Since 2005, Blue Jacket has provided job training to anyone who is seeking employment, but the nonprofit’s mission goes much further than just getting a job. Through its training, Blue Jacket believes it will instill confidence in those who face barriers to reaching their career goals and build a solid base through which people can structure their lives.
Blue Jacket offers a multitude of resources to help people struggling in life, but its focus on career preparation has been proven time and again to be the foundation that helps address other barriers in one’s life.
“In our Career Academy, we help build workers’ confidence. A boost in confidence helps boost self-efficacy – the idea that ‘I can do things on my own and I can advocate for myself every day I work’– this is what we want to teach,” says Tony Hudson, executive director and founder of Blue Jacket. “Work helps organize our lives, so having a daily routine and a regime helps
us organize other factors of life – our social lives, family life, spiritual life. It’s also a social release. Being in the workforce is more than just earning a wage, it’s about being in a community with other people.”
Blue Jacket never turns anyone away regardless of “eligibility barriers” such as lack of reading skills, communication skills, housing, work experience or transportation. “We focus on soft-skill training that’s transferrable from job to job. In fact, a lot of what we teach might be interpreted as life skills – how to communicate, how to best present yourself, what do first impressions mean – and we spend a lot of time on customer service,” says Hudson.
This is where confidence comes in. Being able to communicate with others, verbally and nonverbally, can be half the battle to attaining that dream job and the ability to support yourself and your loved ones. “Being seen as a viable candidate by an employer creates further self-confidence. We prepare our clients by showing them how to approach employers.”
Blue Jacket’s pre-employment training is a two-week curriculum at 20-hours per week that builds a strong foundation for seeking out and acquiring jobs. “Our clients have to dress business professional. They have to be on time, and they need to have their assignments complete,” says Hudson. “Adults learn by doing and practicing, called kinesthetic learning, so by practicing, our clients attain the skills that will make them more confident entering the workforce.”
84 percent of the people who come to Blue Jacket for work are able to find a job after graduation, whether on their own or through Blue Jacket’s placement service called Blue Jacket Staffing. “Our graduates are great people to work around because they are confident in themselves and are just excited to be there.”
With all this going for Blue Jacket, its goal of a hundred percent employment rate may be just around the corner.