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Christian Women’s Job Corps loses leader but keeps focus

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (BP)–What does a woman in need look like?

Is she a welfare recipient living in poverty? Is she underemployed with no hope of providing for her family on a meager income? Is she just coming out of prison wondering how to make a life for herself? Perhaps she is working in the adult entertainment industry in search of someone to show her a better way. Or maybe she’s the homemaker who suddenly finds herself single due to unforeseen circumstances and must enter the workforce unprepared.

Through Christian Women’s Job Corps, a ministry of Woman’s Missionary Union, countless women in these situations and others have discovered direction and hope for their lives. For the past 10 years, Trudy Johnson, CWJC director for national WMU, has coordinated efforts to advance this ministry across the United States and help equip women for life and employment.

However, effective Jan. 5, Johnson will take on a new ministry opportunity at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Birmingham, Ala. Johnson will direct the Jeremiah’s Hope Skills Center, a CWJC-like initiative at the hospital to help individuals with entry-level jobs and to provide encouragement for further education to build their careers.

“While we always regret losing valuable staff members, we share in Trudy’s excitement for this new opportunity God has opened to her and wish her well,” said Wanda S. Lee, WMU executive director-treasurer. “We greatly appreciate her commitment and dedication to CWJC and are committed to building on the foundation she helped establish to propel this ministry into the future.”

CWJC was born out of a vision of WMU leadership beginning in 1994 and subsequently designed by a CWJC task force. It was established as a ministry of WMU in 1996. In six short years, Christian Women’s Job Corps, which started with six pilot sites, has grown to approximately 130 sites across 21 states.

Carol Causey, director of WMU’s missions resource center, said, “WMU is excited about CWJC’s growth potential as we take steps to provide accessible training to more mentors and site coordinators and produce resources for the advancement of the ministry.” Causey added that the ministry has a strong, stable base and WMU will seek God’s direction for a new national point person for CWJC. In the meantime, direction for the ministry will come from WMU’s missions involvement team led by Debra Berry, adult ministry consultant.

The two key elements that make Christian Women’s Job Corps successful are that each participant is paired one-on-one with a mentor for encouragement and accountability and that each participant is expected to participate in a weekly Bible study to either begin or grow in her relationship with the Lord. CWJC makes a long-term commitment to each participant to assist her until she reaches her goals.

The WMU Foundation holds several endowments for the advancement of CWJC, which all have grown over the years. The CWJC Special Fund supports current operating financial needs at various sites; the CWJC Endowment Fund awards financial support to sites for the expansion of current ministries; and the Sybil Bentley Dove Endowment supports an award given annually to a CWJC participant who has completed the program and desires to advance herself through skills training, academic development, and faith in Christ.

“God’s hand has been on this ministry from the very beginning,” said Lee. “It is our privilege to serve others and share the love of Christ through CWJC, one of the most exciting ministries national WMU has ever launched.”

For more information on Christian Women’s Job Corps, visit http://www.wmu.com/getinvolved/ministry/cwjc/. For more information on the WMU Foundation, visit www.wmufoundation.com.