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Local organizations partner up to help the unemployed to find jobs

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - 

A new partnership is helping South Bend’s homeless and unemployed get back on their feet. Hope Ministries is teaming up with Goodwill Industries of Michiana, and while the partnership may be new, the goal of both organizations has been on the same track for years.

Hope Ministries is a residential program that assists people recovering from addiction and working to overcome homelessness. The organization houses residents for 12 to 18 months as they become stable.

During that time, the ministry provides a variety of programs to help emotional or inward brokenness. After that, the it focuses on how its residents can become stable economically and reenter the workforce.

Hope Ministries has had a job readiness program for a while, but by partnering with Goodwill’s training programs, it’s hoping its residents will get the best of the best.

“What we’ve found is Goodwill is much better at doing this than we are. They’re the experts in the community on helping people get back in the work force,” said David Vanderveen, executive director of Hope Ministries. “So we feel it’s a tremendous benefit to our residents to have them go through Goodwill’s program because they will get, I think, a really excellent program and a much better chance to find the job they need.”

The Goodwill Works program helps people understand what will be expected of them when entering the workforce. Two weeks of classes are spent breaking that information down.

“We need to spend time on how to go to work. What are those things that contribute to being on time, scheduling appointments around your work schedule? What do you do when a co-worker upsets you?” said Debie Coble, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries of Michiana.

After those two weeks, people either find a job, or go into Goodwill’s Work Experience program. This is a paid position within Goodwill helping to put those classroom discussions to practice.

Goodwill spends about nine hours a day working with people through this program.

“So partnering with an agency like Hope can provide the wrap-around services and strengthen the things that are not vocationally oriented and that makes individuals much stronger candidates when they’re ready to go into the workforce,” said Coble.

Coble added that she has a lot of respect for Hope Ministries because they look at the core issues of what people need.

So this partnership is really about taking the strengths of two organizations, and putting them together to provide a better experience.

“They’ll be getting the best of Goodwill and the best of Hope Ministries, because we can focus on the pieces of the program that we feel we do really well and let Goodwill do the pieces that they do really well,” said Vanderveen.

It will also increase the chances of participants finding a job, because they will have an agency backing them, and can add the program to their resume.

Hope Ministries is asking for donations to buy two-week bus passes for those participating in the program. These passes will provide them with transportation to and from Goodwill.

You can donate at Hope Ministries or buy a bus pass online. Go to this link, select “Buy Fare Cards” and “14 Day Pass.” The passes can then be mailed to Hope Ministries at 432 S. Lafayette Blvd., South Bend, IN 46601.

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