In just one year, Catholic Charities Life Skills & Career Development Center has helped over 100 individuals find employment. Previously, the Center was simply called the Computer Lab. It gained its weightier name when Sherry Stulpin, LSCDC Instructor, and a group of volunteers began to mentor job seekers not only in computer skills, but in the skills needed to thrive in a job and in life. Visitors to the Center have increased from four a day to eight or ten each day, maximizing the Center’s capacity. Plans are already in the works to double the number of computers available from five to ten computer stations.
Helping clients become employed increased exponentially once Stulpin began to successfully link clients and local employers, and now, has more job opportunities than trained clients to take them. Some of the employment partners are Bingo Burger, Common Cause Catering, Discover Goodwill, ENT, Firestone, GravenAustin-Drake, Luce Research LLC, Manitou Brewing Company, Seal Coat Solutions, Labor Ready, and Xerox. Additionally Stulpin offers Job Fairs and interview opportunities on site at the Marian House to help facilitate job connections. She says, “For someone caught in the cycle of poverty, sometimes all it takes is a little personalized attention to begin taking the steps towards a better life.”
Once clients are ready to apply for jobs, most find work within three weeks, often using bus passes and wearing interview clothes provided by Catholic Charities. Those who need more time to hone their skills are placed in the Pre-Employment Volunteer Program and are paired with volunteers for special attention, or given volunteer work within Catholic Charities. Sometimes the initial job pairing doesn’t work out, and the client returns to Catholic Charities to work on specific skills and look for positions that might better fit their abilities. To date, it is estimated that 75 – 80% of clients have remained employed.
Andy Barton, Catholic Charities of Central Colorado CEO said, “The success of this program is emblematic of the work we are doing to help clients every day. Our Marian House Soup Kitchen is an important portal for transiting families in crisis to link them to services that can help them build resiliency, and ultimately stability. It’s a meal to a job.”
On November 9, Catholic Charities will host it’s first Job Fair at Catholic Charities Marian House. All job seekers are encouraged to attend. Many of Catholic Charities’ employment partners will be present with a variety of employment opportunities in multiple career fields.