• February 2014

Jubilee Jobs: Working for Sustenance, Dignity, and Hope

The nonprofit workforce-development organization Jubilee Jobs is committed to helping the poor, disadvantaged, and unemployed in the Washington, DC, area obtain the jobs they desperately need and to guide them in moving beyond poverty toward sustained self-sufficiency, explains Executive Director Terry Flood, who co-founded the organization in 1981.

“For each person, the process begins with an open door,” says Flood, noting that hundreds of job seekers regularly come to the organization’s weekly orientation meetings. “This is the first required step in the program, and the most critical, for it is where job-seekers learn that there is nothing in their past that can keep them from having a productive and hope-filled future.”

After orientation, job seekers determine whether or not they will enter the program. Those who decide to participate find a structured process that leads to success, including:

  • Individual appointments with a job counselor to evaluate job skills and specific circumstances
  • Small group workshops on interview preparation and conflict resolution
  • One-on-one resume development
  • Pre-arranged interviews throughout the area (directions and referral provided)
  • Constructive follow-up sessions after each interview

“Applicants go on interviews throughout the area until they are hired because we know that job retention is at least as important as the initial job offer,” notes Flood, adding that Jubilee Jobs continues to provide structured support and community once people start working.

“Plus, job counselors and volunteers maintain contact with each employer and applicant, providing ongoing counsel and encouragement. Monthly “Job Friends” dinners provide a time for all working applicants and their families to gather for an informative program and share the challenges and successes of their new situation.”

The process doesn’t stop after obtaining a job.

“The applicant’s next milestone is to become an Achiever,” says Flood, explaining that Jubilee Jobs Achievers have accomplished these four important factors:

  • A salary of at least $8 per hour.
  • Employer-provided medical insurance.
  • Demonstrated capacity to use community resources, such as schools, libraries, churches, neighborhood organizations, and service organizations.
  • Active service to the community.

In fact, many of Jubilee Jobs’ clients go far beyond the Achievers level. Their next successes are measured in years. We are delighted to celebrate one, five, 10 years—and even longer tenure—in a job.

Click here to watch Flood’s powerful YouTube video on The Trust Factor: Initiatives of Change.

Scroll down for more insights from Flood about the program that brings sustenance, dignity, and hope to so many.

10 Questions for our BeInkandescent February Nonprofit of the Month: Jubilee Jobs

1. Be Inkandescent: Tell us about your mission.

Terry Flood: The mission of Jubilee Jobs is to help unemployed but eager-to-work persons find appropriate employment in the job market. The organization was called into being by a small group of unemployed persons who suggested that we open an employment agency helping semi-skilled and unskilled people who needed and wanted to work to find jobs. Using the process of professional employment agencies but not charging fees, Jubilee Jobs opened in May 1981. At first it was an experiment, but the process worked so well that we quickly hired a job counselor, found a desk, two chairsm and a telephone, and were able to help 96 people that first year.

2. Be Inkandescent: When and why did you get involved with the organization? Tell us a little about your background.

Terry Flood: In 1981, I was working in an affordable housing program in Washington, DC, called Jubilee Housing. This program grew out of the ministry of The Church of the Saviour, where I was a member. We saw firsthand the suffering of the very poor in our community. So we purchased two very run down apartment buildings to renovate for the residents who lived there. A small group of residents, which we called “The Committee of Compassion,” suggested we also create an employment agency. I was part of the group that led the charge, as a co-founder of Jubilee Jobs.

3. Be Inkandescent: How has the organization changed over the years?

Terry Flood: Jubilee Jobs has stayed true to its original call to help anyone who needs, wants, and is able to work to find employment as quickly and appropriately as possible. The job market has changed the process of finding employment, but employers are still looking for good, well-prepared people for open positions. Jubilee Jobs has evolved and developed our preparation process for applicants, created our own database, and added a “Move Up” component to the program to help applicants working at entry-level jobs move forward with career goals. We have grown from one job counselor in 1981 to our current staff of 16 who are working at two offices in Washington, DC—and three other centers around the country. We also created a national network of job-placement programs around the country in 2013, which we know will grow.

4. Be Inkandescent: Who is your target audience?

Terry Flood: We have two: the business community—and people who care about the struggles of the unemployed poor and want to partner with us as volunteers, mentors, and supporters.

5. Be Inkandescent: Can you give us an example of someone you have helped?

Terry Flood: Austin Lee is a young man, 24 years old, who came to Jubilee Jobs through our usual marketing tool, the grapevine. He had had some medical issues earlier in his life, but also had worked and done some college. His goal is to be a pediatric nurse, because of the kind and competent care he had received as a young boy. Austin was hired at Georgetown University’s bookstore and also at a daycare center. His goal is to earn both the necessary certificate in child development and also to continue with his college degree. Austin participates in the Jubilee Jobs “Move Up” program, focusing right now on scholarship applications for the fall of 2014.

6. Be Inkandescent: What accomplishment are you most proud of?

Terry Flood: I am most proud of the Jubilee Jobs organization and compassionate skilled staff helping 1,002 people find marketplace jobs in 2013!

7. Be Inkandescent: What are your goals for 2014?

Terry Flood: Our goals for 2014 are to continue to provide skilled job placement for every applicant who comes needing and wanting employment—another 1,000 people in 2014. We also have a goal to help another 100 people move from entry-level into more sustaining employment, with salary a minimum of $12 per hour.

8. Be Inkandescent: What is your budget and how do you raise funds?

Terry Flood: Our budget for 2014 is $927,250. Jubilee Jobs receives contributions from individuals, foundations, corporations, and faith communities. We raise money through many personal connections with those people who care deeply about the struggles of the poor to find employment.

9. Be Inkandescent: With the economy improving, is it easier to raise money? Or is it still a struggle?

Terry Flood: We consider the need to raise money to be a wonderful opportunity to share with people about the struggles of the job-placement process and also the courage and determination of those looking for work. We find that many people are not aware of the many steps needed to find even an entry-level job but once they are, they want to help. Even in the recession of the past years, we have continued with our program, including expanding to a second site in 2010 because of the need of so many people.

10. Be Inkandescent: If our readers could learn just one thing about your organization, what would you want them to know?

Terry Flood: I would want them to know that every applicant who comes to us for help with finding a job has a core of goodness within, regardless of whatever they may have been struggling with in the past. I would also want folks to know that along with the core of goodness in every applicant, there are also many untapped skills and qualities within each one that our community needs.

For more information visit JubileeJobs.org

About Terry Flood

Terry Flood is the co-founder and executive director of Jubilee Jobs. Since launching in 1981, Jubilee Jobs has helped more than 23,000 unemployed but eager-to-work people in Washington, DC, find appropriate work for sustenance, dignity, and hope.

The ministry has grown from one full-time job counselor, a desk, two chairs, and a telephone to a staff of 16 with offices in the Adams Morgan and Anacostia neighborhoods of Washington, DC. In addition, job-placement programs in Raleigh, N.C., Lexington, Ky., and Leesburg, Va., are modeled on the Jubilee Jobs process.

Flood also serves as a founding board member of Jubilee Housing and the newly formed Life Assets Financial Services. She is a member of Bread of Life Church, one of the faith communities connected with The Church of the Saviour in Washington, DC. She has a BA from American University, a master’s degree in Liberal Studies from Georgetown University, four children, and four grandchildren.

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