden location has been filled with warm conversations, learning and fellowship.”

The Best of Times, the Worst of Times

presentation by President Marc Stanakis at Faith That Works 2019 Breakfast

The Problem

“These are the best of times…and these are the worst of times.”

How many of you remember that opening line in a Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens?

That certainly describes the current state of our world, on so many different levels. Did you see the article in the Wall Street Journal several weeks ago? This is the hottest labor market in 50 years, and Orlando is leading the charge. The Department of Labor reported last October that for the first time, there were more job openings than candidates to fill them.

These are the best of times…

And at the same time, the United Way of Florida reports that 47% of households in Orange County don’t make enough money to pay the bills – over 220,000 FAMILIES. And if that wasn’t bad enough, about 2/3 of the families in this situation are qualified for public assistance. They are working and need a handout to close the gap.

These are the worst of times…

Addressing the Problem

You might be asking yourselves why are so many people stuck in low paying jobs and struggling to survive? What we have learned over the last 20 years is that the zip code you were born in has a lot to do with it. Or maybe life happened, and you can’t do the same work anymore or you’ve lost everything. In either case, you start to believe the lies about your situation and hope for anything better is beyond your reach.

It’s a soft skills problem.

The other challenge is not having a helpful network of relationships. When you are struggling to survive, you need someone outside of your situation who can help you think through the challenges and cheer you on. And despite all the great technology we have access to, the best way to find a job is from someone you know who recommends you to an employer. Relationships…some things never change.

We have also learned that temporary assistance doesn’t solve the problem. God made us all with unique gifts and abilities that can be used to produce income, and when we do that, we find fulfillment in our purpose. WORK IS THE MOST STRATEGIC SOLUTION TO THE PROBLEM.  

The Solution

That’s why our LifeWorks training is transforming our community, one life at a time, like Javier’s. Our church and business partners are mobilizing teams of volunteers to offer an integrated solution that focuses on soft-skills development and career planning, along with connections to helpful relationships through our network of partners.

Local pastors teach the Life portion of the training using a biblically-based curriculum to change negative attitudes and beliefs. Topics include how to build healthy relationships with your boss and co-workers, conflict resolution, and showing up on time. HR professionals from our network of employers and the GOSHRM chapter facilitate the career planning components which include a career assessment, interviewing skills and a resume. Armed with a written career plan, we connect the participants to our network of partners so they can get a job or go back to school for more training, with the help of Career Advisors from CareerSource Central Florida.

The Opportunity

In 1999, we got our start in the Workforce 2020 project at the Orlando Chamber. The name of the project was a reference to research done by the Hudson Institute in which they predicted a massive worker shortage that peaks in the year 2020, when the greatest number of baby-boomers start retiring. When you link that issue with the booming economy, job creation at a fifty-year high, and the documented skills gap, we are sitting on the edge of an incredible window of opportunity to equip families in our community to leave poverty behind.

That’s why our board launched an expansion plan several years ago to scale our LifeWorks program from four to eight training sites in Orange County. Last month we added a new site in Winter Garden at Orange Technical College and will add three more sites in February 2020. The proposed new sites include the ACE Academy in Parramore, the John Bridges Community Center in Apopka, and the Orlando Union Rescue Mission.

Through our formal partnership with CareerSource, we will measure success by number of job placements and short-term training certifications in the targeted high growth industry sectors in Central Florida. Did you know that 1 out of 3 job vacancies require a training certificate? For instance, you can earn a certificate in advanced manufacturing at Valencia after 12 weeks of training and get placed in a full-time job with benefits at Lockheed Martin making $18 an hour – that’s a game changer. The same types of opportunities exist in healthcare, construction, hospitality and logistics.

Changing lives is hard work and it doesn’t happen overnight…or with a handout. It takes an investment of time, resources and relationships to alter the course of someone’s life. That’s why we have formed partnerships with churches, businesses, schools, social service and government agencies. No entity on their own can solve this problem, but together we can have collective impact for greater and sustainable outcomes.

