Saturday, April 09, 2011

Sunday: Catch CBS Special on Faith Communities and Unemployment

This Sunday, April 10, CBS will broadcast a religion special about how the unemployed are being helped by faith communities. The program, Unemployment: How Faith Communities Help Job Seekers, features an interview with Rev. Paul Sherry, Director of IWJ's DC Office and Campaign Coordinator of Faith Advocates for Jobs.

Check your local CBS station for the exact time of the broadcast (in some areas, it's being broadcast later in the week, or the following week).

From the CBS website:

Given the current jobless rate and overwhelming numbers of unemployed workers, many faith communities have created programs to assist people with their job searches and job retraining. Programs are conducted by experienced professionals free of charge and most do not require job seekers be members of the church or religion. Faith communities acknowledge that faith and prayer have to be aided by training and greater market awareness to help increase employment rates. As UNEMPLOYMENT: HOW FAITH COMMUNITIES HELP JOB SEEKERS shows, many experienced and compassionate people are helping today's job seekers.

The CBS special visits the Career Transition Center of Chicago (CTC), where one such program offers professional, spiritual and emotional support to those looking for work or undergoing a career transition. CTC was founded in 1997 primarily by the United Methodist, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic and Episcopal communities. The program features interviews with Executive Director Anita Jenke and David Kaiser, a life coach volunteer at the center, as well as those currently using the CTC's outplacement services.

In Chicago, the special visits St. Chrysostom's Employment Council, which dates back to the 1980s. Viewers will see a workshop entitled "Improving With Improv: Presenting Your Best Self through Humor and Spontaneity" and led by Bina Martin, a teacher at Chicago's famed Second City Improv. While there, viewers will also hear from Rev. Larry Green, a Deacon at the church, and Michael Cade, a parishioner and volunteer who oversees the Employment Council's monthly meetings.

Up next is New York City's Riverside Church, which offers a free six-week barber training program. Since 1997, master barber Dennis F. Thomas has trained nearly 2,000 people in the basics of barbering. The special explores the church program's practical results by visiting with some of its graduates at work, and speaking with Debra Northern, Director of Social Services for Riverside Church.

The special's final stop is St. James, a Roman Catholic Parish in Stratford, Connecticut, where Rev. Paul Sherry of Interfaith Worker Justice talks about the realities of unemployment, lending a deeper sense of need to the practical efforts now offered by local churches. His is an advocacy group that addresses related issues of wages, benefits and working conditions. The individual local programs help support job seekers with new skills as well as insights as to what employers are seeking today.

The special is produced in cooperation with the National Council of Churches, Consortium of Roman Catholic organizations, the Islamic Society of North America, the Union of Reform Judaism and the New York Board of Rabbis.

To learn more about Faith Advocates for Jobs or to get your congregation or group involved, e-mail Paul at or call him at 202-525-3055.

Faith Advocates for Jobs has produced a toolkit for congregations that want to get involved with the campaign. Standing With the Unemployed: A Congregational Toolkit can be downloaded here (it's a PDF).

Danny Postel
Communications Coordinator
Interfaith Worker Justice

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Whoever does not find a faith community in his region might find helpful - a self-help social network für unemployed persons recently installed by an Austrian student.