WARM to extend hand-up programs to public
The Westerville Area Resource Ministry has expanded its employment and financial services and will take the programs to the street, offering them not just to clients but to local businesses, organizations and individuals.
The Work Opportunities and Resource Keystones (WORK) initiative provides workshops on career advancement, interview preparation, networking and job searching, career assessment and money management, as well as on salary negotiations, preparing cover letters and resumes, financial planning, credit reports and scores.
The program is run by WARM employment services coordinators Lynda Chambers and Rich Korn.
Chambers focuses on the employment side, while Korn focuses on financial literacy skills.
"We teach them how to interview, how to do cover letters, how to move forward when they get on the job," Chambers said.
Since the end of last year, WARM has offered the program to its clients with great success.
Last year, WARM's employment services saw 61 clients find jobs; 54 of them still hold those jobs, Chambers said. As of the end of July, WARM has seen a 4-percent increase over those numbers for 2013.
The hope now is to take the program into the community, rather than only offering the services to clients. It would be a first for WARM.
Chambers said WARM would like to offer workshops or "lunch and learns" at local businesses or schools.
WARM can present the entire program or a selection of the topics offered.
"It's like a menu," Korn said. "We can do large groups; we can do small groups. We can do them here (at the WARM office, 175 E. Broadway St.) or on a company's premises."
The reasons for taking the program to the community are twofold, Korn said. It's a way of serving a community that has long served WARM while providing services that may prevent people from requiring WARM's services by helping them find jobs and better budgeting skills.
"The middle class is struggling more than ever. We can tell that by the clients we've seen," Korn said. "The community has given to us so much that we believe this is a way we can give back to the community."
The program, which is free to WARM clients, will be offered for modest fees to the community.
The program provides a good value to the community, as the cost of similar services purchased from a for-profit company can run into hundreds or thousands of dollars, said WARM Development and Communications Manager Cheryl Wooten.
"A lot of people can't afford to pay a $4,000 tab for a job placement service," Wooten said.
WARM has the added advantage, Wooten said, of being plugged into local businesses. WARM's employees have good working relationships with local businesses and know what businesses are looking for in employees and can help line up people they see through their employment services program for those jobs.
"This is just in our wheelhouse," Wooten said. "We just want to offer a hand up to people who might need it."
Anyone interested in the WORK initiative can contact WARM at 614-899-0196.