Employment Technologies Equips Participants with #1 Ranked Tool

 

When it comes to preparing for their future careers, LifeWorks participants have a big advantage – Employment Technologies and virtual simulation testing. The company’s award-winning Virtual Customer Simulation helps students gain an awareness of their skill strengths and empowers them for career success.

According to Joseph Sefcik, president and founder of the company, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management ranks simulation as the #1 tool to accurately predict future job performance because it focuses on specific job competencies versus general traits. Employers have been saying for years that their biggest concern in potential employees is not a lack of basic job skills, but rather, a lack of soft skills like problem solving, communication and decision making.

Using high-end graphics and a compelling storyline, Virtual Customer Simulation immerses LifeWorks participants in a series of realistic workplace situations. The simulation assesses three skill areas – problem solving, interpersonal effectiveness and conscientiousness, providing feedback to leverage students’ strengths. Joseph calls the simulation a ‘disruptive model’ because it focuses on objective competencies that can be enhanced, rather than relying on self-ratings based on personality traits that tend to remain static.

Angela Stromberg, JP Partner Liaison, says that Virtual Customer Simulation has universal application to all jobs across all industries. This is one of the reasons it has been so successful for participants. Built into the 12-week LifeWorks training curriculum, the simulation results are reviewed in class, giving a greater awareness of skill strength. A Career Prescription is also part of the package, outlining specific learning activities that allow students to practice and improve behaviors to help them in future careers.

Jobs Partnership is also excited about the latest tool that was rolled out this session – EASyView virtual interview practice. Students can use their smartphones to record a job interview and get real time feedback. This can be shared with their volunteer coaches who will provide feedback and help.

Joseph Sefcik is an entrepreneur with a passion for workforce development. Thirty years ago, equipped with a Master’s in Industrial Psychology and a focus on employee selection and evaluation, he began his research into workforce skills. With a desire to see students successfully transition into career fields, Joseph believed there was a better model than the existing standard. He sought one that would provide information people could use to better themselves and chart a better path. The result was the creation of the #1 ranked employment assessment tool and other virtual products that are used by Fortune 500 and smaller companies located throughout North America and internationally.

Employment Technologies has been a valued partner with Lifeworks by Jobs Partnership for eight years. This generous partnership equips LifeWorks participants with the industry’s latest technology for improving their skills, enhancing their confidence, and expanding their career opportunities.

Javier’s Story

To learn more about LifeWorks by Jobs Partnership and apply for the program, please visit https://www.jobspartnership.org/lifeworks/apply/

“Jobs Partnership is a mighty instrument and vessel of hope for all those who enter into the love and care of this family because it’s so much more than an organization.”

Javier, 26 years old, newly married and living in Orlando for less than a year after relocating from Newark, N.J. was struggling to find a full-time job. He was also struggling with deeper issues like manhood because he had grown up fatherless and  his life’s purpose as he was battling with depression and crippling anxiety, not knowing where his life was headed.

One day, he was scrolling through Indeed for jobs and came across a resources link and that’s where he found the Jobs Partnership website. “As I browsed the site I thought to myself this is too good to be true – a program that develops life skills, work skills, develops Christian character, and bridges the gap of employment for those in need and all of that FREE of charge.” So, he applied for the LifeWorks training program. He was uncertain and frustrated about being an adult and having to admit that he needed help to figure out life. He finished the intensive 12-week program, completing life and career assessments, homework, reading material, mock interviews and much more. He discovered skills and passion and the importance of glorifying God through work. At the LifeWorks graduation ceremony, Javier received a Star Student award and gave a speech (after being asked to fill in for a singer who had cancelled). The speech changed the course of his life!

