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WO RK LI FE TOO L KI T Planning for a Job Readiness Education Ministry 2016.2

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WORK LIFE TOOLKIT Planning for a Job Readiness Education Ministry BY: J. MARK BOWERS, MICHAEL RHODES EDITORS: JERILYN SANDERS, AMY KUENZEL The Chalmers Center equips the church with poverty alleviation tools that point people who are poor to the healing work of Jesus Christ. By researching, field-testing, and training the church in practical ways to walk with people who are poor, the Chalmers Center supports spiritual and economic transformation in low-income communities.

Work Life Toolkit Š The Chalmers Center, 2016 Written permission from the Chalmers Center is required for any use, reproduction or distribution of Work Life Toolkit. For inquiries regarding rights and permissions, please contact: Chalmers Center 507 McFarland Road Lookout Mountain, GA 30750 USA Phone: 706.956.4119 Email: info@chalmers.org

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WORK LIFE TOOLKIT: INTRODUCTION

At this stage, it might seem overwhelming to think about all of the time and resources needed to create a strong Work Life site. We want to encourage you to press on. Start small, start soon, and see where the Spirit leads. Remember, when reorienting the way we define poverty and the change process, this naturally becomes a long-term, redemptive journey. We see success in this work as the cultivation of meaningful relationships, not as numbers of participants graduated (though that’s great, too!). As a certified Work Life facilitator, you are in a unique role in your community, leading the discussion on how to empower low-income workers to flourish. This toolkit is designed to help you begin the process of putting this vision into practice by mobilizing a committed team and building lasting relationships with participants. Along with several pilot tests the Chalmers Center held in churches and non-profit organizations, the experiences of Work Life facilitators around the US reveal important learning about the practicalities of laying groundwork for a successful, sustainable community. The Creating a Robust Work Life Site infographic on the next page gives you a glimpse of the full journey. Throughout this toolkit, we’ll address each step in the infographic in detail. You’ll find them in the table of contents.

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CONTENTS Step 1: Map and Mobilize Your Community

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Step 2: Create a Leadership Team

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Step 3: Develop an Operating Budget

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Step 4: Equip Your Church or Organization

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Step 5: Recruit and Train Allies (Mentors)

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Step 6: Identify and Invite Participants

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Step 7: Host a Work Life Course

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Step 8: Gather to Celebrate Ongoing Learning

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Step 9: Connecting Graduates to Good Jobs

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Work Life: Equipping Allies Trainer Guide

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Works Cited

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Work Life Toolkit

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Work Life Toolkit

STEP 1: MAP AND MOBILIZE YOUR COMMUNITY As you prepare to begin a Work Life program, start by identifying existing key ministries and programs that can participate, advocate, and direct others toward the job readiness education program. List key ministries in your church/organization or local community that interact with low-income people.

Name the key players in those ministries – both leaders and volunteers. Think of those who have a passion for economic justice, could be an ally (mentor), or who could refer participants. List others who aren’t involved directly in a ministry or program but could be strong leaders or allies for your ministry team. You can even begin to list potential participants as they come up.

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Step 1: Map and Mobilize Your Community

Categorize the individuals identified. Place the names of those who might be potential leadership team members, participants, or allies in the columns below:

Leadership Team

Potential Participant

Ally for Participant

Jobs for Life, an expert in the field, suggests that job readiness sites consider putting together a leadership team containing the following roles to execute an effective program. The descriptions below describe 6 roles for various “positions� that a Work Life site could have. Please note: It is not imperative that sites have six different people to fill each of these roles, although if the team is large enough to do so, they certainly can! The primary function of spelling out these distinct roles is to help your Work Life leadership team figure out how to make sure every aspect of the program is covered by their team of staff and/or volunteers. Read carefully through the various roles shown on the following chart:

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Work Life Toolkit

COURSE FACILITATOR/SITE LEADER

Facilitates the Work Life curriculum using a caring and professional approach that sets the stage for mutual learning and creates an atmosphere conducive to student interaction and participation; consistently role models what is expected of students; works with Allies to ensure that students are learning and applying Work Life principles; helps every student move closer to graduation

PRAYER TEAM LEADER

Coordinates and encourages prayer for the Work Life ministry among leadership team and supportive prayer partners within the larger community.

STUDENT RELATIONS LEADER

Recruits and screens unemployed and underemployed individuals who demonstrate a desire to improve their work situation; helps with intake and post-graduation follow-up activities.

ALLY TEAM LEADER

Recruits, equips, directs and encourages a team of dedicated mentors (allies) to walk beside students throughout the Work Life training course; reviews and updates student progress reports.

BUSINESS RELATIONS LEADER

Serves as the “ambassador” for your site’s Work Life efforts to the business community, calling on employers to introduce Work Life training. Intentionally shares the mission, value and benefits of your work with business and community leaders. Works with the Site Leader to invite business representative to visit and participate in a Work Life training (i.e. on interview day, etc.); Organizes a team of volunteers to identify local businesses that agree to list job openings with your site and interview qualified Work Life graduates.

ADMINISTRATIVE LEADER

Work Life training includes various administrative functions such as: maintain all course records (student applications, attendance, etc); coordinate and oversee student/volunteer information; direct all classroom logistics (room setup, materials, food, childcare, student transportation), and serve as the point person of contact for all reported absences (volunteers and students).

Now write down the names of any potential members of the Leadership Team in the box below next to the roles you think they might contribute to or fill Remember, you can put a person’s name in more than one role.

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Step 1: Map and Mobilize Your Community

COURSE FACILITATOR/ SITE LEADER (Besides yourself, who else might you send to training?)

PRAYER TEAM LEADER

STUDENT RELATIONS LEADER

ALLY TEAM LEADER

BUSINESS RELATIONS LEADER

ADMINISTRATIVE LEADER

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Work Life Toolkit

Describe your plan to connect with and mobilize each category of person mentioned as a potential part of the Work Life program.

After identifying existing connections, consider preliminary ways that you could mobilize other potential leadership team members and allies (and even participants and funders!) through church announcements or bulletin inserts. Included below is a template for an announcement slide/bulletin excerpt. Ø How might you adapt this slide for your church or context? Use track changes, or highlight changes you make as you edit the slide. Join our Work Life learning community as we explore how to: •

identify and overcome roadblocks to employment

adapt to workplace culture

provide for our families and serve our communities

add value to God’s world through work

We want to connect with: •

Participants

Allies (Mentors)

Business owners

Leadership Team

Funders

Contact _________________ at ____________________ if you or someone you know may be interested.

