Programs, activities and accomplishments
For 29 years, St. Joseph the Worker’s (SJW) sole mission has been to assist economically deprived individuals become self-sufficient with the reassurance, tools, and support needed to secure quality employment. SJW teaches improved job readiness by focusing on timeliness, attitude, appearance, responsibility, and job search techniques. The agency’s proven employment model provides one-on-one support, computer and Internet access, professional clothing, resume development, mock interviews, financial coaching, certification and licensure fees, tools, safety equipment, and the transportation needed to obtain and sustain employment. SJW is the conduit to connect job seekers to jobs – with a hand up, not a hand out—building on existing strengths and reducing or eliminating any barriers to employment.
When people experiencing economic hardship obtain quality employment – every aspect of their lives is impacted. You can hear the pride in the voice of a job seeker replying “yes, I will have the tools I need, work boots, safety glasses, and reliable transportation. Yes, I can start work tomorrow morning, thank you!” Traditionally, when a client obtains a new job, he/she is encouraged to “ring the success bell,” in recognition of this significant step on the road to self-reliance. Excitement fills the entire office as fellow clients, volunteers, and staff members – led by Executive Director, Brent Downs – gather to applaud and honor the successful job seeker. SJW finds this tradition is a mutually embraced way to honor each individual’s achievement, while reminding everyone currently job searching that success is attainable. Often times you will hear the whispered words “the next one will be me!”
In FY16-17, SJW assisted 3,883 clients to get back to work, representing a 13% increase over the record setting FY15-16! Also, 3,034 or 85% of clients maintained their employment status for 3 months, and 2,542 or 75% maintained their employment status for 6 months.
Service area and target population demographics
To reach the Valley’s most vulnerable job-seekers, SJW has formed collaborative partnerships with fifty social service agencies that host an array of other services, at seventy satellite locations. In addition to the headquarters’ office, SJW’s “hand up” services are provided on the Mobile Success Unit (MSU) as well as through partner agencies in Apache Junction, Chandler, Glendale, Gilbert, Mesa, Peoria, Phoenix, and Tempe.
SJW’s clientele is a demographically diverse population, men and women of all ages and races, most at or below 100% of the Federal Poverty level. The demographics of those served are projected to be: 30% female, 70% male; 43% African American, 40% Caucasian, 14% Hispanic, 2% Native American, and 1% Other race; 10% Between age of 14 and 17, 13% between 18 and 30, 51% between 31 and 49, 26% between 50 and 64.
Staff, volunteers, and board
SJW is very much a “hands on” organization, meaning everyone is involved in the provision of services on a daily basis. The staff of 13 full-time employees: Program Director Patrick Winters leads the program with 5 job developers (3 of which solely provide job development support to job seekers at community partner agencies, 2 at the main office), and 2 part-time staff- a client facilitator and a MSU driver who also provide direct client support. The program is supported by an executive director, executive coordinator, office manager, grants manager, special events and outreach coordinator, and development specialist, all interacting with and supporting clients on a daily basis.
SJW’s volunteers are crucial to the delivery of direct client services with 35-40 long-term and 150+ short-term volunteers; helping to manage the front intake desk, instruct the Job Readiness Workshop and computer classes, perform mock interviews, create résumés, and provide basic computer assistance to help clients in their job search. SJW also benefits from a dedicated volunteer Board of Directors and committee members to provide leadership in areas of program, finance, development, and governance.