The Jobs Partnership Story
Back in 1999, the Orlando Regional Chamber of Commerce convened a group of business and community leaders to address the growing problem employers were experiencing in the recruitment and retention of entry-level workers at a time when the Florida economy was expanding. The lack of qualified workers and the high costs of turnover motivated them to explore non-traditional recruiting strategies as a solution to the problem.
That’s when a small team of pastors and business leaders at the Chamber discovered an innovative model of collaboration in Raleigh, North Carolina, that was creating access to better job opportunities for people in under-resourced communities. That team included Pastors’ David Outing, Walter Prince, and Sylvester Robinson, along with Marc Stanakis and Paul Rahill. After a site visit in Raleigh, they knew they had discovered a solution to the problem.
Later that year, after mobilizing several churches, the team launched the first LifeWorks training class at Mt. Pleasant Missionary Baptist Church. Engaging the local Church offered a promising solution to the problem – they recruited job seekers, facilitated a soft-skills and career planning training class, and then we connected them to the employers for full-time jobs with benefits.
Since that time, we have been upskilling men and women for full-time jobs with a career-path toward economic mobility. According to the United Way ALICE research, almost half of Central Florida households don’t make enough money to pay for basic living necessities. That’s why we offer our LifeWorks training for men and women who want to unlock a better job and a better life.
In fact, we think that the first 24 years prepared us for a time such as this – America is experiencing an unprecedented shortage of qualified workers due to the exodus of retiring baby boomers from the workforce. Employers are struggling to fill open jobs and the problem isn’t going away anytime soon. That means that graduates of our LifeWorks training will now have access to better job opportunities through our network of employers who know they have acquired the soft-skills and career planning that are critical for success on the job.
It works! Engaging the local Church in our collective impact model brings the resources and relationships that make it a win-win for all stakeholders, especially the men and women we serve. More than 3000 people have completed the LifeWorks training process and have changed the trajectory of their lives, both now and for future generations!