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Step 1: Map and Mobilize Your Community

Ă˜ What other ideas might you have for general marketing and advertising of your Work Life program?

Make note below of any key leadership team roles that you do not have potential leads on. Focus your leadership team recruiting on finding people who can help you with those roles (remembering that one person may fill several roles!)

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Work Life Toolkit

STEP 2: CREATE A LEADERSHIP TEAM After you achieve certification as a Work Life facilitator, you will also become the site leader for Work Life— a key advocate for the job readiness education program in your church/community. However, because running the program is a large task, we believe that it is essential to recruit at least 2-3 other church members to be part of your Work Life leadership team. Work Life sites should plan on spending at least 1520 hours per week in order to devote adequate time to a) hosting the class, b) networking for employment opportunities, and c) assisting graduates of previous classes with their employment search. It will be near impossible as a sole individual to be the one overseeing every aspect of the program. Your certification will enable you to be the one who leads the site and facilitates the course; however, before you begin, you need a team around you to share the responsibility of recruiting and matching allies/participants, networking with the business community, coordinating dinners and childcare, fundraising, and educating the church and community about the program. Having a strong leadership team helps the Work Life program to become sustainable over the long term. Ideally, graduates from the Work Life program who have matured in their work life and also spiritually will join the leadership team to pass on their knowledge and experience. Job descriptions for several of the Leadership Team roles are included below. Look through them and determine which ones you intend to lead yourself, and for which ones you already have committed volunteers or co-workers. Identify which roles are still missing. Ă˜ How might you adapt and use these job descriptions to recruit a leadership team in your community? Use track changes, or highlight changes you make as you edit the job descriptions.

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Step 2: Create a Leadership Team

Job Description: Student Relations Leader PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITY Recruits and screens Work Life Students, the unemployed and underemployed, who are ready to work and have demonstrated the desire to improve their life situation. Organize and plan all student activities to include: □

Student Screening

□ □ □ □

Administer Pre-Class Survey Class Celebrations Student Graduation Post-Graduation Follow-up activities

Oversee the review and tracking of student progress toward Work Life Graduation

REPRESENTATIVE DUTIES PLANNING □ □ □ □

Develop a plan to recruit and screen potential Work Life students Work with Site Leader to develop student progress tracking system Schedule regular review of student progress and required assignment make-up Organize Work Life Graduation Ceremony

Optional: Plan informal Work Life Alumni/Champion post-graduation gatherings

RECOMMENDED FOLLOW UP Follow up regularly with Work Life grads and assist them in networking for work/better work, further education, etc.

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Work Life Toolkit

Job Description: Ally Team Leader PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITY 1. Recruit, direct, encourage and support a team of allies 2. With site leader, train and equip allies to be mutual learners 3. Regularly review and monitor the student progress toward Work Life Graduation requirements

REPRESENTATIVE DUTIES PLANNING □

Develop a plan to recruit and equip Allies

□ □

Plan to attend every class Schedule 2-3 informal Ally “Reinforcement” Gatherings

POST WORK LIFE TRAINING FOLLOW UP

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Weekly contacts with Allies throughout Work Life training course to track and evaluate graduates’ progress

Coordinate a team of Allies to make regular contact with graduates, at least every month (preferably every week) for 6-12 months (these calls should be relational opportunities for encouragement, but may also include data collection at set intervals about employment, etc.)


Step 2: Create a Leadership Team

Job Description: Business Relations Team Leader PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITY Introduces and educates area businesses and community service resources to the benefits of hiring Work Life graduates. Identifies local businesses that will list jobs openings for participants. Identifies and organizes local job listings. Assists with the selection and scheduling of guest speakers or interviewers for the interview day. Interviews and directs qualified graduates to identified job placement opportunities

REPRESENTATIVE DUTIES PLANNING ü Recruit businesses and community resource involvement in Work Life ü Visit and participate in local business networking organizations, (e.g., Chamber of Commerce) to promote Work Life benefits ü Establish a working relationship with the local Workforce Investment board and the local one stop career centers ü Research and understand the local economic context in terms of entry-level employment. Learns answers to questions such as: •

Which businesses can hire people with a criminal record?

Which staffing agencies do most employers use, and which treat their workers the most fairly in terms of actually leading to full-time employment?

• What skills/characteristics are local employers demanding for entry-level? ü Invite community guest speakers/participants.

FOLLOW UP ü Contact each community guest speaker/participant to extend thank you and to solicit feedback on the experience ü Contact businesses hiring graduates to determine satisfaction with Work Life grads

REPORTING □ □ □

Obtain weekly list of area job postings for Work Life training for Work Life classes Report progress toward job placement goals Provide business contact information to the Administration Leader for data entry

HELPFUL EXPERIENCE □ □ □ □

Sales or Marketing skills Community Business Leader / Active Community Involvement Experienced Employer Interviewer Economic Development, Public Affairs/Community Affairs

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Work Life Toolkit

Job Description: Administrative Leader PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITY Track student data during application and intake processes, the course itself, and in follow-up surveys (working alongside the Leadership Team and Allies). Organize logistics of the class, including potentially organizing transportation, communal meals, and childcare.

REPRESENTATIVE DUTIES PLANNING ü ü ü ü ü ü

Set up classes and gather data collection forms from the Jobs for Life Network Oversee the filling out of intake forms for both volunteers and participants Record all necessary data into the Jobs for Life Network data tracking tools Oversee scheduling for meals, childcare, facilitation, etc. Ensure that the learning space is available and ready for each class session Oversee data tracking in relation to contacts with potential employers, funders, volunteers and more (optional) ü Collect class fees from applicants

DURING CLASS ü Record absence and tardiness points according to the site’s personalized policies ü Provide participants with a warning if they are approaching failing the class because of points ü Communicate with Leadership Team when a participant has failed out of the program based on points (remember, they can always come back!) ü Collect any unpaid class fees ü Make sure the classroom space is set up before each session and that all learning supplies are available and easily accessible

FOLLOW UP ü Collect or oversee the collection of follow-up data from Work Life, including the post-class survey and the employment surveys at 45 days, 90 days, and one year intervals (may use Allies to do this) ü Input data into the Jobs for Life Network and present reports to the Leadership Team

HELPFUL EXPERIENCE □ □ □

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Administrative assistant or secretarial roles Jobs or roles involving a high level of attention to detail Event planning, bookkeeping, or data collection roles


Step 3: Develop an Operating Budget

STEP 3: DEVELOP AN OPERATING BUDGET No program can escape the need for financial resources. Because much of the labor (leadership team, allies) is provided by volunteers, you should be able to run your Work Life program at a relatively low-cost. Below is a sample Work Life Program Operating Budget. This sample budget assumes that you hold 1-2 course offerings per year. *Note that this budget does not include anything for paid staff. In reality, however, many sites may have one or more paid staff spending time on this program. Take a few minutes to answer the following questions: Ø Does your church or organization have a benevolence/missions budget that may be able to fund a Work Life program? If so, who might you need to meet with about this? If you belong to an organization, where will you get funds for the program?

