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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Employment Preparation & Procurement, Financial Counseling, Job Training, Vocational Counseling

Mission: Focusing on the age-old principle of offering a hand up rather than a handout, the mission of Jacob''s Ladder Job Center, Inc. is to help the unemployed and underemployed find and keep living wage jobs. Our goal is to help disadvantaged people achieve economic self-sufficiency and improve the quality of their lives.

Results: Jacob’s Ladder is a free, four-step job readiness program. Our approach to helping our clients become self-sufficient stresses partnerships with community agencies and local businesses. We are not a job placement center. We concentrate on teaching acceptable work ethics and coaching clients in the “soft skills” of job readiness and job retention. In our first 12 years, we have served approximately 4,000 clients with 2,000 securing full-time work. Several hundred more achieved part-time employment to build reliable work histories.

Direct beneficiaries per year: 500+

Geographic areas served: Charlotte, NC Mecklenburg County and surrounding areas

Programs: Jacob's Ladder Job Center runs a four-step program that teaches clients such skills as resume writing, dressing for success and interviewing techniques. After a client has completed the four steps, we provide them with lists of openings from employers we have recruited to hire our clients. We also provide mentoring while on the job and access to a professional dress clothing closet.

• We pair clients with trained volunteers
to determine their needs, practice
interviewing, and prepare résumés.
• We teach clients to research employers,
create a personal job search plan, and
update the plan weekly.
• We provide bus passes or gas
vouchers for clients to get to
interviews and first weeks on the job.
• We provide free business dress to
clients who need it for interviewing
and first days of employment.
• We connect participants with local
agencies to address childcare, housing,
hunger, and medical needs.
• We support newly employed clients to
ensure job success and retention.
• We network with employers with
entry- and mid-level jobs, including
those who are willing to hire
individuals with criminal backgrounds
and/or limited work histories.
• We advocate for full-time work at
living wages with employer benefits.

Community Stories

45 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters


Client Served

Rating: 3

My job ended as a result of moving out of Charlotte in 2009 for a family situation. I was not able to find work when I got to the location. I returned to Charlotte briefly to move again for another family situation in another city. I was out of work here. I returned to Charlotte. From the role playing activities I learned how to present myself better. Jacob's ladder gave me confidence. I did get a part time survival job which has made a difference

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Fantastic organization! Simply stated, they delver on what they say they do. Lean and responsible management that have a serious commitment to their clients and donors. I've worked with them for 5+ years and am always impressed with the innovation and commitment they show

1 Jessica39


Rating: 5

I volunteered at Jacob's Ladder for six months in 2011. Due to the hustles and bustles of my last semester in the Human Services Program at CPCC, I haven't been able to contribute my services to Jacob's Ladder. I really miss the wonderful staff and clients that I came in contact with there. It was uplifting to see such remarkable growth in the individuals who participated and I felt proud to be a part of their journey!!! I now intern for an addiction center here in Charlotte. I always refer our clients in need of employment to Jacob's Ladder Job Center! God Bless Jacob's Ladder! I hope see you all as soon as I graduate... Much Love, jpigg



Rating: 5

Jacob's Ladder provdes a critical step for people to gain employment. Help with identifying employment opportunities, creating resumes, interviewing, applying on-line, utilizing technology, etc... They are uniquly positioned to increase their services within the community and develop programs for job sustainability, career readiness, and career sustainability and they are working on initiatives in that direction.


Rating: 5

I experienced Jacob's Ladder as a volunteer, a service-learning work-study student, and as an intern from CPCC's Human Services program. It amazes me how much of an impact this small nonprofit has on not only the unemployed but also on individuals that face barriers of homelessness, substance abuse, criminal backgrounds, and serious self-esteem issues. As someone who wanted to work in the human services field, I could not have interned with a more appropriate organization. The staff always made sure I was meeting my objectives, working in areas I had an interest in and always encouraged me to use my talents. A few areas I assisted in were: job and volunteer fairs, transportation voucher distributions and other administrative tasks, class exercises, job searches, and mock interviewing. The Step 1 interviews provide clients with a listening ear, possible resources, and constructive suggestions. Jacob's Ladder is the only positive relationship some may have in their lives. I saw clients gain confidence and trust when they got that job. However, I also saw the staff having to plead for computer, interview, and classroom volunteers because there is no way the small group of eight can provide the services by themselves. I saw the funding need for transportation vouchers and flash drives for resumes. The clients work very hard and just hearing their appreciation at graduation gave me the motivation to continue helping. You see, I received as much from the program as the clients.


