News | Jobs Partnership Florida - Part 2

JP Graduate Serves as JP Ambassador


Fall 2019 graduate Eglin Ayson was not the ‘typical’ LifeWorks participant and that’s what inspired him to continue to participate in the JP mission. He wanted to be involved with a community of people from different ethnicities and backgrounds to help bridge the skills and opportunity gap.

As an Air Force veteran working in an industry that experiences layoffs based on contracts being won or lost, he experienced a long period of unemployment in 2019. During a meeting with CareerSource, they encouraged him to enroll in LifeWorks.

When asked how the training most impacted him, Eglin said the faith-based perspective because “it reframed how I needed to approach my job and career. Regardless of the balance of your gifting and what you’d love to do, it’s all still to the glory of God. We work to help both the companies we work for and for God’s purpose.”

He also increased his networking opportunities by tapping into LinkedIn with participants, coaches and instructors. The highlight of the class was the Mock Interviews; he received great feedback and “gems and nuggets” that he still remembers.

Eglin encouraged his son Travis to enroll in the Spring 2020 session so he could learn about potential careers through the assessment process and partnerships and be able to look at work from the “right perspective.” Travis graduated in June 2020.

Inspired by the volunteers he met and wanting to continue interacting with people from different backgrounds, Eglin became a JP Ambassador. He wants to share in the JP vision and be part of a community that values work and helping others connect to careers.



Enrollment in Accelerated Skills Training Breaks Records During COVID


The Spring LifeWorks session saw record enrollment in short term skills training classes at Valencia College. Students seized the opportunity to redirect their career into an industry that is in high demand, yes, even during a pandemic!

One of those graduates, Nader Soliman, wanted to find a new path that could use his natural aptitudes for engineering and problem solving. Nader is now enrolled in the Mechatronics program at Valencia and learning how to operate and maintain complex manufacturing machinery.

Our partners at CareerSource awarded students like Nader a scholarship for the training that has opened a gateway into a whole new life. Through the work of our dedicated CareerSource liaison Silvia Alvarez, all the students who applied for the accelerated skills training classes qualified for the special funding.

The best part of the story – through our partners at CareerSource, Valencia College and Orange Tech, our graduates have access to classes that are specific to the rising demands of the Central Florida employment market. LifeWorks graduates have a direct connection to employers with the greatest need and a link to job opportunities that were previously unattainable before entering the Jobs Partnership program.

Relationships with our partners is the foundation of success at JP. We are extremely grateful for the many committed organizations that connect our graduates to their next right steps.


Career & Community Partner Showcase

Fall 2020 session: Week of November 9th

Ida’s Story


One of our outstanding Spring 2020 LifeWorks graduates shared her story with us. She persevered and continued to move forward even as the class went virtual and we are so proud of her commitment!

“My story began when I attended a job fair in Orlando. My intentions were not to apply for a job but to find out what and if there is something out there for me. I currently possess two jobs, a full-time and part-time job, but my frustration has been and has been for years that there has got to be something more for me to do in this world. So I attended the seminar that Angela Stromberg lead at the job fair.

That was where my life turned around. Right then I knew that there really is something greater out there for me.

I thank God for giving me the opportunity to have time off to think about my life, rest, enjoy my friends and family, and focus on what it is I need to focus on. It has always been work, work, and work again.

Throughout the LifeWorks Program, I embraced the schoolwork, the reading, the assignments, and even the homework. I enjoyed the leaders, coaches, and speakers! Learning how to do a Virtual interview was like a Wow for me. Learning how to write a resume was a challenge for sure. If anything positive came out of this Pandemic we all have been enduring…it was me learning Zoom! A double Wow!

One conversation I had with Jessy Correa was another turning point for me. When I shared my interest in the organization called, Rethreaded, which is in Jacksonville that supports victim-survivors of sexual violence, she directed my search to a local agency called Samaritan Village. Continuing my search I fell upon Help Now which is another agency that supports victim-survivors. I immediately searched volunteer opportunities and it looked like a perfect fit for me to get involved, share my talents, and help others in need. This will give me meaning in my life. I immediately took 2 core training classes through Darkness to light to become involved with Stewards of Children and received a Certificate.

