A Christian Employment Support Group

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corbin
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A Christian Employment Support Group

Post by corbin » Fri May 30, 2014 12:44 pm

Have you ever thought of starting an Employment Support Group in your Church today. Lack of Employment is one of the biggest issues facing the World today. We have Support Groups for Alcoholics, Gamblers and other assorted addictions so why not one for those who are unemployed over a period of time where this can develop into an addiction as well.

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Joe Parrish
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Post by Joe Parrish » Sat May 31, 2014 5:01 pm

Hi Corbin, :)
We found each person was so unique that what helped most was to advise them to get interviews for any jobs any way they could. It takes maybe 6 interviews to get 'good' at being interviewed, but sharing one's experiences at interviews might be helpful if there were an experienced job counselor present to lead the group. In the US, a number of years back, it required at least 200 job application letters to get six interviews and two good job offers, so finding a job is hard work in and of itself.
Peace and Easter blessings,
Joe :)
Peace and blessings,
Joe

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Joyce
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Post by Joyce » Sat May 31, 2014 6:08 pm

Joe, it's similar here. Everybody is different. It takes many applications before one gets as far as being invited to an interview,and then it's getting through the interview that's hard if one hasn't been for one for years.
In the UK there are job-clubs in town centres run by the jobcentres (government offices for the unemployed,employers, those wanting to change jobs etc ).
At these clubs unemployed people (whom the government calls 'jobseekers' ) can get free telephone use and internet access, free stationery and advice,not to mention postage which is horrendously expensive for anybody who has to send in job applications. They can arrange cheap or free transport to interviews.There is training and practice for interviews. There's also advice on setting up as self-employed.
From what I've been told,unemployed people get a lot of moral support from one-another and they can share experiences,which is another good reason they find to attend the club. Only the government has the money for this sort of thing. It would be a very rare church indeed that could do it,although it may happen in a few places.
I don't know what they do in other towns but in ours there is a charity centre that collects donations of shoes,suits and ties and all forms of smart clothing for interviewees so that a homeless person, for instance, or someone who's been out of work for a long time, doesn't look too shabby at the interview. We can give these clothes to the council binmen in special bags to be taken to the centre.

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Post by Joe Parrish » Sat May 31, 2014 9:14 pm

Joyce wrote:<>In the UK there are job-clubs in town centres run by the jobcentres (government offices for the unemployed,employers, those wanting to change jobs etc ). At these clubs unemployed people (whom the government calls 'jobseekers' ) can get free telephone use and internet access, free stationery and advice,not to mention postage which is horrendously expensive for anybody who has to send in job applications. They can arrange cheap or free transport to interviews.There is training and practice for interviews. There's also advice on setting up as self-employed. ...From what I've been told,unemployed people get a lot of moral support from one-another and they can share experiences,which is another good reason they find to attend the club. Only the government has the money for this sort of thing. It would be a very rare church indeed that could do it,although it may happen in a few places.
Sounds great! Joyce :) Wonderful program! Thanks!
Peace and Easter blessings,
Joe :)
Peace and blessings,
Joe

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Post by Ernest » Sat May 31, 2014 9:21 pm

I'm aware that some churches have setup Employment Support networks, but in partnership with other agencies. There aren't many churches that have the people with the necessary skills and contacts to do this on a voluntary basis. But working in partnership with other agencies, perhaps using a church building or hall as a meeting point is workable and I know that it works well in a multi-agency partnership in Deal in Kent. Mind you, that partnership is does much more than provide employment support.

I think that some might go into this sort of thing with good intentions, but without the resources or volunteers to keep it going, setting themselves up to fail. But partnership is the way forward. It's about community cohesion, involving all, not just those who go to church.
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corbin
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Post by corbin » Sat May 31, 2014 11:11 pm

I know a church in Houston, Texas that has such an Employment Support Group and they have been very successful with it. They have helped a lot of people. It is quite a large church so that they can muster a number of volunteers who would have the expertise in helping people find jobs.

