Jack came into one of Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas’ Emergency Assistance Centers seeking more than food and utility assistance. He was looking for a job. Jack is among the growing number of people turning to Catholic Charities for employment support services. “Our goal is to help people obtain full-time jobs with a career path that will further their employment opportunities,” explains Kim Brabits, MSW, Vice President, Program Operations.
At Catholic Charities, case workers provide screening tools that look at work experience, skills and education. In Jack’s case, his skill set was in carpentry. It was a field he wanted to pursue, but lacked the resources. After setting him up with the Carpenters District Council of Kansas City, Jack signed up for the apprenticeship program and had a contractor willing to hire him if he could pass his OSHA 10 certification. But Jack didn’t have access to a computer to take the required online training – or the $35 to pay for it.
Computers are available in our Emergency Assistance Centers for use to do job searches, create resumes and complete online job applications. “We identify employers who are hiring, and we coach them through the application and interview process,” adds Brabits. “We help with training fees and provide some special tools, if necessary, to meet job requirements.” With Catholic Charities’ help, Jack now has a good paying, full-time job and is enrolled in the Carpenters’ Apprenticeship Program. The job, however, provides more than a paycheck. It gives Jack a renewed sense of dignity.
“The greatest gift that Catholic Charities can provide to those we serve is to help empower them to be able to provide for themselves and their families,” says Most Reverend Joseph F. Naumann, D.D., Archbishop of Kansas City in Kansas. “Work is ennobling.”
Beyond employment support, Catholic Charities provides financial education and practical information so that people are better equipped to handle their expenses once they start receiving a regular income. A Fundamental Financial Series is offered that includes how to budget, the importance of establishing credit, how to set financial goals and more. In addition, Catholic Charities works in partnership with CommunityAmerica Credit Union Foundation on a 12-month financial program geared for the entire family. To help eliminate hardships caused by predatory payday loans, the organization also has a loan refinance program, the Kansas Loan Pool Project (KLPP).
Although the circumstances of those served may necessitate on-going assistance, the goal of Catholic Charities is to help people move into more hopeful, sustainable and self-sufficient situations. Adds Archbishop Naumann, “We want those we serve someday to be in a position where they cannot only provide for themselves, but also help others realize their dreams.”