Now, I am headed in a direction I was looking for for years. Jobs Partnership enabled me to have the courage to expect better things to come in my life.”

Gladys’ Story- The American Dream

It was 2008 and Gladys Frank had been in the United States for less than a year. She left Haiti looking for a safer, better life for her children but so far, life was very hard. “Everything was difficult,” she remembers. “Transportation was tough. Finding a job seemed impossible. Even communicating with people on the street was challenging because no one could understand me.”

With two children, ages 3 and 4, she was struggling to feed them on an hourly wage of $7.20 per hour. “I remember waking up one morning and realizing that I had nothing to feed the kids for breakfast. I had no idea how I was going to provide for them. It was all just overwhelming. I knew I needed more education if I wanted a higher paying job, but I had no idea where to apply or how I would pay for it.”

Gladys found out about Jobs Partnership through her Head Start Counselor. “I told my counselor that I wanted to go to school, and she gave me the phone number for Jobs Partnership. I didn’t even know what I was signing up for when I called, but by God’s grace, it was just what I needed.”

Gladys convinced her manager to allow her to be off on Tuesday night (and this was no small feat). She showed up the first night and was happy to see enough pizza to feed the whole family. Through her experience with Jobs Partnership, Gladys was introduced to a network of support. “I remember the fourth night of class when they told us that Orange Technical College was coming to tell us about opportunities for additional training. I sat up straight and paid attention. This was why I was here!”

Not only was Gladys able to get a new job with Florida Hospital (now AdventHealth), but Florida Hospital paid for her to attend class five nights per week at Orange Technical College. “I felt rich!” She recalls. “I was paid $8.80 per hour to attend class on the weekdays and I still kept my old job for the weekends. I could pay my rent, pay for the bus, and my children had plenty to eat.”

But Gladys did not stop there. She has continued to improve her skills, take classes, and advance at AdventHealth. Today, she is earning $31.00 per hour. With overtime and bonus pay, she earns over $70,000 per year. She owns a home and a condo. Her two children are excelling in school and planning to attend college with pre-med majors.

“My children have seen me work hard in school and they know it pays off. I tell them that I make more money than many people who put on a suit and go to work every day. I have encouraged them to pursue a career in the medical field.”

Gladys has come so far since those days of struggling to put food on the table. She was always a hard worker. She was always ready to learn. She just needed an organization to come alongside her and give her the opportunities available in this country.

“It is by God’s grace and Jobs Partnership that I am living the American dream!” Gladys raises her arms and smiles as she tells us of her dream come true.

Richard’s Story- Finding His Way Again

After eight years of marriage, Richard Fagan’s divorce left him feeling lost. He was struggling with the loss of his wife and a fallout with his church. Not knowing where to turn, he turned to drugs and alcohol. It felt like everything had fallen apart – his business, his family, and his faith family. He was living at the Orlando Union Rescue Mission when his life hit rock bottom.

“Freddy at the mission told me to check out Jobs Partnership, but I wasn’t sure,” Richard remembers. “I was not even planning to stay in Florida. I did not know anyone here, had no connections, and did not see a future in this place.”

But Freddy was right. Jobs Partnership served as a guide to Richard, helping him through a very difficult time. The leaders at Jobs Partnership quickly realized that Richard had so many skills to offer the marketplace. He was just missing a few important items. First, Richard had never created a resume. He had owned a successful plumbing business in the past and, as a business owner, a resume is not a necessity. But now, as he hoped to find a job, it was critical. Second, Richard did not know anyone in Florida. He was new to the state and he needed connections to make his life work. Finally, Richard’s plumbing license from New York was not accepted in Florida.

“They told me that I may as well throw that old license in the garbage because it was no good here.” Richard recalls.