Ø If you have to fundraise, who are key individual donors that have a heart for long-term development among people who are poor and a passion for empowering low-income workers? How will you approach them for funds?

Ø Will you yourself be able to remain the site leader and facilitate each course offering in the long term, or might it be strategic to send others to be certified as Work Life facilitators through the Chalmers Center?

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Work Life Toolkit

Using track changes or highlighting, take a few moments to adapt this sample budget for your church or organizational context.

WORK LIFE PROGRAM OPERATING BUDGET EXPENSES Human Resources Program Logistics

YEAR 1

Certification of Work Life Facilitators (2)

$700

Work Life Participant Guides*

$200

Training Materials (Flipchart paper, markers, post-it notes, colored paper, etc.)

$75

Meals and Snacks

$300

Childcare

$250

Miscellaneous

$25

TOTAL

$1,470

*Assumes 20 Work Life Participant Guides at approximately $10 each, including shipping estimate. Certified facilitators can order participant guides through our online portal for $7.95 (excluding shipping.)

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Step 4: Equip Your Church or Organization

STEP 4: EQUIP YOUR CHURCH OR ORGANIZATION You’ve begun to brainstorm how Work Life fits programmatically into what your community is already doing. As you build your leadership team and think about recruiting participants and allies, we encourage you to ask: how will Work Life complement and shape our organization/church’s existing ministry efforts? Creating consensus among church members can be a challenging process that takes time. Do not feel behind if it takes months to lay the groundwork before offering your first Work Life course! It took a long time for your church to get where it is today, and all change takes time. People may feel committed to other ways of helping or existing ministries; others might even feel threatened by all the resources needed for Work Life. Here are a few ideas to begin this conversation with your church/leadership: •

If low-income participants are not already a part of our church body, will they feel welcomed? How can we make them feel welcomed?

Do we as a church or organization have people who are willing to be mentors/allies?

Are our potential mentors/allies ready and able to treat lower-income neighbors with dignity and acknowledge that all of us are broken? Or are some of our volunteers in danger of treating lowerincome neighbors paternalistically?

Are we ready and equipped to help these volunteers engage with lower-income neighbors in a dignified and mutually beneficial way?

Do we have the buy-in of key leaders in our ministry/church? Are there any key leaders/gatekeepers who have NOT bought it?

Are leaders of our church/ministry willing to support this program for the many months required to plan, offer the class, and provide follow-up?

Is our church or organization’s mission conducive to dialogue across socioeconomic lines?

Jot down any reflections on these questions below:

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Work Life Toolkit

What other questions might you add? Record them below:

As mentioned, in some of your contexts, you and your leadership team may spend months casting vision for Work Life in your community before beginning a course. The Chalmers Center has created the following Helping Without Hurting resources that may help you to reframe the conversation about poverty alleviation and lay important foundations for a healthy Work Life site.

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When Helping Hurts has shaped the way over 300,000 church and ministry leaders approach poverty alleviation. Now, the Small Group Experience equips congregations and ministry networks with the principles of When Helping Hurts. Utilizing free online video lessons, each of the six units engages small groups with discussion questions, application exercises, and materials for further learning. To learn more, visit this page. Available through Amazon, Moody Publishers, Barnes and Noble, iBook.

Helping Without Hurting in Church Benevolence applies the principles of When Helping Hurts, serving as a practical guidebook for church staff, deacons, or volunteers who work with lowincome people. With stories, forms, and online tools for your church to use, Helping Without Hurting in Church Benevolence equips you to walk alongside the materially poor in humble relationships. To learn more, visit this page. Available through Amazon, Moody Publishers, Barnes and Noble, iBook.

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Work Life Toolkit

STEP 5: RECRUIT AND TRAIN ALLIES (MENTORS) Recruiting committed, solid allies is foundational for a successful Work Life program—and yet also one of the most difficult pieces. Allies are the primary long-term point of contact with participants during the course, and especially after the course is over. An ally is much like a mentor, but because the term mentor can imply a superior-inferior relationship, or an age difference, the Chalmers Center prefers to use the term ally. The below box provides some ideas for recruiting allies:

RECRUITMENT OF ALLIES Allies in Work Life courses are recruited from and/or referred into the program by various resources, such as: □ □ □ □ □ □

People at the Work Life site (church or organization) who have a desire to make a difference in someone else’s life Pastor referrals Individuals who already have a relationship with one of the prospective students Volunteers from other churches, clubs, and/or associations with which the Work Life Site has a relationship Students from local colleges, universities or seminaries Retired businesspeople or community leaders

In our model, ideally, 2-3 allies are placed around each participant in the Work Life program. Some of the best literature on mentoring reveals that a predominantly one-on-one mentoring approach is likely to cause burnout and frustration1. Because of this, if 2-3 allies per participant is unreasonable (as it is for most sites), then make sure that allies work in teams to serve a group of participants (ex: 3 allies work with 5 participants). A team of allies is the ideal structure, because this approach releases one person from being the expert who must bear sole responsibility for addressing a participant’s situation alone. When several people come around an individual and their family, this provides a context for personal growth, access to social resources, and supportive relationships that encourage participants in their finances, and ultimately, encourage reconciliation for allies and participants as the family of God. Practically speaking, the best structure is to have a group of participants and allies sitting together at tables. This way, the allies can help facilitate discussion among the group of participants in the many, many opportunities for small group discussion throughout the curriculum. Oftentimes, the realities of having limited allies mean that you may not have enough to place 2-3 with each participant. In some cases, you may only be able to recruit 2-3 allies for the entire class! In this

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Welfare-to-Work Mentoring Ministry: A Practical How-to Guide, Amy Sherman.

