Not everyone comes through our Community Jobs Training Program (CJTP) to start fresh. Some, like Hunter, take part in our workplace training program as a means of starting off on the right foot. “I moved to Bellingham for the Business Sustainability program at Western Washington University. I knew that if I started working with a community organization that I’d get great work experience that was relevant to my major. It’s also a surefire way for me to make connections related to my interests.”
When Hunter landed in Bellingham, he didn’t have the connections or resources to find stable housing. He connected with Northwest Youth Services, a local non-profit that works with homeless youth to build the skills necessary to reach their own sense of stability. “Without Northwest Youth Services I wouldn’t be here. They got me settled with a place to live and helped me get clothing vouchers, food stamps, health care and more. You can’t get many of these resources if you don’t have a mailing address. These resources made it possible for me to get settled so I could get a job.”
In many cases, CJTP is the first stepping stone in a life long journey for stability and self-efficiency. For homeless youth like Hunter, it’s also an important opportunity to get their foot in the door. “While at The RE Store I’ve learned about organizations that do work I’m interested in and made connections that could help me with school and my career. I wouldn’t have got that at a fast food chain.”
For over 8 years CJTP has partnered with organizations like Northwest Youth Services to provide underserved community members with meaningful training that empowers them to secure long-term employment and financial independence. Not only is CJTP a supportive learning environment, but it’s also a great break from the stressors of personal life. “Being homeless when I first moved to town was really stressful. I couldn’t focus on anything beyond my to-do list at work. I kept my head low and just did what I was told. After the second week I got more comfortable and realized everyone was really nice and helpful.”
Community Jobs Training Program is about more than just helping community members get jobs, it’s about providing underserved populations with the support they need to take advantage of opportunities that help them reach their goals. As long as there are people struggling with employment, Whatcom County residents will keep turning to The RE Store for help. We will continue to be on standby to support our neighbors in their career ambitions. We invite you to join us by donating today.