Posts in Employment
Spreading Our Wings

Community partnerships help StepUp to broaden our base and serve persons in additional outlets.  The Employment program has “spread our wings” over the course of the past year and held workshop weeks at the Salvation Army, the Wake County Human Services complex, in Wake Forest, and at Dorcas Ministries in Cary, NC.  We are excited to increase the footprint of the program and look to explore additional resource partnerships and locations as we enter the new calendar year.  Contact the Employment Team Lead, Dennis A. Jarmon, for more information about how your organization/you can help!

 This photo is from the StepUp Employment Week Workshop held at Dorcas Ministries in November.

This photo is from the StepUp Employment Week Workshop held at Dorcas Ministries in November.


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Make It Happen

“Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.”

-Michael Jordan

Making it happen is exactly what John Converse, a participant in the jobs program did, when it came to his opportunity for employment. John came through the program this summer, searching for an opportunity to grow both personally, and professionally. Once completing the employment week, he faced a few challenges with getting employed, but did not let those issues stop him.

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About a month ago, John decided to join our culinary training program, developed through our partnership with N.C. State University. John stayed committed to the four-week training, and upon completing his training was offered a position in the university dining hall.

Most individuals would not have seen the big picture of giving four weeks of your time in order to get to an opportunity, but John did. He saw the opportunity, wanted the opportunity, and he made it happen.

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More than a Job

Employment is much more than a job at StepUp. It’s the smile on our participant’s face and the joy of knowing that we are working towards success together. Not too long ago I myself walked through StepUp’s doors seeking employment. But what I found was so much more. I found a community of support and encouragement; additional tools and resources that helped push me further into my destiny.  I not only found a job but am fulfilling my passion. As an Employment Counselor, it brings me joy to help others achieve success. Now that’s worth smiling for!


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EmploymentStepUp Ministry
Circle of Life

At StepUp's ENER-G workshops, held every other Wednesday at Hayes Barton Baptist Church, the Community Circle is formed. This is impactful because it forms a continuous ring of support that StepUp offers, symbolically and in practice, for our participants.

Individuals enter the circle where they answer a prompted question and are also given an opportunity to relate to, and with, each other and their Employment Counselors. Additionally, resources and shared and employers are scheduled to meet job-seekers and share opportunities with them. 

It does, proverbially speaking, take a village, and StepUp is that village for our participants. May the circle be unbroken!


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StepUp Spotlight: Jacquetta Boone

Jacquetta started with StepUp in July of 2017 as a participant in the Employment Program. Jacquetta was referred to us by Myra Bradley of Catholic Charities. After working hard to complete the Employment Training Workshop, Jacquetta was offered a temporary position with the NCDMV and she accepted.

She continues to work as an employee with NCDMV. In March of 2018 Jacquetta started the Life Skills Program, with aspirations of learning more about handling her finances and about herself. She is currently in Phase Two of the Life Skills program and is doing a fantastic job! When you see Ms. Boone around StepUp, say hello and encourage her as she continues to reach her goals.


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StepUp Spotlight: Cheryl Crump
Cheryl Crump.jpg

Most individuals come to StepUp seeking employment, directly or indirectly.  In the case of Cheryl Crump, it was to get a refresher on some employability skills to seek an upgrade in employment from her weekend clerical position.  It came in handy because, shortly after completing her workshop, she found herself phased out of her job.  She worked with her Employment Counselor to further enhance her resume and job seeking strategy that enabled her to land a contract position with the NC Department of Revenue (which she currently holds).  She is happy about the opportunity and is making the most of it while developing new transferable skills, to boot.  We are so very glad to have assisted Cheryl with her ability to StepUp!


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Xtremely Inspired

At StepUp Ministry, our vision is to be the premier resource in Wake County for people seeking to improve their lives and develop stable careers. Members of our staff were able to meet with current high school sophomores and juniors seeking to do exactly that at Xtreme Beginnings.