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Step 5: Recruit and Train Allies (Mentors)

situation, our practitioners recommend that the leadership team fill as many of the roles as possible – calling participants each week, offering rides, or one-on-one meetings for encouragement and support. Others recommend putting the participants into small ally teams themselves so they can form supportive groups. Allies should be invited to attend the Work Life classes alongside participants; this gives them a context to develop a relationship and begin unpacking work issues together. We strongly suggest at least one of each participant’s allies attends the course. This helps allies track with the participant’s learning and build trust around the topic of personal finances. Note that this may mean your Work Life class is made up of 6-8 participants and 6-8 allies. In the Chalmers Center’s relational model, this is success! Not everyone makes a good ally. Unfortunately, because of the issues of marred-identities and godcomplexes explored in When Helping Hurts, if someone with too much of a “let me teach you what I know” attitude or who struggles to listen deeply and empathetically serves as an ally, it can actually do more harm than good. On the other hand, when done well, serving as an ally is one of the most deeply transformational service opportunities imaginable. Michael Rhodes, Director of Education at Advance Memphis and one of the co-writers of the Work Life curriculum, remembers tearing up in a courtroom as an upper-middle class corporate lawyer from “the other side of town” took the stand as a supportive character witness for a Work Life grad who had violated the terms of his probation. That story, and thousands of others like it, would be impossible without the relational transformation that comes by serving as an ally. In short, look for willing hearts, help allies understand relational ministry and relational approaches to poverty alleviation (particularly if the ally is from another race or class than the participant), and watch God show up! The appendix at the end of this toolkit includes a script called Work Life: Equipping Allies. You can use this two-hour trainer guide to train allies in principles and practices of empowering, relational mentoring. You may want to expand, adapt, or cut down the content of this training, depending on the needs of allies in your context. Ø What parts of this trainer guide might you adapt and use to equip allies for your Work Life program? Use track changes, highlighting, or insert your comments below as you think through the process. At this stage, feel free to let your ideas be rudimentary/big picture. After the live training, you can refine them into specifics, especially after you’ve put together your leadership team.

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Work Life Toolkit

STEP 6: IDENTIFY AND INVITE PARTICIPANTS Recruiting and retaining participants is also one of the greatest challenges in running a Work Life program. People from multi-generational poverty contexts who need work often have many stresses, economic and otherwise, that make attendance difficult. Also, particularly in new programs, participants may wonder if this is “too good to be true,” questioning whether they will really get the help they need. This skepticism can only be overcome through ongoing relationships and results for those who do stick it out and who you help succeed. Another caveat: Work Life is based on relationships. If you’re targeting a particular community, then you ought to have relationships there or at least work closely with other ministry or church leaders who do. Much harm can be done by starting a ministry in a community which is not your own without first taking time to get to know the people of God He has put there ahead of you who are already doing the work.

1. RECRUIT RELATIONALLY AND BY WORD-OF-MOUTH Keep in mind that many low-income people have low levels of literacy or come from oral cultures. In these settings, communication is done primarily by word of mouth. With this in mind, make sure you take the extra time to talk to potential participants face to face about their interest, using relational networks to market Work Life. Begin by considering where you are already relationally engaged with low-income neighbors and unemployed/underemployed individuals. If you and your church/ministry do not have these relationships, reach out to other churches or organizations that might have these connections. The more relational the better; referrals from a government office may be fewer and less effective than those of a neighborhood church running a ministry to youth. When you identify potential participants, ask them who else they know who might benefit from the training. Consider limiting your primary target community for recruitment and then be present in that community. The following resources may be places to start:2

STUDENTS RECRUITMENT RESOURCES ü Church Congregations (members/attendees who might benefit from Work Life or members’ referrals of relatives, friends, neighbors in need of employment). ü Church Care Ministry ü Local department of Social Service (a contact to Welfare Recipients) ü Community Outreach Programs ü Local non-profit ministries (e.g., homeless shelters, soup kitchens, food pantries, reentry programs; Probation Officers and Case Workers)

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Derived from the Jobs for Life Site Leader Guide, Student Relations Leader.

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Step 6: Identify and Invite Participants

2. FLIERS On the following page, you’ll find a flyer that you may use to market Work Life to a low-income audience. Use track changes, or highlight as you edit and adapt the flyer for your context. Consider sending this to other churches/organizations in your neighborhood and/or hanging it in strategic locations in the community. However, as discussed, relational marketing is best, so instead of just hanging a flier up in public places, consider trying to be present in the target area and pass out fliers by hand. Come to the local church’s food pantry ministry with fliers, go to the housing non-profit’s office for a few hours, or simply walk through your target community and knock on doors (if you are a stranger to your target neighborhood, definitely do this with someone who isn’t. This isn’t for your safety so much as for credibility. If you don’t know anybody in that target community, then you probably need to do that work first!)

3. FOCUS ON EXISTING ALLIES When participants show interest in the Work Life program, ask them to identify an already existing ‘ally’ in their lives. Ask that a friend, mentor, sibling, or parent who already plays that role attend the course with them. That way, you will already have that ally as a resource—and likely, this person understands the participant’s situation well. If motivation decreases, the participant will also be less likely to drop out.

4. INCENTIVIZE LEARNING The most important incentive for job readiness programs is a site’s demonstrated ability to help graduates find good jobs! In other words, if you really help people find work in a multi-generational poverty context, you will soon have no problem with recruitment! The closer you can tie participation in the course to actual work opportunities, the better. Some sites may even have connections that allow them to offer paid work alongside the class. It is also important to provide participants with a convenient context to attend the course. Having meals and childcare available is essential; this makes it possible for people with families to attend. Meals provide an incentive to come to the course and fellowship/build relationships, and childcare allows a safe place to leave children and concentrate on participation in the course. Our experience has also shown that relationships were strengthened by starting the course with informal mealtimes. This served to build rapport and supply a relational basis for working through difficult issues together.

