Mobile job search ‘office’ ready to roll

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(courtesy of St. Joseph the Worker)

The RV hits the road this week parking at 18 satellite locations where St. Joseph the Worker staff connects homeless and other disadvantaged individuals with necessary resources to look for, interview and secure meaningful employment. (courtesy of St. Joseph the Worker)

St. Joseph the Worker (SJW) has taken its successful job development program for homeless, low-income and disadvantaged individuals on the road with the Mobile Success Unit, the Valley’s first mobile job-search office.

The 25-year-old outreach ministry has outfitted a renovated 39-foot, 2003 Newmar Kountry Star RV with four computers and desk space for clients at satellite locations to use for job searches and resume building, a mobile Wi-Fi service and phone, a job developer office, clothing closet and storage space for hygiene products, program materials and supplies.

The RV, fully wrapped with signage and sponsor names, hits the road this week to complement the organization’s 18 satellite locations throughout Maricopa County.

“Adding the Mobile Success Unit to our outreach efforts pushes us beyond the limits of what we’ve been capable of achieving in helping those struggling to find jobs,” said St. Joseph the Worker Executive Director Brent Downs.

He credited a $200,000 grant from Bank of America through its Neighborhood Builder program for propelling the effort. The 2013 unrestricted grant recognized high-performing nonprofits making a significant impact addressing critical needs including workforce development.

(courtesy of St. Joseph the Worker)

(courtesy of St. Joseph the Worker)

“Now we can travel anywhere in the metro area to deliver our services and programs to even more motivated men and women looking for work but unable to get to our brick-and-mortar offices,” Downs said.

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Lifestyle RV of Mesa and SJW staff began renovations in March by removing the vehicle’s bed, desk, dining room, couch, washer and dryer and some cabinets. New, commercial-grade carpeting was installed throughout the RV. The living area was converted into a working office, the former bedroom was transformed into a clothing closet and the laundry room became a storage area.

Downs said SJW will now undertake a fund-raising campaign to recover the cost of the RV and the renovation “and allow us to put those dollars to use helping our clients.”

During the first six months of Fiscal Year 2013-14, St. Joseph the Worker helped 1,294 people go back to work, a dramatic increase from the entire FY 2012-13 when the agency placed a total of 925 new hires. Downs expects those numbers to continue to grow.

Also during the first quarter, St. Joseph the Worker provided more than 1,800 different individuals with services ranging from one-on-one job search assistance, job-readiness resource and referrals to “encouragement and support to pursue a self-sufficient lifestyle,” Downs said. “That is our goal: to help individuals return to the workforce and become self-sufficient, productive members of society.”

Learn more about the mission of St. Joseph the Worker

Watch this top-notch “fast pitch” that Candace Sherwood gave prior to securing funding for St. Joseph the Worker’s Mobile Success Unit. She won the Judges Choice and Mentors Choice awards during the Social Venture Partners Fast Pitch Social Innovation Expo in March.

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