One of the many attributes that makes StepUp a premier resource is our dedication to helping people of all ages improve their lives and develop stable careers. Gainful employment changes the lives of not only the individual and their family. It changes entire communities.

On March 27, members of the Employment, Children and Real World Programs of StepUp Ministry, partnered with Wake County Public School Systems to conduct mock interviews for sophomore and high school students. The 18th Annual Xtreme Beginnings Event grants students the opportunity to gain a better understanding of their career options as they continue the career exploration process.

It was an honor to sit in a room full of the students of today and leaders of tomorrow. The event was a wonderful opportunity to open the eyes and minds of the next generation’s workforce to an array of educational and career opportunities.

We look forward to returning next year and to our continued partnership with WCPSS to encourage and support our students.

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Salvation Army Hosts StepUp

In its beginning stages, StepUp Ministry worked to assist homeless individuals in obtaining housing. Eventually, the organization grew to include an employment program and life skills training. This was done to give a safe space for people to change more than just a difficult situation, they could change their entire life.


Community means different things to different people. But the underlying message is working together with the common goal of everyone growing, rising and thriving together. The Jobs Team at StepUp Ministry has been fortunate in partnering with different agencies in the community to provide job training to the unemployed residents of Wake County.


The Salvation Army is one of those agencies, and we have been fortunate to work alongside them over the years. This month they hosted the Employment Week Workshop at their facility located  near downtown Raleigh. We are grateful for their partnership and support!



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StepUp Spotlight: Dominique Gray

Ms. Dominique Gray began the Employment Program on April 10th, 2017. Dominique possesses unmatched ambition and is eager to reenter the workforce. She seeks out and attends Raleigh hiring events and is currently pursuing seasonal employment with Marriott Hotels. Dominique is also on track to begin employment with NC State Dining! Our team is excited about the connections being made between our awesome participants and our awesome employers!

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Courage Over Fear

"I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” -Nelson Mandela


This quote speaks to the spirit of a participant, by the name of Magnus Lane. Magnus initially came through the employment program in 2013 and did not stay connected, but that wasn’t the end of his story with StepUp. He returned in 2016 and seemed to have a new attitude towards his professional success. Magnus eventually landed a job as a janitor, where he was committed to being the best at his job. Throughout his time in this position, Magnus never stopped going on interviews and attending job fairs. He met with me weekly to continue practicing on his interviewing skills, which also helped him overcome any anxiety he had of taking the next step in his career. Magnus was patiently waiting for the next door God was going to open for him when he received not one call, but two different calls from employers who were interested in him. Magnus is now working two great jobs, providing for his self and his family. Magnus took the fear he had, and conquered it. He turned interviewing into a strength, and he won’t let anything stop him from moving forward and being successful.

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Success Story: Lakeisha Wilson

Lakeisha Wilson is a native of Wake Forest NC. When Lakeisha came to StepUp she was unemployed and living in a transitional house. She was introduced to StepUp by her church at Greater New Life Fellowship Community Church in Wake Forest.


She began her journey with StepUp on February 20, 2017 where she came through the jobs program. After completing the jobs week program she was able to obtain employment within 2 weeks. She is currently employed with Rescare as a Direct Care Professional. After getting employed she continued her relationship with StepUp by becoming a participant in the Life Skills program.

Lakeisha is a mother of 3 and her main hobby is singing. She sings gospel music and is passionate about her relationship with Christ. She will be the first to tell you that “Life for me has not been no crystal stair”, but yet I am climbing. She has come from homelessness, unemployment, divorcement, abandonment to obtaining a career and getting her life back on track.

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A Story of Success

From the moment Angel Toro arrived for Jobs Week, it was apparent that he was on the path to success. While many different circumstances landed him in the place of unemployment, all could see that his determination was going to carry him wherever he set his mind to go.

During his period of incarceration, Angel focused on future opportunities. He used the time to obtain his certifications in HVAC-R, EPA Universal Licensing and 410A Safety, from Central Arizona College.