5. CHARGE A FEE Charging each participant a small fee encourages participants to value the learning., Based on best practices in community development, the Chalmers Center actually believes that asking people to pay for a service empowers them and affirms their dignity. While at first it may seem questionable to charge lowincome people for job readiness education introducing early on the concept of sacrificing and investing lays the foundation for entering the work force. Aside from these reasons, practically speaking, $10 or $20 is a very reasonable price to pay for education, course materials, childcare, and meals over the weeks of the course.

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Work Life Toolkit

6. TEXTS AND PHONE CALLS One often overlooked but surefire way to increase retention in a class is simply to text or call all participants the day of/before class. This can happen through a mass text app (some are free), or through allies making phone calls, etc. This may seem like a trite thing to do, however, living in poverty is both stressful and discouraging. Having a phone call or text reminds people of what they’ve committed to doing and encourages them to do it. People who have never worked before may be unused to having a schedule and genuinely forget. Phone calls may also give a participant space to voice concerns or issues they are unwilling to voice in class. This is particularly important when classes aren’t every day. Don’t neglect this step3.

3 Helping the Poor in Education: The Power of a Simple Nudge, New York Times, 2014.

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LO O K I N G F O R WO R K ?

Join our Work Life job readiness class. We’ll eat, laugh, and struggle together as we learn about: ü ü ü ü ü

God’s design for work and for our lives, Our roadblocks to employment and how to overcome them Our strengths and abilities Workplace culture, and how to thrive in it How to create a great resume and other tools for landing a good job ü Come and consider how you can add value to God’s world through work! Cost: $10 Tuesday nights, 5:30-8. Begins September 10th. Dinner, workbook, and childcare included. For more information or to secure a spot, contact ___________________ at: me@mychurch.org | 423.208.XXXX

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Work Life Toolkit

STEP 7: HOST A WORK LIFE COURSE As mentioned, so much more happens in a Work Life training than increased jobs skills. Embrace this, setting a tone more like a family gathering than a class. Have music going when participants arrive. Get to know them. Laugh over dinner with them. Throughout the weeks, you’ll eventually transform the course time into “job practice” (see Step 8); however, make the time together fun and empowering—especially at the start. Practice embodying all these ideas about relationships done right! While creating a good environment is essential, safe, accountable, enjoyable learning also requires that the facilitator and the leadership team make sure things flow smoothly behind the scenes as the class progresses. Here are a few things to keep in mind: Breaking Bread Together As mentioned, a meal is an excellent way to break down boundaries and nourish ourselves together. This allows the Work Life community to become friends, quietly reminding us that we all depend on the Provider for sustenance. Many facilitators have a robust leadership team that home-cooks all the meals. Others with less support have done pizza and bags of salad each week. Many have invited participants to bring food, as well, or used takethemameal.com to invite small groups and friends in the church or community to help on different weeks. Eating Alone, Eating with Jesus is a great article on the power of eating as a central place for uniting what has been divided by sin. “At a good meal,” author Branson Parler says, “the bonds that sin broke begin to be restored. We reconnect with our Creator who provides the food, with the abundant creation that is our food and with other humans who share our meal and our lives.” You can read more here. Pairing Participants and Allies Facilitators often ask, “When do we pair up our allies and participants?” There is no one right answer to this, but in general, facilitators in the Work Life network have found that the best answer to be: as soon as possible. Generally, most facilitators find they wish they would have emphasized the roles sooner rather than later. Some participants may come with existing allies as suggested, which is very helpful. For others, you may need to wait a week or two to see what natural connections form. We do recommend formalizing this relationship as soon as comfortably possible so that friendships can begin to solidify. We also request that ally-participant relationships be the same gender, or involve both parties in the couple (this is best for participants and allies!) Ø What other ideas might you have for facilitating a strong, healthy start to ally-participant relationships?

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Step 8: Gather to Celebrate Ongoing Learning

STEP 8: GATHER TO CELEBRATE ONGOING LEARNING The Work Life course sets participants on a cycle of action and reflection. However slowly, graduates' work life and relationships will begin to change. Their attitudes and actions, being restored by self-reflection and the power of the Holy Spirit, will result in tangible transformation. This could be manifested in simple ways, such as getting their next job, working on their resume, or even jumping right back into the job search after a layoff or even being fired, rather than getting stuck in the underemployment cycle. Whatever the case, there will be cause for ongoing celebration, fodder for conversation, and new learning. Many of our facilitators have experimented with both having a Graduation Ceremony with family, friends, testimonies, and food at the conclusion of the course. Others have also built in regular “alumni gatherings.” In the box below, jot down some ideas you have about a possible graduation and possible follow-up gatherings in the box below. Remember, when you launch Work Life, you aren’t simply offering a class. You’re trying to create a community and culture of folks across lines of race and class who are listening to Jesus and seeking to flourish in their life and in their work.

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Work Life Toolkit

STEP 9: CONNECTING GRADUATES TO GOOD JOBS It’s not too early to start thinking about how to help graduates find and keep employment after they graduate. Begin by using the box below to brainstorm every work opportunity you can think of available to graduates likely to come through your Work Life training. Put a star beside anybody or any company where you have a relational connection.

Now, read the following pointers and suggestions, and then answer the questions below:

POST-GRADUATION EMPLOYMENT SUPPORT 1. Consider how you will tangibly help graduates find work. This will look different from site to site, but it is mission critical that you be able to tangibly help individuals find work over time. Some sites will operate referral services, networking with businesses all the time to try to connect opportunities with Work Life grads. Others will have more direct connections. Does someone in your church hire a lot of people? Is there a project in your church or ministry that would allow you to pay grads to contribute meaningful work? Consider talking to current vendors from whom your church or ministry gets supplies or products. Get creative! 2. Be prepared to help more than once. Remember, adults learn by doing. Work Life tries to be as participatory as possible, including several “real life” workplace simulations. But ultimately you can’t learn to work without working, and you can’t learn anything without occasionally failing. This means that you need to be prepared to counsel and help folks who fail (or simply get laid off) find their next opportunity. Additionally, you may have to help folks move from decent jobs to better jobs.