Corbin

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Joyce
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Post by Joyce » Sun Jun 01, 2014 2:49 am

Corbin, you do realise, don't you, that this is a Church-of-England site ?
It is, of course, like the CofE itself, open to anybody.
However,hardly anybody in i-church is American. Some situations are totally different on this side of the pond.
For one thing, everybody here lives in a parish. A parish does not usually cover a very large area. Some of them have seen people move away over the years. I once attended a church where nobody had lived in the parish for two hundred years. It was in a city centre, next to a carpark and a short walk from a bus station. It was very well-attended,drawing its congregation from all over the city. It would be small, even so,by American standards. We could have fifty or sixty people at a Sunday morning service.It had a vicar and a curate.
It was able to run a small cafe staffed by volunteers, where people could come during the week to socialise while they were in town and some would seek advice on spiritual matters or bring other problems. It was a good source of outreach. That sort of set-up isn't within the capability of most parishes,however.
In terms of size of the attending congregation that church was the exception. It wouldn't be the only church in the country like that but those that are similar would almost always be in a town or city centre. We had probably the largest individual congregation in the city but we couldn't have run a job club.
In England and Wales the norm is for churchgoers, if they are Anglican, to attend their nearest parish church. It's usually within walking distance. In highly populated urban areas there might be a church every few streets.
Parishes are in other cases so small they may have to share even the vicar with half-a-dozen others. This is especially so in rural or semi-rural parishes where the population has left the area over the years.
In this country, half of us don't have access to a car. The USA has one of the lowest prices for petrol (gasoline) in the world, the UK has one of the highest.
The USA has the largest car-ownership in the world.
I imagine in Houston the number of people who can't get to the church is relatively small. Here,if a parish church located anywhere but a town centre or similar was running a job club, unemployed people who live in other parts of the town wouldn't be able to afford to go to it anyway,certainly not every day.The price of a bus into town and out again in order to get to the church - and another two buses home - could cost half a week's benefit and take hours. If they had a car it doesn't mean they could afford the petrol. And of course the church wouldn't have the money to give them free postage and phone calls etc.

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Post by Ernest » Sun Jun 01, 2014 7:18 am

Corbin, Joyce has pointed out the pitfalls of your last post.

You are asking in the context in which WE live. We are in the UK and schemes which might work with very large churches in the USA, might not transfer well to a small rural parish, which might have a congregation of 10 or 15 and who share their parish priest with another eight or nine churches.

As I pointed out earlier, some churches do work in this area, but they work in partnership with other agencies, and by sharing resources, contacts and sign posting people to the services that they need, they can have some success.

I know one church where they assist people in writing CV's and provide opportunities to gain interview experience - but this is one, who work in partnership with local agencies and employers to guide people towards available roles. They just don't have the resources to acts as a major employer support agency in their, local context.

The issue from my perspective is that placing people in so called 'internships' or other zero hour contacts or unpaid work experience is not something that churches should be doing. If someone is working than they deserve to be paid the going rate. There are too many people being forced into these situations, which is unfair to them and they are than penalised by sanctions being applied to their benefits if they are unable to meet unrealistic expectations or if they are judged by a nameless official in the Job Centre as not meeting whatever targets they are given, whether they are achievable or not.

And if you are thinking of large churches in the UK such as Holy Trinity Brompton, remember that they have a membership of hundreds of the wealthy and are money rich so able to do some of the things that Mega Churches in the USA do - but their outreach is more in terms of mission and church planting than providing employer support.
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Post by Jae » Sun Jun 01, 2014 12:59 pm

I think it is a bit of an assumption that unemployment is addictive.

I think addictions can lead to unemployment but to see unemployment in itself as an isolated addiction is condemning people who already will feel bad about lack of work without be labelled with something else and ignoring real addictions that should be helped first.

There are many causes of unemployment, especially long term unemployment, they are usually political in the sense of how we treat the vulnerable in society and financial in the sense of commerce and big business and out of the hands of individual people who may be unemployed other than having the power to vote ... that's if they have a home/address of course.
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Joyce
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Post by Joyce » Sun Jun 01, 2014 2:06 pm

Jae wrote:I think it is a bit of an assumption that unemployment is addictive.
What an understatement, Jae ! Very British. Very polite.
Jae wrote: I think addictions can lead to unemployment but to see unemployment in itself as an isolated addiction is condemning people who already will feel bad about lack of work ..........
Exactly !
Anybody so attached to unemployment that it became an addiction would surely be mentally ill. They'd need a psychiatrist from the hospital, not a resettlement officer from the job centre. Depression caused by unemployment is a different matter. Generally speaking, people too mentally or physically sick to work at all are considered in the UK to be incapacitated, not unemployed.
I can't say I've ever known or heard of somebody who was addicted to being out of work. It could be an American thing, perhaps ? Over there,so I'm told, they need to label many things 'addiction' so that their health insurance companies will pay for 'therapy' of some sort.

