GenesisJobs was founded in 1985 as a program of Episcopal Social Ministries with the purpose of building a network of the business and community and faith communities to help people in disadvantaged neighborhoods of Baltimore manage their search for good entry-level jobs. Through this network, GenesisJobs organized a corps of 85 volunteers to coach applicants into and through their first year on a new job. In 2003, GenesisJobs became a division of Goodwill Industries of the Chesapeake. With only five paid staff members, GenesisJobs relies on dedicated volunteers to deliver their program services.
GenesisJobs’ programs are based on the conviction that the job market will open to low-skill men and women that society has labeled unemployable if they receive compassionate and effective assistance. GenesisJobs offers free job search and employability coaching for individuals who seek entry-level positions. This program does not give anyone a job; however, it helps the person find and keep a job by providing effective employability readiness and job search training and long-term retention support.
Follow-up counseling maintains the support that was built during the job readiness and search coaching. This process results in a higher-than-average retention rate for low-skilled employees – 35% of GenesisJobs applicants compared to the 7% national average. Follow-up counseling creates better employees by encouraging individuals to work through the challenges they face in the workplace, rather than quitting and by helping them break problems down into manageable pieces. Counselors also continue to instill a good work ethic in new employees and generate a higher level of excitement about maintaining employment.
The innovation of this program comes from pioneering a process to rebuilding community be bringing the key stakeholders necessary for the task of helping the marginally employable secure jobs. Those stakeholders include Baltimore businesses, faith communities, educational institutions, community organizations, philanthropic organizations, civic groups, volunteers and job seekers.
The 2003 statistics provide a vivid picture of the importance of the volunteers’ efforts. During the year, the combined annual salaries of the applicants they helped find jobs were $2,972,600. The average hourly rate of pay for applicants that were hired was $8.56. Volunteers contributed in excess of 2,600 hours of service during the year also to make GenesisJobs a success.
The innovative programs and services that GenesisJobs offers are unduplicated in the Baltimore community. They distinguish themselves by relying on volunteers as the key staff providing the direct service of coaching men and women to look for, find and keep good jobs; understanding the needs of the employers; staying in touch with the newly hired applicants for one year to help them keep their jobs; helping their employer retain the new hire as a valuable employee; and they charge no fees.