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 private non-profit organization has outfitted a renovated 39-foot, 2003 Newmar Kountry Star RV with four computers and desk space for clients 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, will hit the road the week of May 12 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.
“And we would not have been able to expand our reach this way without the $200,000 grant we received from Bank of America through its Neighborhood Builder program.”
St. Joseph the Worker received the unrestricted grant as a 2013 Bank of America Neighborhood Builders® honoree, a program recognizing high-performing nonprofits making a significant impact addressing critical needs including workforce development.
“We used the grant for general operating expenses which allowed us to allocate existing funds to buy and renovate the RV,” Downs said.
“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.”
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 four 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.
“We expect those numbers to continue to grow,” Downs said.
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.”
For more information about St. Joseph the Worker, visit www.sjwjobs.org.