Jubilee Jobs helps impoverished men and women find jobs and advance into careers to be able to adequately support themselves and their children -- more than 21,000 have been served since 1981.
Why do we exist?
We emerged as an organization out of a deep recession in the early 1980s, when unemployment skyrocketed and jobs grew scarce. We serve all who are ready, willing and able to work.
Now in these turbulent economic times, our work is more essential than ever. We carry out our mission knowing that we can only be successful through the collaboration of people who care about the community and its residents. By working together we not only help those in need, we help ourselves and our entire community. Helping individuals achieve dignity through their own labor and meaningful employment also enables them to give back to the common good by spending in the community and in their contributions in taxes, Medicare and Social Security payments.
As we celebrate a major milestone of 30 years of service in the Washington metropolitan community, we are proud to be a place of hope for our community’s poorest and most vulnerable residents through work. We are one of few organizations in the area to provide skilled job preparation, placement and follow-up retention and support services necessary to address a most pressing concern: the large number of poor, unemployed and underemployed men and women who live in our community, and the children for whom they are responsible. We help individuals find adequate employment and income to enable them to provide for basic needs, such as food, shelter, clothing for themselves and their families and, ultimately, to move toward sustainable economic self-sufficiency.
The causes of joblessness are myriad and include every social concern imaginable. We see past such hurdles as homelessness, poverty, addiction, lack of education, or having been incarcerated to envision everyone’s ability to achieve a successful, productive life. Job placement is merely a first step in our process, which begins a life transformation for many of our applicants. Once an individual is working, focus turns to job retention: Our unique program includes regular contact with working applicants and employers and provides a community of support to help keep applicants on the job. This community of support helps to alleviate isolation and despair that come with poverty and to focus on an applicant’s success and growth. Those who continue to work and come together regularly in this support community are then eligible for Move-Up counseling and placement in positions earning $10 to $15 per hour with benefits. Employment advancement now becomes a powerful motivator for further education. Many of our applicants, initially only capable of holding entry-level jobs, are now taking steps to obtain needed education and skills essential to moving forward, particularly in this difficult, competitive economic climate.
What have you accomplished?
Jubilee Jobs creates new beginnings for those with great need. To date, we have helped more than 22,000 area jobseekers hear the longed-for words, “You’re hired,” and begin this journey toward a living wage. Our services are free to all who are ready to make that new beginning. Experience has verified our belief that people can move out of joblessness and poverty and build a stronger future through open access to the job market.
Some facts and figures for 2010:
- More than 3,000 attendees flocked to our orientation program, desperately searching for jobs; 2,001 enrolled in our program.
- Despite emerging out of the most serious recession since the Great Depression, we exceeded our placement goal by 10 percent and were able to help 886 individuals enter the workforce.
- Of the 886 individuals placed, 417 were ex-offenders, 287 homeless, 477 recipients of public assistance, and included immigrants representing 24 countries.
- We placed 516 applicants in entry-level jobs and 370 in Move-Up-level positions.
- Thirty-two percent of these working applicants are parents whose employment served to improve the lives of 557 children.
- Job retention is a very important goal at Jubilee Jobs. These efforts were instrumental in an impressive 2010 job retention rate of 74% — the highest retention rate ever—and all the more remarkable considering a typical turnover rate of almost 100% in the first year of most entry-level employment.
- To minimize the turnover rate, job counselors and other staff maintain close contact with applicants for a minimum of two years. Our Job Friends support-community offers monthly meetings for working applicants to build skills and connections and provides clients with a supportive community devoted to their success at work. Other support groups, including Hope Circles, meet weekly or bi-weekly.
This past year marked another very exciting milestone for Jubilee Jobs—and fulfilled a longtime dream. On August 31, 2010, we opened a satellite office in the heart of Anacostia, in Southeast DC’s Ward 8. This is the poorest area of the city, where unemployment exceeds 25%. Staffed by two of our most effective job counselors and a receptionist, this office succeeded in placing nearly 100 individuals in jobs by the end of 2010. This success motivated us to increase our overall goal for 2011 to 1,000 applicant placements!
