Wednesday, June 18, 2014
East Cooper Community Outreach (ECCO) partnered with Goodwill Industries of Lower South Carolina last year to open the one and only job search center in East Cooper. This collaboration provides help to the underemployed and unemployed by offering job readiness classes and assistance with job searching, which are available at ECCO's facility on Six Mile Road. This unique opportunity for our neighbors in need encourages easier access to these critical resources, instead of having to travel downtown or to North Charleston to the South Carolina Works office.
We partnered with Goodwill because they are the Lowcountry's experts in job searching and placement. Their experience running Job Link Centers complements ECCO's strengths as we help our clients, both in situational and generational poverty, to find jobs. It provides a quick-fix for the job seeker who needs immediate employment.
ECCO's major goal is helping job seekers succeed in the workplace by keeping a long-term job after obtaining employment. Our new classes teach participants about workplace expectations, how to build or improve their resumes and how to skillfully interview with more confidence.
Around one dozen employers have partnered with us because they recognize the value of our training program. Our job seekers receive various types of training in personal soft and social skills. These include self-esteem, customer service, anger management and the importance of respecting people in authority. By understanding these issues, the job seeker has a much higher chance of being successful in the workplace.
The employers realize that our program trains participants to be more reliable and dedicated by following certain guidelines like punctuality and follow-through. Employers know that we graduate the type of employee that will save money for their companies – it has been estimated that our program reduces turnover by as much as 50 percent. Businesses no longer face the headache of having to re-train new employees for the same job.
After a program graduate is hired, ECCO continues to provide job coaching for one year. The job coach encourages the new employee as he or she meets attendance and production goals. The job coach mediates any issue that should arise between the new employee and the supervisor, allowing the employee to hear constructive criticism in a non-threatening way from someone they trust. The job coach also helps the employee overcome any obstacle they may experience during the year, like transportation, emergency food, emergency financial assistance and so on. The worker gains ECCO's full array of support services to help them on their journey towards self-sufficiency.
Overcoming poverty means dealing systematically with unpredictable individual problems that arise in someone's life. ECCO has the resources of professionally trained staff and wide collection of ministries services to address these obstacles. If you know someone who needs a job or someone who has trouble keeping a job, please tell them that ECCO can help them establish a stable life. Please call me personally at 843-416-7114 or email me at jlittle@ECCOcharleston.org. We really want to help our neighbors help themselves to experience life fully and completely.
Jack Little is executive director of East Cooper Community Outreach.