A key ingredient to our success at Men’s Shelter of Charlotte (MSC) is helping men obtain or increase their income. While many of our men are eligible for benefits – social security income, veteran’s benefits, and food stamps to name a few – most gain their income from employment. A lot of our men have completed job training and readiness programs. Many have been connected to Goodwill and Vocational Rehabilitation. But the key to increasing a man’s income through employment is actual access to jobs.
A year or so ago, MSC launched an effort to help more of our men find actual jobs. We started with an employment specialist on staff but quickly realized that there needed to be as much emphasis on employers as there was on the men. So, this year we created an Employment Partnerships Coordinator position. Corey’s job is to work with employers to let them know about the skill sets our men possess, which are often just what employers are seeking. MSC is not asking employers to give men jobs. We’re only asking for access. In other words, we ask employers to consider our men in their hiring processes by giving them a chance to interview and then get (or not) the job on their own merit. Once employers understand more about the experience of homelessness and how MSC provides support to overcome this experience, they become very interested in providing access. More than once, the employer has also become part of the man’s support system, another necessary piece in keeping someone from becoming homeless again.
History is such an excellent teacher. After years of witnessing our men struggle to gain employment, we noticed that many were following the same steps over and over without success. By taking the time to learn from our past experiences, MSC learned that the most important step in finding a job is for there to be an actual job to obtain!
If you’re an employer interested in hiring hard workers who are motivated, please consider MSC. You can reach Corey Hall, MSC’s Employment Partnerships Coordinator at Corey.Hall@MensShelterofCharlotte.org or 704.334.3187 x 153.