Through the Jobs Partnership Program, Richard interviewed with AdventHealth. “My coach was the one who encouraged me to apply there,” Richard says. “I saw the word, ‘Maintenance’ in the job description and I wasn’t going to apply, but Lee told me to give it a shot and just see where it might lead.”

What a great piece of advice! Richard was hired as one of four maintenance workers and they quickly realized that his skills as a plumber and even his background in ministry could make a difference in their hospitals. Richard is now thriving at AdventHealth, a place where he has the opportunity to learn, grow, minister to patients, and have a purpose at work. Not only is he succeeding at work, but he spends his day off giving back to the Rescue Mission. He offers his services to them free of charge, helping others who find themselves feeling lost as he did.

Richard has found his way to a great job, a renewed relationship with God, a strong sense of purpose in life. Richard lost his way and Jobs Partnership helped him find it again.

To Our Jobs Partnership Family

As we navigate these unchartered waters, I have found great comfort in one of my favorite Bible promises from Psalm 91:10 – “For he will command his angels concerning you, to guard you in all your ways”.

That’s why I am reaching out to update you on how my team at Jobs Partnership is responding to this unprecedented moment in time. First, we have made the bold decision to continue serving the largest class enrollment in JP’s 20-year history. Our top priority is the 195 participants currently enrolled in our LifeWorks training, and we are moving them, along with their volunteer coaches, to a virtual platform starting on March 31, 2020. 

Little did we know that our work over the last two years to produce Instructor videos for all of the LifeWorks topics would position us for a time such as this, allowing us to continue the classes on a virtual platform and prioritize the safety of our participants, volunteers, and staff. We even have a new virtual interview tool, thanks to the generosity of Employment Technologies.

The first step is to help our participants move through the remainder of the LifeWorks class using the new online platform. And with our strong network of partners and our established collaborative processes, we will be directing many of our participants to publicly-funded accelerated skills training that will lead to certification and full-time employment in targeted high demand jobs, even in this current labor market.

With the swelling ranks of unemployed Americans (3 million), Jobs Partnership is needed more than ever to serve and redirect job seekers to new opportunities. That’s why we are also preparing to provide virtual services and resources to those whose employment has been disrupted by COVID-19. We are innovating to stand in the gap for those in need right now.

We are so grateful for all of our Church, Business, and Community Partners that are collaborating with us to lead and serve through this difficult time. Together, we are leveraging our resources for collective impact as we prepare people in our community to deal with the new challenges in life and work.


Marc Stanakis

Pursuing Purpose in Life and Work


Jobs Partnership started in 1999 as part of the Workforce 2020 project at the Orlando Chamber of Commerce. For the last 20 years, JP has prepared more than 2500 people for life and work with Biblical principles and connected them to better job opportunities through our amazing network of partners. Our LifeWorks program is supported by a network of churches, businesses, educational and community resource partners, that are all working together for collective impact in Central Florida.

Click on the video below to see the full story:



New Start in Life for Three LifeWorks Graduates


Learn about the impact of LifeWorks by Jobs Partnership in the lives of 3 graduates, Paul Del Favero, Eric Pace, and Charles Harrington. After preparing them for life and work with Biblical principles, Paul got connected to this amazing job opportunity and as a result of his leadership, US Submergent signed on as a Business Partner and hired Eric and Charles, and is seeking to hire more reliable workers.

Click on the video below to see the full story:


Record-Breaking Year

As we enter our 20th year of service to the Orlando area, we are preparing for a record-breaking year. With 455 applicants, two new sites, 184 students on the first day of LifeWorks, and a growing number of volunteers, this year is bound to be one for the history books.

On Tuesday, February 25th and Thursday, February 27th, students poured into classes at Kilarney Elementary, First Baptist Church of Orlando, Career Source of Central Florida, Washington Shores Church of Christ, ACE PS8 School, Valencia College, and Orange Technical Institute.

As Eric Stites, Pastor of New City Church said to his class, “You think you have come here for a job, but God has you here for a purpose.” The journey toward purpose has begun for a new group LifeWorks students, the largest group in our history. We look forward to walking with each student on their individual path toward a brighter future!