All over the city, Jubilee Jobs applicants are reaching for the stars and demonstrating how entry into the job market can lead to unlimited possibilities and independent futures. It is always wonderful to hear amazing stories of the accomplishments of applicants after enrollment in our program. Examples of successes we celebrate, as applicants continue to be part of our community, are included below:
• Patricia’s story illustrates a hope-filled journey, which started back in 2005 when she entered our program. She was initially hired at minimum wage as a dietary aide for a local nursing home. Patricia had dropped out of school many years earlier but dreamed of finishing her secondary education. With encouragement from a mentor, she earned her GED, and by 2006 she had obtained a Move-Up job as a receptionist for a local business earning $10 per hour with benefits. Her hard work continued to pay off with pay increased to $12 an hour. In 2008, Patricia shared her goal of obtaining an associate’s degree and enrolled in college. Now, in June 2011, Patricia has succeeded, having graduated from Strayer University with an Associate’s Degree in business, while working full-time. Her next goal? To be determined!
• Derek is a good example of not giving up: He has taken a long journey with Jubilee Jobs, coming here first in 2003 in search of work. He was placed in an entry-level position as a fork-lift operator at a department store warehouse. When that job ended, he worked at a grocery store chain. But drugs had been a longtime issue for him—he had served time for drug charges in the 1990s—and he was still “not ready to surrender,” as he puts it—even after finding himself homeless for a time, living at the big CCNV shelter, which was “ a real eye opener.” Finally ready, he entered a residential recovery program and was meeting with more success when he showed up at Jubilee Jobs again in 2009. He was placed at a photo store first, then he took a job as clerk at a very busy national package delivery store in the heart of downtown DC. In the two years he has worked there he has been promoted to the position of production coordinator. He knows now he cannot do it alone and is a firm believer in 12-step programs, and credits finding God, a good second marriage, and his church for giving him the strength to finally move forward—as well as Jubilee Jobs. He says Jubilee Jobs “prepares you for the job and for life in general.” His goal? In order to give back something to the community and to those wanting to turn their lives around, Derek shares his moving story with applicants and donors alike. “Help others and you’ll be blessed,” he says.
• Marcelle came to a Jubilee Jobs orientation in January 2009. Originally from the Republic of Congo, she traveled to the U.S. with her husband in search of a better life. By February, she had gotten hired at a nursing home in the dietary area making $7.55 per hour and eventually earning more than $10 per hour with health benefits. She began working with our Move-Up counselor for help moving into working with residents, realizing that a good career track for her would be to become a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA). Now she has finished CNA training and earned her certification, graduating as valedictorian. In order to gain hands-on experience in her chosen field, she recently took an on-call position at another nursing facility. With the help of the Move-Up counselor, she continues to develop her goals and hopes in the long-term to own her own business.
• Earl came to Jubilee Jobs five years ago. After years of addiction, he enrolled in a treatment program and after graduating, he was then directed to Jubilee Jobs to find work. He began working at a grocery store chain as a courtesy clerk in 2006, and by 2008 he was exploring the apprenticeship program to become a meat cutter. Since then he has worked in many different departments in the store, gaining a wide range of skills and becoming a valuable and reliable employee for the grocery chain. His branch store is under major construction now, so he is temporarily shifted to another store. But with his reputation as a good employee, various branches may be in competition to employ him. “I’ve never held a job this long before,” Earl says. His goals are to go back to school for his high school diploma and to save up enough money for his own place and a car. Earl’s advice to new jobseekers—“Stay on the job, you’ll go forward!”
In the midst of the pain and suffering of so many during this economic crisis, we can still rejoice over the miracles, small and large, in the lives of applicants, which you make possible. We all celebrate these wonderful achievements.