During the LifeWorks training, he had gained some skills and confidence and was promoted from a part-time entry level store associate at Walgreens to a full-time certified pharmacy technician in the corporate office. But, it did not end there. Sitting in the audience at graduation was the owner of a software company who was so impressed with Javier’s graduation speech and attitude that he reached out to hire him. Javier is now working full time with full benefits at a higher wage and a career path with a successful company, just one month after graduating from the LifeWorks program.

To prospective students, Javier says, “Most of us come to Jobs Partnership for a job, education, or opportunity to advance. When we leave, we leave with so much more. We leave with a restored vision and hope for a new start at life.”

To potential supporters, he has a message, “When you invest into Jobs Partnership, you’re investing into the future of our families, communities, society, and culture at large not just by introducing new employees to our workforce but rather by introducing holistic men and women into the fabric of our everyday lives. When you consider giving, think about how a 12-week program can have an impact on a family 12 years from now when a graduate is better able to provide for their family and the world around them. Your generosity may change the course of an individual’s life just as mine was changed by someone willing to invest in Jobs Partnership.”

To learn more about LifeWorks by Jobs Partnership and apply for the program, please visit https://www.jobspartnership.org/lifeworks/apply/

Paul Del Favero – 2011 LifeWorks Graduate

 

Paul grew up in South Florida when crack cocaine made its debut in the 1980’s. Years earlier, his father had introduced Paul to the art of the deal and handed him a bag of crack to sell and make some money.

That launched Paul into middle school and a series of encounters with law enforcement. At the peak of his early “career,” a Sun Sentinel story named Paul as Broward County’s “Worst of the Worst,” which led to incarceration at age 20. Eighteen years later, Paul was released back into a world where technology had exploded, and he was faced with finding his first real job.

He wound up in Central Florida and mistakenly wandered into First Presbyterian Church, looking for a support group to help him make this transition. That’s when he learned about the LifeWorks training offered by Jobs Partnership. The LifeWorks training gave him the tools and resources he needed to start his life over at 38. The relationships he developed with the volunteers helped him navigate this new world of work and made Orlando feel like home. It brought restoration. “I was already walking with the Lord, but this put it in context; they gave me the tool box to put all the pieces together,” said Paul. Through one of JP’s Employer Partners, he was hired full time with benefits at an insurance company and received promotions and raises. Several years later, his JP mentor told him about a company that rehabs sewage pipes for municipalities and he got a new job with lots of opportunity to grow.

Paul is now a manager overseeing 35 people and equipment valued at $20 million; last year he made over six figures. He got his company involved with Jobs Partnership and Paul the JP Graduate is now Paul the JP Employer Partner, recruiting JP candidates and “hiring folks just like me,” he proudly says. Paul is married now and recently purchased his first home – “Life is exponentially better than I ever imagined!”

Fabian Tamayo – 2006 LifeWorks Graduate

 

By age 19, Fabian knew that there was no future for him in his native Venezuela. He saw the writing on the wall after several years of change in his country under the leadership of Hugo Chavez.

Coming from a broken family, Fabian always dreamed about a better life and raising a family of his own, but those dreams seemed impossible in a country that was unraveling. Recognizing he had a window of opportunity to pursue freedom, he headed to the United States on a visa to pursue higher education and was overwhelmed by the peace and prosperity he observed.

In 2003, he got married and started the immigration process to become a US citizen. In the years that followed, Fabian started working at any job that he could find while learning to master the English language. Working part-time at a restaurant on Orange Blossom Trail, he happened to overhear two pastors he was serving talking about the LifeWorks training at Jobs Partnership. Their church was hosting an upcoming class and the more he eavesdropped, he finally found the courage to ask them about the program. Fabian had quickly realized that he needed to learn how to navigate in this new country and had recently prayed that God would show him how to do that – this was the answer to his prayer.

Fast forward, the LifeWorks training helped Fabian grow in his faith and also find a full-time job through JP’s network of Employer Partners. Still on that job 12 years later, he and his wife have three children and they bought a new home in Clermont, where they are active in their church. Fabian’s dream has come true!