Many unemployed men and women are ready to work. They have a rich set of diverse skills and the willingness to work hard, but finding a job is tough. They face many barriers to employment: lack of education, felony histories, gaps in employment due to incarceration, trauma histories, and more. Without the appropriate tools, men and women facing any of these challenges are at risk of chronic unemployment. When a person is chronically unemployed, they become at greater risk for homelessness, crime, depression, and the atrophying of work skills. They also aren’t able to spend money in our economy, provide for their families, and pay taxes.
Below is a snapshot of the causes and impacts of unemployment:
- The current rate of unemployment for individuals formerly incarcerated is more than 27% higher than during the Great Depression, according to the Prison Policy Initiative.
- One out of every 100 American adults is incarcerated, where they receive fragmented and uncoordinated care that results in poor outcomes and costs taxpayers about $60 billion annually on state and federal prisons, according to the Pew Center on the States.
- Unemployment has negative health consequences including increased rates of depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, physical pain, high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack, heart disease, and arthritis, according to a report by Kaiser Family Foundation.
Innovative career preparation and job placement services are our answers to this nationwide problem. CARITAS Works provides effective and intensive training to individuals with major barriers to employment. Alongside volunteers from businesses like Capital One, we empower each student with tools to overcome their circumstances and forge pathways to lasting success.
The CARITAS Works workforce development program consists of three components. Each one guides participants to attain sustainable economic security and become productive, independent, joyful, and service-driven members of their community.
- Works is a five-week, eight-hour a day (160+ hours), job-readiness, and life skills development program. The program encompasses character building, career development, life skills, and computer training.
- Job Club provides access to the computer lab, employment resources, personal assistance with job applications, and resources to support employment opportunities. Temporary employment with a small stipend through CARITAS is available while they are an active member of Job Club.
- AfterWorks offers two years of job placement support and follow-up: access to the computer lab, a career development specialist, job resources, classes to support graduate’s current employment, and opportunities to help them develop their careers.
We have graduated more than 700 students at CARITAS Works. Each one has been through mock interview training. They have appropriate attire for job interviews. They’re working to open savings accounts and beginning to look for housing. They have driver’s licenses and appropriate documentation. They have email addresses and new computer knowledge. They are full of hope and prepared for the possibilities of their dreams coming true.
The weight of the evidence suggests that workforce development produces widespread benefits for employers and society as a whole. As a result of programs like Works, our students and the larger community witness sustained increases in productivity and economic growth.
- Within 30 days of completing the program, our students have gainful employment.
- The average starting pay for our CARITAS Works graduates is $12.74, which is enough for two people to afford a two-bedroom apartment in Virginia.
Thank you to our volunteers!
This program is possible thanks to the help of our volunteers who help us bring it to life. They help us teach classes in-person and virtually, host practice and mock interviews, assist with resume writing, and help prepare participants to enter the workforce.
Want to Join Works?
CARITAS offers 6-hour certification courses throughout the year for anyone who will operate sit-down forklifts (powered industrial trucks). Upon successful completion of the course and testing, the participant will receive both a wallet size and an 8 x 10 certificate valid in Virginia. Learn more here.
Donate Professional Clothing
We help men and women in our program prepare for the workforce in several ways. One of those is ensuring they have the right wardrobe essentials. We currently accept a limited amount of men’s wardrobe items. They can be delivered to The Healing Place at 700 Dinwiddie Avenue. Please call or email before making a donation: firstname.lastname@example.org or (804) 612-1752.