One of the local mission partners that were a part of the recent Global Impact Celebration and Prayer conference offered by a local church was Christian Women’s Job Corps® (CWJC) of Madison County. CWJC is a non-profit, faith-based agency where women in need are equipped for life and employment through job-readiness classes, computer classes, GED training, Bible study, and mentoring. The women in the program attend intensive life and work skills courses that include daily Bible study and computer classes. The classes vary in length and are free of charge. The curriculum is designed to give the women foundation on which to build a successful life and career. Each student is also assigned a mentor who has committed to a one-year one-on-one relationship to help build the student's self-esteem, self-confidence and skills essential to success in life and work.
CWJC began in August of 1997, four women from Huntsville attended the first national CWJC certification training in Birmingham, Alabama, along with 200 people from across the United States. The first CWJC class began with nine women in September of 1998. CWJC has a community–based Board of Directors, 501(c)3 nonprofit status, and an army of volunteers who serve in a variety of ways. Most importantly, CWJC continues to graduate students who are now involved in the next step to becoming independent. Some are completing their GED requirements, attending a community college, or preparing for the job market. These successful graduates are living proof that CWJC makes a profound difference in the lives of women. The mission of CWJC is to equip area women with the life and employment skills needed for them to obtain self–sufficiency. With the support of area volunteers, our goal is to break the cycle of poverty, be it financial or poverty of spirit.
CWJC needs various types of volunteers to include:
• Auto mechanics to assess donated automobiles and provide repairs as a donation.
• Bible Study Teachers to lead weekly non-denominational, Bible studies in line with CWJC’s statement of faith.
• Computer teachers to present training in Microsoft Word, Excel and basic keyboarding. The computer teachers also help the student prepare their professional resume. This is a paid position and hours vary according to training site.
• Computer training assistances are volunteer positions and are needed to assist the students one-on-one during computer classes.
• Doctors, Dentists, and Attorneys to provide basic medical, dental, or legal services at a reduced fee or free of charge.
• Fund raisers/event planners these volunteers assist in fund-raising efforts and help plan special events whick include volunteer recognitions, luncheons, graduations and other events as necessary.
• GED tutors are volunteers who help tutor the students so that they can obtain their goal of passing the GED exam.
• Lunch sponsors to provide a lunch for the students at the First Baptist site and to sponsor special events meals for the Hillsboro and Union Hill sites.
• Mentors for the students.
You can learn of other volunteer opportunities and CWJC needs at their web site http://www.cwjc.net.
The Executive Director of Christian Women’s Job Corps of Madison County, AL, Inc. is Elaine Dickson. Elaine is a of Huntsville, Alabama, a graduate of Auburn University with a B.A. in Psychology, as well as an M.S. in Clinical Psychology from Alabama A & M University. Her university training experience included co-facilitating various support groups and performing intake interviews with new clients at the Marshall/Jackson County Mental Health Center in Guntersville, AL.
Her professional background includes working as a Case Manager with the seriously mentally ill clients of the Huntsville/Madison County Mental Health Center. Elaine also facilitated Positive Peer Support Groups in the local school systems. She developed and taught the curriculum designed to teach intervention strategies to students who were targeted as at-risk for drug or alcohol abuse. As a volunteer, Elaine has traveled for several years with a team to Perry County, Alabama to renovate housing for those in areas of poverty as part of the “Sowing Seeds of Hope” program. Elaine has been employed by Christian Women’s Job Corps of Madison County, AL, Inc. since 2003, beginning as a Site Coordinator and now as an Executive Director. She is one of 2 nationally certified Christian Women’s Job Corps trainers in the state of Alabama.
In an on-line interview Elaine stated she was attracted to the position because she wanted “to be a part of a ministry that helps women overcome the barriers to self sufficiency. This ministry offers a hand up, not a hand out. I was especially interested in this approach, which works with the strengths that each woman has and builds on them. It is exciting to see the change in our participants as they realize they can learn a new skill and that God does have a plan for each one of them.”
Elaine stated that, “One of my goals is to enroll more participants in the coming year. There are still so many who do not know about our services and I would like to publicize our organization to more people. Another goal is to enlist more volunteers as mentors, meal providers, and GED tutors, to name a few. One of the services that we provide is a volunteer internship program for our students with a high school diploma or above. I would like to increase the number of businesses and nonprofits that partner with us in our internships. I would especially like to connect with those businesses who have entry level openings so that after the internships the students might have a job opportunity in those companies.”
“My most difficult part of being Executive Director is recruiting mentors for our participants. However, we have recently hired a part time Administrative Recruiter who will focus on recruiting both participants and volunteers,” Elaine said. “The best part about this job is being able to connect our participants with resources in our community and watching them blossom. Our community is blessed with a wealth of volunteers and services,” she continued.
What would she most like others to know about CWJC “ I would like others to know that CWJC is a program that works! We see the results firsthand when our women turn from a life of frustration to one of hope and possibilities. The effects of this transformation transfer to the woman’s family and to her surrounding community when she is able to sustain herself and then give back.”
If you would like to learn more about CWJC or how you can help out you can contact CWJC through their website http://www.cwjc.net or through their email address firstname.lastname@example.org. The telephone number is 256-428-9435.