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2012 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Jacobs Ladder Job Center, Inc.

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Employment Preparation & Procurement, Financial Counseling, Human Services, 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

3

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

Volunteer

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

Sara28

Volunteer

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.

Volunteer

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.

Volunteer

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.

Volunteer

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.

Volunteer

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.

Volunteer

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
2

Volunteer

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!

1

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.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

As an outpatient mental health practice, we have many clients in need of employment development assistance. We have worked with several different employment development agencies is the past but now we only refer to Jacob's Ladder. In comparison, this organization brings far more to the table than any other employment readiness/ development programs! Jacob's Ladder works with individuals from the inside out: meaning their curriculum starts with the person and personal development then incorporates employable skills while equipping each participant with tangible tools that help them find and land fulfilling employment. Their efforts to help individuals find jobs are unmatched in this community. No other agency goes above and beyond employment development like Jacob's Ladder. The after care, education, advocacy and linking is amazing. We do not refer our clients that are in need of employment to any other agency. Thank you Jacob's Ladder!

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I volunteer to do practice interviewing--Steps1,2,3 and then the exit interview at the end of the month. I find that many of the clients at the beginning of the month- long program appear to be very down----meaning they appear knocked down by life experiences. It is remarkable, then, that at the end of the month and end of the program, these same clients appear surprisingly self-confident, have a real job focus and goal, and overall appear to be very hopeful and positive in outlook. That is the "magic" of Jacob's Ladder--giving people the tools they need to conduct a successful job search. Besides the resume development and the interview practice, the staff and the program engenders a positive feeling of self worth and a positive attitude regarding a job search. Most of the clients at Jacob's Ladder would not be able to achieve that positive attitude on their own. It's the spirit that prevails in this program that produces such excellent results.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My name is Gary E. Ligon & Jacob's Ladder Job readiness program certainly helped me get back on my feet. Prior to Jacob's Ladder I was in despair with no where to turn & then I heard about this non-profit organization through DSS/Work First program that assist with your Resumes, References, Cover letters, teach you how to load your information from the computer onto a flash drive, I learned how to attach a Resume to an email & send it out to a potential Employee & so much more. I especially enjoyed the mock interviews because it certainly helped me to develope my interviewing skills as well as all of the applications we filled out everyday & because of that I have full confidence as to how to fill out an application successfully. Thanks alot to Ms. Shenna Bossie & Ms. Susan Pierson because they both have had a huge influence in my life over the past year from 2010-2011 & on into the future. I plan to enroll in one of the Graduate programs at Jacobs Ladder & I'd also like to be able to give back by volunteering at the main location or the West location. Thanks for allowing me to express my pleasure with Jacob's Ladder & I wish them much funding & success on into the future & for always. Sincerely, Gary E. Ligon.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Jacob's Ladder is an incredible organization that gives the unemployed and underemployed population in Charlotte the ability to learn life-changing skills that enable them to gain self-confidence and self-awareness which leads to a professional appearance and representation to the business community. This population of attendees would not otherwise have access to the level of professional volunteers that give them direct insight to the jobs they aspire to. I applaud the staff and volunteers at Jacob's Ladder for making the positive impact in the community!

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I've worked with Jacobs Ladder Job Center to promote their organization to media. I've also provided feedback regarding overall communications strategy. In my opinion, Jacobs Ladder Job Center provides a valuable service to the city of Charlotte. They educate members of community and make them employable, which benefits the city's overall prosperity. I continue to support Jacobs Ladder Job Center, Inc., financially, as well.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Discussions with the participants in the Jacob's Ladder program have affirmed that it is having a significant impact on their efforts to gain meaningful employment. Rather than remaining discouraged by their circumstances, they are engaging energetically in all that Jacob's Ladder has to offer. I attribute this not only to the well conceived curriculum and resource materials, but even more so to how positively the staff instructs and interacts with each individual. I truly appreciate the opportunity to contribute as a volunteer to the successes that arise from Jacob's Ladder.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered with Jacob's Ladder for about one and one half years and am particularly impressed by how this organization tries seriously to help clients who have a history of a non-voluntery termination or some kind of conviction record. Our training and support seems to give them the confidence to overcome these obstacles and get a second chance.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

After going to Jacobs Ladder Job Center for a month, i got a job. I had not worked in almost two year before getting this job.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I'm a volunteer interviewer at Jacobs Ladder. I've got over 40 year's experience in personnel and human resources and can attest to the quality and dedication of the staff and volunteers at the job center. Everyone with whom I've come into contact is committed to making each client as prepared as possible to reenter gainful employment.

Ashley14

Client Served

Rating: 5

I learned a lot. I am looking forward to entering in the workforce. I know that i am qualified for greatness. And Jacob's Ladder helped me realized it.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Great organization, that clearly helps job seekers with the needed soft skill to be successful.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I enjoyed Jacob's ladder. They gave me the skills to get a job. Not only am I working in a part time job but I am interning in several places afterwords based on what I learned from Jacob's ladder. My internship now requires me to look for work for other people and get employers to work with us at the staffing agency. I am blessed to have such an opportunity.This is from Renemary DuBois

Client Served

Rating: 5

Hello everyone! I am here to tell you that Jacobs Ladder Job Center is a awesome center to go to. The voluteers are very helpful and understanding and they are to get you to that next step to getting employment and I would recommend this center to anyone who needs help in getting employment.

