By Darin McQuesten, Community Jobs Training Manager
2020 has proven to be a challenging year for all of us. While we all practice our best efforts to mitigate this unprecedented pandemic, I have found myself consistently pondering the same question: what’s next? What’s next for this world and the people, animals, and plants who inhabit it? What’s next for everybody who has a job today, but may not tomorrow? Even more so, what’s next for everybody who DOESN’T have a job today and WON’T tomorrow?
The idea of uncertain job prospects might be a relatively new concern for some, or maybe even the furthest thing from their mind with everything else going on right now. Still, for many members of our community it is a daily struggle only made worse by a global crisis such as this. We are beginning to see a stark truth that is very difficult to accept, but critically important: Events such as a pandemic are a struggle for all of us, but at-risk members of our community are always hit the hardest.
There is a good chance you are familiar with our Community Jobs Training program. For the last 8 years The RE Store has provided much needed job training opportunities to members of our community. Our Job training program is a safe space to regain confidence, discover aspirations and learn new skills – a springboard for individuals to forge their own paths to support themselves and their families. Our program serves a wide variety of community members, from recently homeless youth with little or no work history to single parents juggling child care needs and a demanding work schedule. To get a snapshot of what has led some members of our community to the jobs training program, check out Tristan’s story, or Anna’s story. You may recognize these folks from seeing them at The RE Store!
The RE Store jobs training program depends on funding from grants, our yearly Rockin’ for The RE Store fundraiser, and, most importantly, store sales. With store sales having slowed dramatically, my job role has shifted from helping trainees learn vital job skills, to researching and applying for grants and identifying funding resources that will ensure long-term stability for this program. We want the Community Jobs Training program to emerge from this crisis with firm ground under our feet so that our trainees, volunteers, and interns can sow the seeds of their future. Even with funding from generous grantors, we still need to close the gap to provide the support our program participants desperately need.
When our world begins to shift back to normal, the job market will be more competitive than ever. That means that accessible job training opportunities will be vital to ensuring the long term health of our community. When we reopen, we want to hit the ground running! Our goal upon reopening is to reinstate every program participant in their full capacity and open our doors to any other community members that need job training. In order for this to happen, we’re asking for your support. If you are in a position to join us in this effort, please consider making a gift today.
We recognize this is a tough time for all of us, and we also know that many of you still want to be involved in supporting a program that has benefitted so many for so long. Jobs training programs like ours would be instrumental to ensuring that our community rebounds as quickly as possible. We are taking measures today so that we can work towards a healthier, safer, and better tomorrow. Any support you can provide will help us take another step on the path towards growing the community we all want to live in; one where jobs are available to those who need them and everybody has a roof over their head at night. A road such as this is not traveled in a day, we ask you to join us in taking it one step at a time.