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Post by Pam » Sun Jun 01, 2014 8:25 pm

To be fair, by 'a sort of addiction', I understood Corbin to mean that if people become hopeless about finding work it may become very hard for them to break the cycle of being unemployed.

I think it's very important for churches to do what they can to help people with specific problems. I'm sure there must be examples of churches in the UK joining together to provide support and encouragement to people who are looking for work.

Unfortunately, unemployment can become a bit of a vicious circle, as it seems to be much harder to persuade people you're worth employing if you haven't already got a job. Repeated unsuccessful job applications do make you feel as if you're never going to get a job, so any encouragement anyone can give at that stage is worthwhile.

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Post by Ernest » Mon Jun 02, 2014 7:10 am

As a child, our father suffered several periods of unemployment. I can well remember the scrimping and saving that went on. Visits to the National Assistance Office, sitting in long lines waiting to be seen than him being interviewed from behind a glass screen by a cheerless and hard hearted civil servant. They made visits to home to investigate whether he had savings and even suggested selling some furniture, what little we had to get some money.

He had to sign on weekly and if he was late could be fined a proportion of his benefit, which if I remember rightly was about 18s a week for an adult with three growing children.

On one job he got in the building trade, he was injured and was off sick without sick pay for about six months. They were desperate times indeed. State support was very sparse and I know we went hungry quite a lot. Our clothes were always second hand from second hand clothes shops, there were quite a few in those day. I suppose that they're now called charity shops.

We also received some charity food from the Catholic Church, which at that time seemed to operate a hardship fund - our Father turned to them in desperation on more than one occasion. When I got my care records back, I read a report from a Catholic Priest which said that as children we were generally untidy, looked unkept and seemed continually undernourished. We were on free school meals for the whole of my childhood. So, there was some empathy there, despite my own experience later in life.

Poverty is grinding and dispiriting. Enforced poverty due to government policies which discourage unemployment, when it's not within the control of individuals is something that I deplore, and despair of with the policies of the current government.
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Post by Pam » Mon Jun 02, 2014 10:00 am

Yes, my dad had several spells of unemployment during my childhood - there was a recession and there just weren't that many jobs around, and as he worked in sales he was often one of the first to be made redundant. I think my parents thought we, as children, weren't aware of what was happening, but we were.

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Beth
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Post by Beth » Mon Jun 02, 2014 5:12 pm

I'm not going to waffle too much in my reply as I could talk on this topic forever. I've had a poor experience of being unemployed. I wasn't given help beyond the most basic, and I think experiences of unemployment are curated by locality and postcode.

By which I mean, as an unemployed person you become dependent on services that are local to you. Although it is possible to move for work and job search worldwide, an individual has to have personal finances in order to do this. I think you could talk of addiction in terms of extreme dependency on the system that supports unemployed people.

In healthy communities, as Joyce has indicated, peer support networks are available sometimes, and there may be more cross-links between unemployed and working communities. So there are bridges, if you like, that unemployed people can travel back and forth over for training and to acquire what are known as "soft" skills based around behaviours and attitudes, like good interview skills, being able to answer questions directly, look interviewers in the eye, and many more.

Unfortunately, in my community, there weren't many of these bridges for me to go back and forth over, and I felt like when I was unemployed I began to waste away metaphorically, rather than become addicted to the attention and surveillance being unemployed may engender.

I became depressed and am now signed off as suffering from mental illness, but I never know when they may sign me on again. Obviously, I would welcome an opportunity to take control life and be autonomous to the extent where I'd able to chose from a menu of choices regarding housing and lifestyle, for example. In my opinion a good job centre would help explore employment opportunities, while encouraging self discipline and commitment to earning a living, but this hasn't been my experience.

I am currently taking a course called "Enhance Your Career and Employability Skills". It's free and being run by the University of London through Coursera (an on-line course provider).

It's been very helpful so far, and has broadened my perspective of the world of work and bolstered my confidence. One of the most useful distinctions the tutors have made is between "job hunting" and "career exploration". Job hunting is where you narrow down every option to focus specifically on one opportunity. Career exploration is where you try and identify your values and asses how well certain career paths tally with them. You can also ask questions of people in certain roles to find out how well you would fit into the culture they work within. Then, the next step is to identify skills gaps and work to fill them by setting yourself goals.