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Step 9: Connecting Graduates to Good jobs

3. Look for different types of work opportunities. Grads need different things. Some will be ready for higher competency work, while others will be looking for their first job ever. Network with staffing agencies to find a variety of different types of work. Make sure you find opportunities open to folks with criminal records and low education, while also making sure that your “book of businesses” includes opportunities where a worker can move up. If you only work with one employer, every graduate who makes a mistake and loses their job will become problematic. Try to “diversify your portfolio” of work options. 4. Identify career road blocks and network with resource providers to help graduates overcome them. Oftentimes, as you journey with a grad, you will find that there are deeper issues that prevent them from either finding or succeeding long-term on a job. Major categories include loweducation, addiction, and serious emotional health issues. Every Work Life site should be equipped to help/refer graduates to: a. GED and High School Equivalency Tutoring and Class Opportunities, as well as community colleges and trade schools. Figure out how to navigate the process and help your grads do so as needed. b. Addiction rehab and 12 Step Recovery programs.4 c. Counseling and mental health services. Figure out where the best (and most affordable/accessible) opportunities are. It may well be that finding professional counselors in your church who will volunteer is most effective. 5. Encourage Allies to work with grads to help them find their own jobs. This approach can help the job searching graduate take some ownership, while also matching them with someone whose social network and experience may help make the search more effective. 6. Remember: your Work Life site does not have to have all of these pieces in place at the start. As long as your program starts small, you almost certainly don’t need to will be able to help graduates find work simply by creatively connecting them to your church or ministry’s network and partnering with local business people to try to get your graduates’ feet in the door.

Take a few minutes and draft a brief plan to begin networking and planning to support grads in their postclass job search.

You can search for an Alcoholics Anonymous group near you at: http://www.aa.org/ On the relationship between spiritual issues, addiction, and emotional roadblocks like shame, check out this blog post: http://advancememphis.org/the-complexityand-shame-of-addiction/ 4

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Work Life Toolkit

Experienced Work Life sites have learned that most businesses have trouble finding workers who will show up on time and demonstrate a serious work ethic and strong character. If you can convince local businesses that your graduates will be better prepared than folks off the street, then you will have more success in getting folks hired. Because of this, in order to truly help graduates find and keep work, sites must make sure that completion of the Work Life course truly demonstrates basic readiness to work, particularly in the areas of punctuality and tardiness. Work Life participants may have never held down a job or possess long gaps in their employment history; some may be returning from the prison system. Work Life should ensure them an opportunity to build a reference by showing that they can come to class, work hard, participate, cooperate with others, and complete what they start. But this only can happen if sites have a strict attendance and punctuality policy they communicate to participants, and then, hold them accountable to maintain. This allows sites to provide full, legitimate employment support at the end of the class. While it's important to make sure the classroom provides a safe learning environment to adapt to professional culture, basic standards of professionalism must also be upheld. If sites never "fire" anyone from class for not showing up on time or coming to class, they probably aren't truly preparing participants for the real world of work, and thus cannot with integrity tell potential employers that they ought to hire graduates. As an example of a functional attendance policy, Advance Memphis uses the below guidelines. These are not mandatory rules for every site, but do provide a guideline of what one successful Work Life site uses. Ă˜ Examine Advance Memphis’s policies and adapt them for your context. Use track changes to make this document fit your context and make sure you have an intake process to have participants these forms as well as others (including photo/video release if you plan on ever recording classroom activities, and also basic demographic data and survey info).

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Step 9: Connecting Graduates to Good jobs

Advance Memphis Work Life Program

Policies and Procedures GENERAL POLICIES •

Be seated and present in the classroom on time.

Sign IN and OUT every day. Use the clock in the lobby.

Complete all assignments and program requirements on time

Abide by posted classroom policies

Pay $10 Program Fee is due on first day of class

OUR 4-POINT SYSTEM Once you accumulate 4-points, you will be dismissed from the Program. •

1 Point = One absence, Arrive after 9:15, or Leave for more than 1 hour

½ Point = Arrive between 9:01 and 9:15 or Leave for less than one hour

2 Points = No Call No Show by 3pm on day of Absence

DEFINITIONS One Excused Absence allowed if bring excuse with you (only allowed for critical appointments) No points will be added. Perfect Attendance is defined as arriving everyday on time and not missing any class time or afternoon activities.

DRUG TEST PROCEDURE •

Must pass test to work in Outsourcing or Staffing, and to receive job assistance post-graduation

Drug tests will only be taken before or after class time and on designated days

If you fail a drug test, you must wait 4 weeks before taking it again. No Exceptions.

STANDARD OF PROFESSIONALISM Work Life participants consistently demonstrate a basic level of professionalism. Failure in areas such as attitude, insubordination and work ethic regarding class participation will result in dismissal of Work Life program. I, _________________________________, have agreed to the above guidelines and understand that I may be terminated from the program if I do not respect them. I also understand that anonymous data concerning my employment will be collected for evaluative purposes.

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Work Life Toolkit

CREATING EMPOWERING RESUMES One strategy for helping people find work is simply by knowing how to write a resume that captures work skills and experience from folks who have never worked before. Work Life sites can help people capture volunteer experience, work done while incarcerated, and side-hustles (like cutting grass or raising dogs) in their resumes to show real experience that is often overlooked in a professional looking way. Watch this video of Daniel Williams helping Stanley Benton with a resume. Stanley served over 20 years in prison: youtube.com/watch?v=7cp_wK7l-a4 Then, examine the resumes below as examples to guide you in the session on resumes in Work Life. After you read them, in the box below, jot down any observations you made on how these resumes derived selling points for an interview from a participant’s experience—even if that person had a criminal record or no work experience.

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No Work History 901-333-3333 | candidate@gmail.com 777 Working Ave | Memphis, TN 38126

PERSONAL SUMMARY

Hard working individual who is dependable, punctual, and honest. A team player who gets along well with others. Available to work flexible shifts and able to lift more than 50 lbs.

EDUCATION

WORK LIFE COURSE, Student/ Participant, May 2010 ADVANCE MEMPHIS, Memphis, TN 180-hour intensive work-readiness program designed to prepare participants for success in the workforce •

One of 10 graduates of original class of 20

Adhered to very strict attendance and punctuality standards

Actively participated in job skills class, money management class, computer class, and GED class

Turned in daily assignments on time

RELEVANT EXPERIENCE

VOLUNTEER, April 2010 - Present ADVANCE MEMPHIS, Memphis, TN Served students in the Advance Memphis Work Life program •

Assisted computer instructor in tutoring adult participants who are computer illiterate

Served the organization through cleaning facilities such as cleaning tables, emptying trash, and sweeping floors

Answered phones on occasion and helped administration with various tasks

Served lunch to students, staff, and volunteers on regular basis

VOLUNTEER, March 2008 – May 2008 MOUNT NEBO CHURCH, Memphis, TN Responsible for maintaining the cleanliness of grounds •

Swept, mopped, and vacuumed floors

Walked grounds and picked up garbage and removed waste

Raked yard and bagged leaves

VOLUNTEER STUDENT MENTOR, January 2004 – May 2008 STREETS MINISTRY, Memphis, TN •

Organized and conducted various children’s sporting events

Maintained student’s safety by closely supervising all students and by following all policies

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Working While Incarcerated 901-333-3333 | candidate@gmail.com 777 Working Ave | Memphis, TN 38126

PERSONAL SUMMARY

Hard working individual with 4 years’ experience in the industrial sewing industry, including multiple raises and promotions. Recent graduate of the Advance Memphis Work Life program. Significant volunteer experience in grounds keeping and janitorial services.

