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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

12 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters


Client Served

Rating: 5

I have been a participant in Jacob's Ladder program since January 4, 2010 through the Department of Social Services. Before entering the program, my social worker gave me great reviews on the Jacob's Ladder program. Being a part of the program has been one of the best experiences of my life. All of the staff and volunteers live and breathe the mission of the organization. Each day since I've started the program, I feel that I have learned a new technique or life lesson. Upon completion of this wonderful program, I have every intention of paying forward the knowledge that I have gained here.


Client Served

Rating: 5

Quotes from participants: I improved my writing skills tremendously. I finally learned how to fill out applications correctly and completely. I know how to write a cover letter and get why thank you notes are so important. I learned how to listen and remain calm during the interview. I’ve been to every program out there and you guys are the first ones to stay on me until I mastered the application and interview skills. I gained confidence during my presentations to classmates. Before I started I had no idea how to use the computer and now I can apply for online jobs and I know how to work with Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. At first I did not want to be here at all, I thought blah just another program, but I learned more than I could have ever imagined this month. My classmates and teachers believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself and that gave me hope to keep working hard to find my job.