For example, I may ask Pam, as a Vicar, "How useful has your biography and family history been to you in your role as a vicar on a scale of 1-10?"

I am beginning to make a list of contacts I could possibly address career exploration questions to, and if you would like to know more about this Corbin, please ask.

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Post by Beth » Mon Jun 02, 2014 5:21 pm

Beth wrote: For example, I may ask Pam, as a Vicar, "How useful has your biography and family history been to you in your role as a vicar on a scale of 1-10?"
Sorry Pam, I was using this as an example only.

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Post by Joyce » Mon Jun 02, 2014 8:03 pm

Good points, Beth. I can see how geography would be a problem for someone trying to get back into work. If one doesn't live within an easy bus ride of a jobcentre jobclub or one of their outreach posts, there'll be less access to any help available. Praise The Lord for the internet, although even that must be limited.

" You can also ask questions of people in certain roles to find out how well you would fit into the culture they work within. "

That sounds like an excellent idea, Beth.
I've been largely retired for two or three years but you can ask me about my occupation if you like.
Not a lot of people are aware that a person who is 'signed off' sick is legally allowed to seek or try out work with a view to recovery and getting into a new occupation. The GP or similar has to advise that the work is of 'marked psychological benefit' - or whatever other terms they use these days - and that it won't make the condition worse. Eg if you've hurt your back working at a garden centre, then getting a job heaving bricks about on a building site won't fit the bill. The title of the scheme was changed to Permitted Work about twelve years ago,which was the last time I had to fill in the forms. Before that it had been called Therapeutic Earnings for about fifty years. Its name could have changed again.
Sickness benefit is not affected until any earnings reach a level where they can be considered wages and the hours reach those of a job. There's probably something in the .gov website pages about this.

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Joe Parrish
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Post by Joe Parrish » Mon Jun 02, 2014 9:34 pm

One way our church seemed to be able to help people in the job search task was to give them a way to assess their spiritual gifts.
Here is one of those assessment one can use:

http://www.elca.org/en/Our-Work/Congreg ... ment-Tools

And here is another: http://www.churchgrowth.org/cgi-cg/gifts.cgi?intro=1

This one seemed best for our users--it can be bought on Amazon for less than $2:
http://www.amazon.com/Finding-Your-Spir ... 0830762167

It also gives an idea of how one may assess their personal job skills as well.
Peace and Easter blessings,
Joe :)
Peace and blessings,
Joe

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Post by Beth » Mon Jun 02, 2014 11:00 pm

Thanks Joe :)

I did a version of the Houts quiz a member of my small group passed to me. At the time I found it too detailed. I've been brainstorming since then, and have taken on new affiliations and responsibility. It may be worth another glance as my confidence grows.

Joyce, thanks too for your kind offer. I'm keen to explore "relatedness" as a value, and what career paths may come from that.

If you've enjoyed working in roles where you've been a presence in the community, or been present to a particular community, helping to solve their problems, I'd be very interested to hear of those stories. I'm thinking of jobs like classroom assistants, community work, maybe even administration or managerial positions if they were based around communication, networking and negotiating skills.

They do warn on the course that a person's values are often based upon redressing what they currently lack.

I've had an unhappy experience in the community in which I live, and am possibly looking to correct for that. The idea of the questions is partly to make sure I'm not over-correcting when looking at job options.

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Post by Joe Parrish » Tue Jun 03, 2014 1:11 am

Another way to approach the job search is to decide what you like to do, and see how close you can get to that objective.

One way guidance counselors work is to get dozens of people who have the job(s) you think you may like and see if you answer a variety of questions the way they do. Maybe take an 'aptitude' test to see that?

Peace and Easter blessings,
Joe :)
Peace and blessings,
Joe

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Post by Ernest » Tue Jun 03, 2014 6:37 am

I suspect that Job Hunting is actually quite a professional business. The science of applying instead of the science of recruiting, which I have some experience and training in, seems bit of a closed book to me.

All that I can say from a former employers perspective is that you're looking for the best person to fill the vacancy that has arisen. You will have certain criteria and a range of Essential Skills and a range of desirable. You would also offer training for the right candidate to equip them for the particular role that you are offering.

In the UK, this is also framed in the context of the equality and diversity laws, along with the disability discrimination act. So, lots of things to consider when advertising a job. I notice that many public services, including my former department, offer a guaranteed interview for candidates with disabilities.

