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5 steps outlined for launching CWJC center for unemployed women

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (BP)–Assessing the need for — and tallying up available resources — are the starting points in five key steps for launching a local Christian Women’s Jobs Corps ministry.

1) Assess the need. Could Christian Women’s Job Corps contribute something to the lives of women that other service agencies in your community do not provide? At a CWJC center, women are mentored in life skills and job readiness training, but they are also taught the Bible. They learn of God’s love and how much their Christian sisters care for them. Are there women in your community who need a “hand up” instead of a “handout”? If so, CWJC might be the answer.

2) Count the cost. Is there a woman willing to take on the task of site coordinator on a volunteer basis? Are there women willing to commit to mentor clients? Will Southern Baptist churches in the area (other denominations may be willing to join in as well) make a monetary commitment to the ministry? Is there a place available to use as a center? Each of these resources may take time to locate, but these are a few of the elements necessary for getting established.

3) Attend training. Certification training for the site coordinator is required. National Woman’s Missionary Union offers the training in several cities throughout the year. Contact Trudy Johnson, national coordinator for CWJC, at Woman’s Missionary Union in Birmingham, Ala., at (205) 991-4972 for more information about training.

4) Form an advisory council. People throughout the community in a variety of occupations will each bring a valuable perspective to the new ministry. Social workers, pastors, directors of WMU-related Women on Mission and women’s ministries in churches, professional counselors, educators, lawyers and business leaders will add diversity and depth to a site’s plans.

5) Locate teachers/facilitators/volunteers. This may mean networking with other agencies already established in the community. And it will certainly mean lining up volunteers willing to work in a number of areas, such as mentoring, transportation, teaching, leading Bible studies or guidance counseling. Current site coordinators report that when women in the churches grasp the potential impact CWJC can make in the lives of women, they are eager to participate.

It usually takes between six months to one year to establish a new CWJC site, Johnson says. Preparation is the key. The more preparation invested, the more effective the ministry will be when the doors are open to clients.

Christian Women’s Job Corps provides a true model for carrying out the woman-to-woman mentoring that the apostle Paul instructs Titus to teach women of the early church, Johnson recounts of WMU’s launching the CWJC initiative. The command may be carried somewhat differently in the year 2000, she notes, but the need is the same — women leading, teaching, mentoring and loving other women.

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  • Sammie Jo Barstow