Rating: 5

I have been a mock interviewer for Jacob's Ladder since December. The entire staff has been wonderful, and are really committed to their cause. I believe they supply an invaluable service to their clients and support their cause.


Rating: 5

I have been blessed by the men and women who come to Jacob's Ladder seeking to change their lives. My involvememt at Jacob's Ladder was quite a journey; from six years on the board, to working hands on with our clients as a interviewer when they first come in, and mentoring several men and women. Being on the board certainly was challenging and rewarding, but being a part of watching lives blossom was the greatest gift of all. The most amazing thing was that my "friends" had the courage to come to a place like JL and say, "I'm ready to get my life together." As a volunteer and a mentor, I always felt the best thing I could do was to help them realize that they could do it. They did all the work, what they needed was someone to care, be honest with them and let them know just how bright their future could be. Everyone I worked with had a spiritual side, and we always talk about it. Each and everyone that I had to opportunity to sit with changed my life. One of my favorite memories was going to a Hornets game with Nelson Frazer and Gary Cannon, both who were working to change their lives, while at the same time changing mine.


Rating: 5

I am a volunteer working on improving client's skills by reviewing the key points to a successful interview and participating in mock interviews. This personally is a very rewarding experience. The clients work hard at improving their skills and very appreciative of my time as a volunteer working with them. The success rate at our location is at an 80% employment rate in either a part time or full time job within 6 weeks of completing the program. It is a great service provided to the community.


Rating: 5

I’ve been a Jacob’s Ladder volunteer for over two years. I help clients with job applications, resumes, mock interviews, and, at times, dressing for success in conjunction with our clothing boutique. I have also assisted with the orientation program for incoming volunteers, the KPD initiative, and the planning committee which is designing a new program for JL graduates. I work at both JL Main and JL West. Let me tell you what I like about being at Jacob’s Ladder.

*The mission – "to help unemployed and underemployed people find and keep living wage jobs".

It has special significance for me because it synchronizes very well with my own interests and values.

Before retiring almost five years ago, I was a student affairs administrator for over 37 years. I spent most of my time in that helping profession assisting students to “become all they are capable of being” - by identifying and applying their talents for self-improvement.

Although the JL mission relates directly to job readiness, it is also a life skills/personal development mission. Improving speaking, writing, social etiquette, and professional dress are all important to one’s total life experience. And JL does it all, including support for the critical re-integration of clients into our community through meaningful work.

*The clients – I thoroughly enjoy working with them!

These are folks who place high value on the services offered here. Most are eager to learn, to achieve, and to flourish. They are needy in lots of ways, but many times our work centers on increasing their self-confidence and accentuating the skills they already have and can bring to a job.

It’s exciting to see in class after class the transitions folks make in confidence and job readiness.

*The staff - I can tell you without reservation, that this organization is a vibrant, passionate association of individuals strongly committed to JL’s mission.

They are serious, team-oriented, and selfless. Staff members pitch in and help one another. There is no “showboating” or “grandstanding” – except perhaps to “brag” about the success of our clients!

Desks and materials virtually belong to everyone, including volunteers. Every square foot of JL facilities is used very productively and efficiently.

And, the staff are extraordinary in the consistency with which they extend thanks and gratitude to volunteers. I can’t get through a morning without being thanked several times!

*My role - One of the really positive features of being involved at JL is that volunteers can become engaged at any level they feel comfortable. I value this flexibility; I think other volunteers do as well.

For example, I enjoy being a “generalist” who does a diversity of duties and contributes wherever the organization has particular needs on a particular day. I also do some work at home periodically.

Others, because of their interests and/or time limitations, prefer to be “specialists” – in interviewing, resume preparation, topical presentations, and the like. Bottom line: there’s room for all of us!

So, I guess it’s no secret that I am very enthusiastic about Jacob's Ladder and the outstanding work that it continues to do for the Charlotte community.

Previous Stories


Rating: 5

I have been with Jacob's Ladder for about two months and have thoroughly enjoyed my experience. The program is very well organized, and the staff is very committed to its goals. I have been able to do a variety of activities, including: reviewing job applications, preparing resumes, working in the "dress for success" boutique, and developing an assessment survey on health and safety issues. Jacob's Ladder is truly committed to job readiness!


Client Served

Rating: 4

I currently work for Staffmark as a partner with Jacobs Ladder in the Mecklenburg County Job Boost program. We are now on our 2nd yr. in the program with Jacobs Ladder and the County and have placed over 200 individuals into various jobs in the area. Without the excellent support of Jacobs Ladder, we would not be as succesful as we have been. Jacobs Ladder allows us to come over once or twice a month to register potential employees for jobs and this has enabled us to consistently maintain a great group of people for our end employers.