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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

27 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

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!

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.

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.

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.

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!

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

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