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WMU’s job training program gains newspaper’s accolades


BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (BP)–A daily newspaper has voiced
praise for Woman’s Missionary Union and local church
volunteers, upon the first commencement for clients of the
Birmingham (Ala.) Christian Women’s Job Corps (CWJC), a job
training program for women living in poverty initiated by
the national WMU in 1996. Ten African-American women made up the graduating class.
Birmingham’s first CWJC site opened in September 1997.
The ministry is coordinated by the Birmingham Baptist
Association, but is supported by churches from four
denominations, along with a local hospital and an area
Mustard Seed program. The association has plans for six
additional sites in 1998, and each will be sponsored by
churches adjacent to the ministries.
The Birmingham News observed in a Dec. 29, 1997,
editorial, “When it comes to helping the poor get in a
better position to help themselves, it’s no secret that
private charities often can do a much more efficient,
longer-lasting job than government.
“That is why it’s so heartening that a good number of
churches in the Birmingham area are about to start programs
to help move women from welfare to work,” the editorial
continued. “It’s the perfect time for such an effort since
fall 1998 is the time welfare recipients in the state must
find work (or take part in some type of jobs program) or
lose benefits.”
The editorial went on to praise the components of CWJC,
which is Christian in context and emphasizes one-on-one
mentoring between client and volunteer.
“One of the more appealing aspects of the program …
is that it will pair each welfare recipient with an
individual, trained worker who will be there for support in
the long haul. In other words, neither the woman on welfare
nor the person who mentors her will be a faceless client or
bureaucrat, but instead two people actually dealing with
each other on an individual basis.
“This program has such a potential for good that it
ought to be part of the ministry of practically every church
in Alabama,” the editorial concluded. “Praise those involved
already and those that will undoubtedly join later.”
The editorial was the second such comment made by the
Birmingham editors about CWJC. The first came June 18, 1997,
when the editorial staff wrote, “The Woman’s Missionary
Union is providing a much-needed service. It’s a blessing
sure to help keep our most needy families from becoming
casualties of state and national welfare reform efforts.”
CWJC has received similar accolades throughout 1997 as
the training program gained national and local recognition.
Among the recognitions were:
— CWJC gained WMU a runner-up distinction in the Acton
Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty’s 1997
Samaritan Awards. The Acton Institute is a nonprofit
educational entity that seeks to familiarize the religious
and business communities with the moral dimensions of a free
society. It seeks to recognize individuals, churches and
religious charitable organizations helping to meet social
and economic needs.
— CWJC was named a charter member organization to Vice
President Al Gore’s Welfare to Work Coalition to Sustain
Success. Trudy Johnson, special projects manager for WMU,
serves on the coalition that meets quarterly to discuss
challenges and successes in helping welfare recipients gain
self-sufficiency.
— The San Antonio CWJC was awarded the Lifelong
Learning Award from the San Antonio Literacy Commission.
— A gift of $1,000 was given to the WMU Foundation to
initiate a CWJC endowment fund. Donations may be made to the
fund through the WMU Foundation, P.O. Box 11346, Birmingham,
AL 35202-1346. For more information, call the foundation at
(205) 408-5525 or e-mail at [email protected].
— CWJC clients made meaningful steps to
self-sufficiency. Several secured good jobs or enrolled in
internship programs. One participant graduated from
vocational school on the dean’s list. Others returned to the
program to be trained as mentors. Professions of faith also
were reported from a majority of sites.
WMU also released products to support the ministry. One
is the video “Christian Women’s Job Corps: From Dependency
to Self-Sufficiency.” The latest product is a CWJC paperback
edition of the Contemporary English Version Bible. Call WMU’s Customer Service at 1-800-968-7301 to purchase these
items.
For information on CWJC, contact the state WMU office
or Trudy Johnson at Woman’s Missionary Union, P.O. Box
830010, Birmingham, AL 35283; phone (205) 991-4972; or
e-mail [email protected].
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*Name changed for security concerns.

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  • Tanya Dawson*