JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) – According to the latest jobs report, the U.S. economy has experienced its 28th consecutive month of job creation, but the 80,000 jobs added in June came in lower than expected.
The weak hiring may concern those searching for work, but one local ministry is giving faith to the unemployed that they can find work again.
Central Baptist Church in Jonesboro created a ministry last year to better prepare people to find a job, but its mission has extend beyond helping the unemployed.
"Honestly, most people just need a friend and a coach and little practical advice," said Hal Saunders.
Saunders says that's what people will get if they come to the Christian Men and Women's Job Corps. The ministry opened last June and currently has four women and one man enrolled its faith-based programs.
"It's not a job placement service," Saunders said. "It's a job readiness service, but mostly it's a life skills mentor relationship."
Saunders helps place men who come in with certain goals with a mentor, otherwise known as a "journey partner." They commit to working together for a year or at least until all goals are met.
"We have some that want to be better parents; some that want to get their GED; some that want to increase their spiritual walk," Patsy Teaford said. "Anything that they set their goals for, we attempt to achieve them to reach those goals."
Teaford works with the women, but says almost every participant has sought out the service to either find a job or get a better one.
"We do not guarantee them a job," Teaford explained. "We will help them to achieve job skills and life skills and move them toward that."
Teaford says they also move participants toward having a stronger faith, using Bible study as an integral part of the program. The men even follow Proverbs 27:17, which says, "As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another."
"For every person that walks through our ministry," Saunders noted, "we have to have someone walking through it with them."
You can also call 870-933-6833 or visit the office located at 1000 S. Caraway Road in Jonesboro.
Anyone interested in becoming a "journey partner" should follow the same protocol.