RELEVANT EXPERIENCE

SEWING TECHNICIAN, 2006 - 2009 TRICOR MANUFACTURING, Memphis, TN Large, custom manufacturer with approximately 1000 workers. Company specializes in producing: Apparel, Bedding, Trash Bags, Cleaning Chemicals, Library Carts, File Cabinets, Storage, Fabrics •

Trained in upholstery techniques in 2006

Selected to assist on curtain assembly

Earned one of the top wages from 2004-2009

Gained expertise on the essential aspects of sewing, upholstery, and creating furnishings

VOLUNTEER, April 2010 – Present ADVANCE MEMPHIS, Memphis, TN Served students in the Advance Memphis Work Life program •

Assisted computer instructor in tutoring adult participants who are computer illiterate

Served the organization through cleaning facilities such as cleaning tables, emptying trash, and sweeping floors

Answered phones on occasion and helped administration with various tasks

VOLUNTEER, March 2008 – May 2008 MOUNT NEBO CHURCH, Memphis, TN Responsible for maintaining the cleanliness of grounds •

Swept, mopped, and vacuumed floors

Walked grounds and picked up garbage and removed waste

EDUCATION

WORK LIFE COURSE, Student/ Participant, May 2010 ADVANCE MEMPHIS, Memphis, TN •

One of 10 graduates of original class of 20

Adhered to very strict attendance and punctuality standards

Actively participated in job skills class, money management class, computer class, and GED class

Turned in daily assignments on time

REFERENCES

PASTOR ALAN JACKSON, Assistant Pastor, GRACE LUTHERAN CHURCH, 901-777-7777

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NOTES


Work Life Toolkit

INSPIRING THE COMMUNITY OF FAITH TO CARE ABOUT EMPLOYMENT Helping graduates find work may seem daunting. Yet the truth is, in your church and social network, you know people who love Jesus and who are “gate keepers” to jobs. Perhaps they work in HR, perhaps they are business owners themselves, perhaps they simply have influence with the “hiring and firing” folks at their job. Whatever the case may be, if you can convince these folks to care about unemployment among the long-term materially poor, they can become powerful agents in helping your graduates find work. Of course, you can appeal to anyone to hire your grads for the reasons listed above. But for people who love Jesus, we can also appeal to God’s Word. To consider this further, read the below article by Work Life co-author Michael Rhodes on how the Bible calls all of us to help create opportunities for the marginalized. This article comes from a talk Rhodes gave at the 2015 CCDA National Conference. If you’d prefer to watch the 12-minute video, it can be viewed at: youtube.com/watch?v=Lj0XC9JMPXg&feature=youtu.be

GLEANING TOWARD THE KING JESUS ECONOMY By Michael Rhodes “Why work?” Think back to your first job: why did you get that job and what difference did it make in your life? Why do you work now? What difference does work make to you today? The apostle Paul gives us a glimpse of how he would answer the question in Ephesians 4:28. Paul writes: “Let the one who steals, steal no longer, but instead work something good with his hands, so that he may have something to share with those who are in need.” In this one verse about people who are stealing, Paul almost in passing gives us the beginning of a Christian view of work. Paul suggests that work allows the worker to do something good, to provide for themselves and their family, and to have something to share with those who are in need. While there’s certainly more to say, that’s a pretty good place to start for anybody trying to understand what work is all about. But Paul isn’t talking about just anybody, he’s talking about thieves. He’s talking about people who are destroying the neighborhood. These are the folks that end up on the 5 o’clock news. And Paul suggests that work provides the means by which these community destroyers become community philanthropists. Because for Paul, the ultimate goal isn’t simply that these thieves “get off the welfare roles” or attain the American dream of independence. No, Paul envisions a neighborhood where work is the means by which everybody can give, where everyone can contribute, where even former thieves support their neighbors when they hit hard times. Twice a month, Donald Jenkins, proud owner of Jenkins Lawn and Tree Removal company, cuts my yard. When I met Donald, he came as one of the former thieves looking for a way to become a philanthropist because he met this guy named Jesus through the ministry of Christ’s Church, a church in our South Memphis neighborhood. Through the job training and entrepreneurship programs at Advance Memphis, a neighborhood non-profit, and the employers

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Inspiring the Community of Faith to Care about Employment

and entrepreneurs who partner with Advance, Donald not only got a job, he also started his own business, a business which he now uses to hire other folks from his neighborhood who need jobs. Donald is changing our community and neighborhood. And work is a big part of what made it possible. But as we read Ephesians 4:28 in 2015, and as we reflect on Donald’s story and other stories like his, we have to ask the question: what happens when the thief can’t find a job? For that matter, what happens when any marginalized group struggles to find work? People with disabilities, folks with low-educational attainment, individuals from neighborhoods of concentrated poverty . . . all of these demographics struggle to find a job. Paul spoke about what work could do for those who had been destroying the community, but many of those who struggle to find work in America aren’t the guilty, they’re the victims: victims of racism, systemic injustice, and failing schools. And when these marginalized folks do find work, it is often temporary, unstable, or pays so poorly that it can’t even enable the worker to get off welfare, much less have an abundance to share with those in need. What happens when for many of our marginalized neighbors work just doesn’t seem to work? Now, at this point, you’re probably thinking one of two things. Most of you are probably thinking: yeah, of course, and if we could just raise the minimum wage and quit giving tax breaks to the rich, then the government could ensure a living wage and we could solve this problem. And some of you may be thinking: yeah, of course, if we’d just get inefficient bloated government bureaucracies out of the way of the free market, quit loading down job creating entrepreneurs with taxes and regulations, the market would create the jobs and we could solve this problem. But notice what both of these approaches have in common. Both approaches outsource responsibility for our neighbors’ difficulty in finding work far enough away that it costs us very little. Republicans might outsource responsibility to the invisible hand, and Democrats might outsource to Uncle Sam, but it’s outsourcing all the same. Now don’t get me wrong: questions about how markets and government can support lowincome communities are important; this outsourcing isn’t all bad. God made markets and government, and it is important for these institutions to work well for everyone. But the Bible also provides us with examples of how God’s people as God’s people can work together to create opportunity for work through our own creative, sacrificial action. I want to suggest that outsourcing isn’t our only option. I want to suggest that these biblical examples have the power to inspire us to come out of our conservative vs. liberal trenches and together create access to meaningful work for the marginalized. The Bible is filled with passages that have this power to fuel our imaginations and inspire us to pursue this kingdom economy, but I’d like to focus on just one: the Gleaning Laws. The Gleaning Laws said Israelite farmers had to leave the edges of their fields unharvested and only go over their fields to collect produce once. By following these instructions, landowners would leave some of their profits in the fields, so that the most vulnerable in the land- the