From my personal perspective, I was fortunate to have only applied for five jobs in my working life. First was aged 16 with the Post Office. Second aged 17 with the Army. Third aged Forty again with the Army for a continuation of my Career. The fourth in the existing role, applying for a different role as my job was due to be cut. Having got the new job, I sought promotion and advancement three years later and got the job that lasted me until retirement.

I know people who've either held dozens of jobs or have applied for hundreds, with varying levels of success. I know that schools careers advisors try to prepare students for either higher education or the world of work, but given the levels of high unemployment among the young, including many graduates, it seems that 'work experience, gained in different settings is one of the most valued assets, along with sound, proven, literacy and numeracy skills and personal maturity are some of the hard or soft skills that employers seek these days. How young people are supposed to gain those, unless they take the unpaid internships or work experience schemes operated by the government I can't conceive.

The one thing about the armed forces is that they take people from any background, who can demonstrate their potential as opposed to their existing skills, because this is the raw material which can be developed, trained and equipped to do the variety of jobs on offer. It certainly worked for me. :)

Perhaps the services should offer short periods of paid, work experience for about 18 months to young people concentrating on these areas, than allowing them to make a decision about committing to a full career, or to move to either higher education or the workplace. I know it would be costly to run, but I can see the value in doing it - surely we owe our young people more than a life on the dole?
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Post by Beth » Tue Jun 03, 2014 12:18 pm

Thanks Ernest and Joe :) You've offered very useful insights there. I'm still thinking of what Corbin meant by "addicted". There are around 50 downloadable resources to go through in this course and if I do them all I'll feel confident of what to do when the time comes to apply for an opportunity, or if I chose to try and create one.

Ernest, the problem for me is I'm not young any more. I've lost valuable years to unemployment where I could've been building expertise within an industry.

The real challenge to me, then, is being honest about this on a personal level. Exploring the narrative that's brought me to this place in my private life, so I can then find the benefits, having lost the advantages of structured experiences in the workplace.

It's not easy, and naturally my questions are tailored towards professions where I could use some of my unhappy times and show what I've learned. To do this successfully will require heaps of integrity and accountability. By committing to talk openly I hope I'll remove some of my own internal blocks and face how genuinely difficult this time has been. I'm finding as I acknowledge my emotions I'm getting a sense that personality and character are important, and I'll perhaps be able to redirect my attentions to professions that particularly value these attributes as strengths in the workplace. As you say, Ernest, skills are learnable and potential may remain important to someone out there!!

I hope by bringing these issues to the "light" I can avoid any addictions, as Corbin mentioned. I'll admit timescale plays on my mind after the years I've seen go by as a spectator. I can sort of see the point Corbin made, and I agree having a support network is a key to resilience in the job hunt. It's difficult for friends and family as they don't know what to say and do to help. These sessions I'm taking are giving me clear instructions as to where in the process other people may be useful, and where it's up to me (and Jesus :)).

I suppose Corbin, having thought on your original question, that prayer should be the first place to begin if a church is looking to help the unemployed. Genuine relationship and discipleship would be on the list of desirables for me too.
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Post by Pam » Tue Jun 03, 2014 12:22 pm

Beth wrote:
Beth wrote: For example, I may ask Pam, as a Vicar, "How useful has your biography and family history been to you in your role as a vicar on a scale of 1-10?"
Sorry Pam, I was using this as an example only.
No problem Beth - I understood that!

I'd find it quite hard to answer that question though, so I'm glad I don't have to :biggrin:

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Post by Beth » Tue Jun 03, 2014 12:24 pm

Lol. :lol: Yes, I should research the jobs before asking the questions.

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Post by corbin » Tue Jun 03, 2014 1:25 pm

When I originally brought this topic up, I was a little disappaointed that the first response took about a day and a half to post. But then this topic seemed to take off. I'm so happy about that because this is an issue that I feel most households around the world, even though I don't know much about England, seem to be most conerned about. So I'm glad we're having this discussion. I think it's needed.

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Post by Ros » Tue Jun 03, 2014 1:43 pm

Beth wrote: I suppose Corbin, having thought on your original question, that prayer should be the first place to begin if a church is looking to help the unemployed...
It seems to me that there is only one sensible response to that:

:votive1: For you in your journey

To be honest, I'm not sure what else I can usefully contribute to the discussion, except to thank everyone for what they've said. I've found the different perspectives interesting.

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