Work-readiness program comes to Suffolk

Published 9:34 pm Monday, January 14, 2013

A work-readiness program beginning later this month will help people address the roots of unemployment through mentoring, interview practice and networking opportunities, among other features.

Jobs for Life is a national, Christian-based work readiness program that is being hosted by Hope for Suffolk, the community development initiative of Westminster Reformed Presbyterian Church, in partnership with the Coalition Against Poverty in Suffolk.

“Jobs for Life is the best program that I have seen at really solving the problem of unemployment,” said Hayden Hill, director of Hope for Suffolk. “It’s based on trying to help people develop value for work.”

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According to Hill, 86 percent of people who lose a job before holding it for an entire year do so not because of lack of skill, but because of attitude reasons — perhaps not valuing their job, conflict with their boss or not showing up on time, she said.

The program centers on providing students with the character needed to find and keep a job, Hill said.

During the eight-week, 16-class course, participants will practice interview skills with local human resources professionals, meet business leaders, develop job-search skills, practice presentations, work with a mentor and more.

At the end of the program, three people will sign off on a participant’s readiness to work, Hill said — showing they not only completed the course, but also took its lessons to heart.

“My biggest hope here is two-fold,” Hill said. “One is for students to recognize there’s dignity in work. We thrive as human beings when we’re working. The second thing is for this to turn into a decrease in unemployment in Suffolk.”

A number of local employers will be able to interact with students, making the program beneficial for all sides, Hill said.

“For the business community to have a pool of people seeking employment is a win-win,” Hill said. “We’re working very hard to connect all the dots.”

The program will be held Wednesday and Sunday nights from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., with the first class on Jan. 30. Dinner and child care will be provided on Wednesdays only. Classes will be held at Westminster Reformed Presbyterian Church, 3488 Godwin Blvd.

The course is free and open to the public.

For more information, call Hayden Hill at 539-0540, email or visit