Applications are still being accepted for ladies interested in receiving a hand up from the Christian Women’s Job Corps of Bradley County to enroll in their free fall session.
Four sessions have already been completed by the nonprofit in the last couple of years.
According to Sue Bennett, site coordinator, 18 of the program’s 23 graduates are either currently employed or seeking higher education.
Ladies come to the program in search of help. They need to find a job or they lack direction or they may have lost themselves.
As Bennett said, “[CWJC] is designed for women in need.”
The program offers aid by teaching students life and job skills. Past student testimonies reveal a newfound readiness and eagerness to meet life’s challenges.
Participants meet from 8 a.m. to noon every Tuesday starting Aug. 13 and going through Dec. 10. Homework is assigned based on the Jobs for Life curriculum. Some of the lessons learned include: budget management, basic car maintenance, life skills, health and nutrition, business etiquette, interviewing skills, healthy relationships, interviewing skills and resume writing.
“A lot of the ladies are shy to go out for jobs because they haven’t been in so long,” Bennett said. “So we bring employers in so they can ask questions. They feel a lot more comfortable because they are with their peers.”
Sessions are comprised of five to 10 ladies. Participants initially appear unsure. Before long they are sharing their stories and listening to those of their peers and teachers. Bennett said sharing stories allows the ladies to realize they are not alone.
CWJC graduates have returned to speak with the ladies as well.
Bennett recalled a recent graduate’s address to the fourth session.
“One of the girls from the third class said, ‘We were part of the last class, but any of us are here for you,’” Bennett recited. “‘All you have to do is call us. You are not by yourself. We are here to help you.’”
Each Tuesday begins with a half hour of Bible study. Participants do not need to be Christian to be a part of the program. However, those who intend to graduate must be present for Bible Study. The remaining time is split between life skills and job training. Every session has the same cinderella-esque countdown.
Prior to graduation, those who have stuck with the program are taken to the nonprofit’s clothing trailer. There they choose outfits for work and formal wear. Volunteers give the ladies a makeover prior to a dinner in their honor.
Graduation day finds each lady standing with renewed confidence.
Bennett said the most important lesson instilled in the ladies is how to hope.
“We give them hope,” Bennett said. “We teach them how to find it.”
Those interested in joining the program can do so by filling out the application either online at christianwomensjobs.org or going to the Bradley Baptist Association on North Ocoee.
Bennett may also be reached at (423) 655-9681.
“They just need to take that step and be bold,” Bennett said of those who are hesitant. “If they need one of us to pick them up the first time or two, we would be happy to do that also.”