The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believes that one of the keys to a person's self-respect is having meaningful
employment, receiving fair compensation for hours worked, having insurance to
protect against the unexpected, and receiving time for vacation and sick leave to
rejuvenate and to heal.
Recognizing the value of meaningful
employment, church leaders established LDS
Employment Resource Services to provide opportunities to those who areunemployed or who desire to learn job skills. The centers are available to Mormons and people of other faiths.
Currently there more than 100 LDS employment
resource centers in the United States and more than 150 located throughout
Africa, Asia, the Pacific, Europe and Latin America. The centers offer free
services, including job postings, job search instruction, resume classes,
one-on-one assistance and career services for professionals such as practice
The success of the program is easy to
measure. In 2006, the church placed more than 88,000 people in jobs in the United
States and Canada and more than 137,000 people internationally.
One of those was René, a church member in Chile. He had been out of work for more than a year when he learned about the LDS Employment Resource Center in Santiago.
"I felt skeptical," René said. "I felt so ashamed that when I finally made the call to the employment resource
center, I disguised my name and my voice."
René knew he needed help, but even after
making the decision to go to the resource center he found himself circling the
building over and over again before finally getting up enough courage to go in
and attend classes. "Everyone there treated me with such love and such warmth,"René said.
At a Monday meeting in a Salt Lake City
employment resource center recently, job seekers networked with each other,
listened to a motivational speaker, received Internet training and met with
Ballard Veater, manager of the Salt Lake
City LDS Employment Resource Services office, said the average length of time it
takes for professionals to get a job in Utah is eight to 10 months. For those
who take the Career Workshop and actively participate in the weeklynetworking meetings, it usually takes two to three months to find a job.
"If they do all the components of the program and if they are actually
able to apply what we're talking about, they will be able to reduce their job
search time," Veater said.
Key to the success of the employment
centers is the staff of trained volunteers who are supervised by full-time staff. In 2007
alone these volunteers provided 140,000 days of labor.
Jackie, a single mother
from Orlando, Fla., learned firsthand how valuable the volunteers are at LDS
Employment Resource Services. She recalls how she went to an employment centerComment on this story
but put her job search on hold after breaking her leg. A church
missionary working at the center called Jackie at home, and when she learnedwhat had happened, offered to take her to a doctor's appointment.
While waiting for the doctor to see
Jackie, the missionary noticed an announcement that the doctor's office needed anoffice assistant. "What can I lose?" said Jackie.
The following Monday, cast and all, she began her new job.
See the entire series "Church welfare program helps people help themselves through tough economic times" at LDS.org/Newsroom.