By LINDA M. LINONIS
Theresa Strock and Vern Williams share a vision of helping people find jobs.
The members of Pleasant Valley Evangelical Church, who didn’t know each other previously, were brought together by Pastor John Weisman. Both told him about their ideas, and the pastor knew they were meant to work together.
The result is Community Career Connection, an employment workshop seminar, now underway at the church.
Strock, who has a business degree and has had various jobs, and Williams, who worked in steel production for 33 years, bring life experience and devotion to this ministry.
Pastor Weisman saw the workshop as a vehicle to reach out beyond church walls to help people help themselves.
The program also has a spiritual component. “Everyone has a purpose designed by God,” he said.
The seminar is based on the book, “Finding the Career that Fits You” by Larry Burkett and Lee Ellis. The workbook addresses “your career in changing times.”
Williams said he used the book in his family to help his children decide on college majors. “The book helps you look at your own personality and determine and assess skills,” he said.
He added by making such lists on paper, clusters and patterns of abilities emerge. People often overlook their “gifts and talents” because they take them for granted, he said, but this puts them in focus.
When Strock saw the index of the book, it mirrored what she had jotted down as important points in the job search.
“You have to know where you fit before you look,” she said. “This gives you a basis where to start, no matter what your age when you’re looking for a job.”
She emphasized preparation as the key in any job search, and the workshop organizes all those elements.
Sessions deal with personality strengths, skills, work priorities, vocational interests, developing a resume, organizing a job search and managing finances.
Strock and Williams noted that the workbook includes personality tests that help reveal aptitudes and expectations, which figure into the job search. The information can apply to those seeking part-time work while attending school or those seeking full-time employment.
“We believe God has a plan for our lives,” Pastor Weisman said, adding that people also have a responsibility to develop and use their given talents.
There are six participants in this first class, four males from 14 to 20 years old, and an older man and woman.
She noted the young people especially need guidance in the job-search process because they are new to it.
Strock said this employment workshop expresses the care of the church.
For her, she said, “Care means C for community and concern; A for an attitude of gratitude; R for restore people; and E for employment and empowerment.”
She added she reached out to some area businesses, who made donations to the program. They provided feedback about job opportunities and the kinds of workers they are seeking.
A local businessman also spoke to workshop participants.
Pastor Weisman said Pleasant Valley plans to network with other churches that may want to offer the employment workshop.