Laid off. Downsized. Restructured.
No matter what it’s called, unemployment can be a life-changing experience filled with stress and uncertainty.
In the current labor market, job loss can strike anyone, at any time, at all levels of the career ladder. When it does happen, Rick and Pat Royals of Raleigh are ready to help and encourage others to find employment.
Rick, owner of Royals Contracting, Inc. and a Jobs for Life business partner, approached Hal Melton, associate pastor of Trinity Baptist Church in Raleigh, about having Jobs for Life (JfL) classes taught at the church. Soon after presenting the program to the church they had 40 volunteers. Many mentored students; some instructed classes or sought business partners to interview students for open positions. Others prepared snacks, provided childcare and drove students to the church for class.
As a business owner, Rick seeks employees who want to improve themselves. Jobs for Life helps students do that in several ways; it gives them self-esteem and confidence, maybe even for the first time in their lives, said Rick. Jobs for Life gives them the employment readiness skills they need to succeed.
Instructors teach job seeking, job keeping skills.
The curriculum is based on biblical concepts applicable to the work world. Some lessons are about gifts; others teach how Joseph and David did what it took to overcome their roadblocks to succeed.
Mock interviews prepared students for real job interviews and Internet job search workshops prepared them to find potential employers. Area business people participated in an open forum providing students the opportunity to practice delivering their 60-second commercial to potential employers. This experience also enabled students the chance to ask questions about occupations, and some received job leads.
Instructors teach students that attitude is everything, said Rick. Students gain confidence and learn how to write a resume, how to prepare for interviews and how to get and keep a job. It teaches them how to be better organized and how to communicate.
Mentors — champions and cheerleaders
Last semester, Pat mentored a student who had a full-time job at the start of class, but was living in a shelter with her young children.
“We helped her make the right contacts to get out and be independent,” Pat said. “We helped her get an additional part-time job once she was out of the shelter.”
Relationship is very important to the student, to be there next to them every step of the way, Pat said. “I find it very rewarding.”
Being a mentor for Jobs for Life “gives me a feeling of satisfaction in doing the Lord’s work,” Pat said. “It’s not about me, but about giving praise and glory to God, and giving the students the tools they need to get out of the situation they are in.”
“After seeing how much they progressed from the first class to the last, I feel like a proud parent,” she said.
This experience has “given me a different outlook on life, said Rick. “I came to realize that some students didn’t have what I had growing up. Some didn’t have much parental influence — some had only one parent, others no parents — no love.
“For the first time in their lives they had someone who sincerely spent time with them, either a mentor or instructor who clearly let them know that they care.”
Rick said being involved in this program has changed the way he communicates with employees. He’s more “open and able to talk with employees,” he said.
He uses the JfL approach, which “gives me the opportunity to talk about these principles and explain how to succeed. And that they’re created to work and God will help them succeed,” said Rick. “I’m more than their employer.”
“Jobs for Life is a big part of our life,” Rick said. “This is something we can do together.”
“I feel privileged. It’s encouraging to be part of Trinity Baptist Church and to know we have people who care about Jobs for Life as much as we do. It’s a blessing to be a part of that,” Rick said.
For more information about Jobs for Life, go to www.jobsforlife.com.