Advisor

Rating: 5

I work for the most wonderful Job Readiness organization in Charlotte, NC. I am the Volunteer Coordinator/Program Assistant for Jacob's Ladder Job Center. Everyday that I come to work is a great day. The clients we serve come from different backgrounds and have many barriers. We seem to be more than a job readiness program, but a life skill center also. I come with the expectation of maybe helping one person everyday. I have a years of background in non-profit but this is more than a job it's a career. For me to watch the transformation from our clients first coming to us and then seeing then again the third week is simply amazing. If I was not an employee of this organization, I would still give Jacob's Ladder the biggest hats off.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I conduct mock interviews for clients at Jacobs Ladder. I find this to be a rewarding experience because I come away from each session realizing that I have learned something - sometimes about interviewing techniques, but many times I'm made to realize the really tough challenges that the clients of Jacobs Ladder face in today's job market. I can only hope that I might have helped them some in their pursuit.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am currently unemployed and was looking to volunteer some time in the perspective field that I wish to work. Since my background is Human Resources, Cross-Training and Development, it was highly recommended that I volunteer with Jacob's Ladder working in the capacity of a Recruiter. In this position, I conduct mock interviews for clients and coach them in how various areas that may prohibit them from becoming their "Personal Best!" The wonderful thing about this program is that the information and technology used to empower the individuals is considered state of the art and the lessons learned are second to none. I blessed in that I have been awarded the opportunity to empower and be empowered on a daily basis. Jacob's Ladder is a blessed institution simply because they bless others.....fortunately I'm one of them!

David64

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I found Jacob's Ladder this summer. Immediately I was surprised by the passion and dedication of the staff. Their passion for the mission of getting the community back to work is rivalled by none other. Their dedication to each individual that comes through their doors can not be matched.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a Human Services student who volunteers at Jacob's ladder for my co-op experience. The job readiness program that they offer provides an extraordinary experience for many people! I have encountered people with various backgrounds and experience levels and Jacobs Ladder has something to offer even the highest ranked professional. They donate business attire to anyone who goes through the program and are in need of clothing for the workplace. Jacob's Ladder not only provides skills to prepare people for their quest in the job market, but they equip people with the self-esteem that is needed to help them remain successful! I could not have found a better non-profit organization in which to gain hands on experience in my field of study! Thanks Jacobs Ladder; keep up the good work!!!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

i started as a client over 3yrs ago..i enjoyed the program so well that i wanted 2 come back & show the other clients that the program is great & it not only gives clients the skills they need 2 b in the work force,it also gives them a lesson in confidence & self awareness..love the program..have recommended more clients for the program.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

From the very moment of meeting with Jane Norman ( Volunteer Coordinator at the time) who is so amazing to me, I knew that I was in a place that sincerly wanted to help people, but more importantly they wanted to help them in a way that taught them to help themselves. I wanted to do anything and everything that I could to support their mission, but I also wanted to do more than just volunteer my own personal time I wanted to involve the company I work for. So, I got the owner of New Horizons Computer Learning Centers to come visit Jacob's Ladder and after meeting with Jane Norman we provided free computer training to Jacob's ladder clients and started a scholarship program in which 4 Jacob's Ladder clients are pursuing Microsoft Computer certifications. The only reason I mention the scholarhip and free training is to encourage and urge any volunteer who is employeed to look for opportunities to involve the companies that they work for as well. Jacob's Ladder is unique and meets needs that are not being met by anyone else. The staff are beautiful and dedicated people who day in and day out do a job that few others could do and even fewer still would want to do. I appreciate, admire, and envy them all. Certainly they are blessed beyond measure by God to be able to have a career that touches the lives of so many people in ways that I'm sure that even they aren't fully aware of. Thank you God for Jacob's Ladder and the staff and all the volunteers that make it a success!!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is an amazing organization that truly offers a hand up, not a hand-out. I am inspired and lifted up weekly as I see clients who truly want to work transform themselves with the help of Jacob's Ladder into confident, viable and professional candidates for living wage jobs.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer for Jacob’s Ladder Job Center for about 5 years now and would not trade this experience for anything. Jacobs Ladder provides hands on training in work ethics, writing resumes, interview preparation and professional attire. The confidence and encouragement people obtain here are priceless. Even in a down economy, the clients, some of which are considered "unemployable and chronically unemployed" have a drive to succeed that stems from the core beliefs and training provided here. Steffi Travis and her team are amazing and the program is wonderful.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering weekly at Jacob's Ladder since 2006. It is a great way for business people to serve the poor and jobless, because they need the skills that we have. The clients at Jacob's Ladder are in great need of a job, and they are highly motivated to succeed. I highly recommend Jacob's Ladder

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Jacob's Ladder is filled with dedicated people who truly strive every day to form a partnership with the clients. This not only includes the wonderful staff but also the army of volunteers that give their time and experience freely.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

My experience with Jacob's Ladder has been amazing.From my very first day, there was a feeling I felt about this place that has shown true. It's like they have helped me be the best person I can be.They have allowed me to gain access to different opportunities. As long as I did my part they were there for me.To be truthful, words could not express all the help, love, respect, and patience they have for people. It's really a special place,that through honest desire, dreams can turn into a reality. It is a place hope stays alive and people really care.