41


Work Life Toolkit

orphan, the widow, the immigrant, and the poor- could work in the land-owner’s field and provide for themselves through their work. Now, in an agricultural economy, the family farm IS the family business. And in that context, the gleaning laws shatter our cultural expectations for how to care for those in need. On the one hand, gleaning requires those in need to work, whereas so many of our charities and government programs don’t require and even disincentivize work. On the other hand, the Gleaning Laws required every Israelite business person to leave profits in the fields to create these opportunities for work, whereas both American Christianity and American conservatism have baptized my right to do what I want with my hard-earned stuff. The Gleaning Laws do not rely on either the government or market forces. Instead, they require every member of the faith community to personally and sacrificially create space for the marginalized to work and provide for themselves. We no longer live in an agrarian economy, and we no longer live in a theocracy. But if we have ears to hear, the laws and stories around gleaning in the Bible can inspire us to creatively and sacrificially take responsibility for making sure that work works for the marginalized in our communities and neighborhoods. Around the country, Christians are choosing to stop relying only on Uncle Sam or the Invisible Hand of the market to give the marginalized an opportunity to work. Instead, they’re working together to create opportunities for work for their neighbors by leaving some of the profits in their proverbial fields. Gleaning happens when business people like Wes Gardner, owner of Prime Trailer Leasing, partners with a halfway house to hire teen moms, surrounds them with supportive people, trains them to do nearly every element of the business, and pays them over $13 an hour for 18 months. At the end of that time, these young women are ready and able to find their own jobs, either with Wes or somewhere else. That’s gleaning in action. Gleaning happens when social entrepreneurs like Dick Gygi start businesses and enterprises specifically to create jobs, like Dick did with his award-winning ThriftSmart franchise in Nashville, which has created dozens of jobs at above-market wages, trains employees, and shares profits with full-time and part-time staff on a monthly basis. That’s gleaning in action. These strategies allow Christ-followers to create opportunity for work for those who are often excluded from the market place. Each of these strategies requires believers to leave some of their profits in the field in order to create this opportunity. And each of these strategies is currently being done by believers associated with the Christian Community Development Association network. I know because representatives of all the initiatives I just named presented at this year’s CCDA Market Solutions for Community Transformation Conference. What would responding to the Gleaning Laws require of us? It would require us to bend all of our economic lives towards those on the margins, to steward our purchases, investments, businesses, and wealth towards the underemployed and folks returning from prison, high school dropouts and people with disabilities. It would require a generation of God’s people who don’t divide the work up into “business” and “ministry,” but who pursue creative strategies for caring

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Inspiring the Community of Faith to Care about Employment

for at-risk communities through market-place solutions. It would require us to lay down our partisan ideologies. What would be the result if we did respond to the Gleaning Laws? First, we would create communities where work makes it possible for every member to give their gifts to the neighborhood. Second, by taking responsibility for this work, by refusing to simply outsource responsibility to free markets or federal governments, we might actually learn what works, and how, beyond partisan ideology, both governments and markets can contribute to human flourishing. Because if we’re honest, we don’t know how to fix “the system;” good smart people who love Jesus think that the rising tide of the free market can’t help folks who don’t have boats, and good smart people who love Jesus wonder if big minimum wage increases won’t actually kill more jobs than they create. But if we start living towards the kingdom economy of God as the body of Christ, perhaps we can care for our neighbors and begin to learn how best to understand the role of governments and the market in supporting economies that ensure every member can contribute through work. But third and finally, if we were to live towards this kingdom economy, it would change us for the better. Because the truth is, when we stop at outsourcing responsibility for our economy to free markets or government policy, we just join in a community-wide blame game that points fingers at others and does nothing to reduce the distance between me and my neighbor. But when we work together as the church to leave some of our profits in the fields to create opportunity for neighbors like Donald, our lives change too. I can no longer think of Donald and others like him as the “needy.” I now am on the receiving end of his work, and get to watch him leave profits in the field to create opportunities for the next guy. Work makes that possible, work that came through the creative sacrifice of God’s people. One day, King Jesus will come back. And when He does, He’ll bring a kingdom with Him, a kingdom with an economy in which all of those who are in Christ will build houses and dwell in them, in which all will plant vineyards and enjoy their fruit (Isaiah 65). One part of our task as the church today is to make that King Jesus economy believable, tastable, smellable to the marginalized of our world. The Gleaning Laws give us a paradigm for embodying this economy by leaving profits in the field and intentionally creating opportunities for work for the marginalized. May God give us the wisdom and courage to follow Him in this work.

Pages 44 - 55 are not included in this preview

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WORKS CITED Corbett, Steve, and Fikkert, Brian, When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty without Hurting the Poor‌and Yourself, 2012. ISBN-13: 978-0802457066 Payne, Ruby K., A Framework for Understanding Poverty, 2005. ISBN: 978-1929229482. Rhodes, Michael, Ally Orientation Materials, Advance Memphis, 2012. Sherman, Amy, Establishing a Church-based Welfare to Work Mentoring Ministry, 2000. ISBN: 1-5581-076-4.

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Work Life Toolkit  

A guide to planning your job readiness education ministry

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