Upon completing the Jobs Week, Angel obtained employment with Newcomb and Company as a Recycling Processor. He has just start Life Skills Phase I and is excited to be able to have his son, Santiago, attending the Children’s Program. His wife Donna, after hearing about the program, decided to enter Life Skills as well. It will be amazing to see the whole family graduate!!

Angel is so excited by all that has happened in his life. We are so honored to have been able to witness all of his hard work and dedication lead to the success he deserves. 

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ENER-G Enthusiasm

StepUp Staff hosted one of the most energetic and inspiring ENER-G sessions to date on February 15! There was a crowd of 20 StepUp program participants who spent the morning encouraging one another and sharing testimonies. Watch this video to get a behind the scenes look at a Wednesday morning ENER-G session.




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Shout Out for Shannon

The Employment Team would like to send a shout out to Shannon Benedetto for all her hard work, determination, and commitment towards gaining employment and stability. Shannon was a past participant of the StepUp Employment Week. However, this time around, Shannon was willing and open-minded towards the process. This time, Shannon demonstrated a positive demeanor and did everything her Employment Counselor asked of her. She showed real dedication, which not only landed her a job at Jimmy Johns, but also helped her get her feet in the door at Carroll’s Kitchen.  Shannon is now able to work and have a place to live. Carroll’s Kitchen is a nonprofit restaurant dedicated to ending homelessness for women in Raleigh. StepUp Ministry would like to thank Carroll’s Kitchen for partnering with us too! We are so proud of Shannon and wish her only best in her future endeavors. StepUp Ministry will continue to support Shannon, wherever she may go.

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The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

StepUp Life Skills, Alumni, and Employment Week participants, along with staff and 30 volunteers, came together for our annual Christmas party. After sharing a delicious holiday meal, we played a game of Family Feud, heard festive tunes, and took plenty of pictures in the photo booth. Santa stopped by to hear the Christmas wishes of our children, and we got to enjoy some Christmas songs by the Fountain Singers from the Fountain of Raleigh and the Junior League of Raleigh Choir. Thanks to everyone who gave of their time and talents to make this event a success!


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Never Give Up

The Employment Week program graduates many classes, but there was something different and special about this past week's class. The week started off with about 18 people, and by Wednesday there were 15 individuals left. These were individuals who took this opportunity seriously, and wouldn’t let anything stand in the way of completing the week.

The team saw a woman who worked at night and didn’t get off until 7AM, come in every morning ready for the day. There was also a mother who had to help her children at night with homework, while completing her own work for the week. The last individual that stood out last week, was a young lady who took the tools she learned throughout the week and applied them to a real interview. After her interview, she landed the job before the week was even out.

What do all of these individuals have in common? They all have the determination to never give up, and the commitment to never let anything get in the way of working to change their own lives, as well as those of their families.


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The Last Straw, an Interview with Dana Caldwell

Dana Caldwell is a member of our Employment Program. We sat down to discuss her reasons for joining StepUp Ministry, her new job, and what she has planned next.

LB: Dana, thank you for meeting with me today. Can you share what brought you to StepUp Ministry?

DC: I didn’t have any faith in finding a career because of my past (criminal background). I lost the faith, I lost hope, I lost everything. I really did. You know, I went to school. I had gotten so much education. But I was still getting turned away from everywhere. I would get the job but when the background check would come back that would be the end of that. Hospitals, good nursing homes would hire me and then let me go. But then one day I talked to the lady at Wake County Human Services and she sent me to StepUp.

LB: We are so thankful you came!! So that Monday of Jobs Week, do you remember what your word was to describe how you were feeling?

DC: I was scared and nervous. I just didn’t have any hope.

LB: I remember meeting you, and I wouldn’t have known any of that if you hadn’t shared it with us.

DC: And that’s what broke me down and opened me up, when I had to share. I had never shared it with anyone. Asking for help was one of the biggest things I ever had to do because I am used to having to do it on my own, and it was never a problem until now. I felt like I was fighting the kids because of the divorce, fighting the jobs for a chance, fighting myself the most not to give up. StepUp Ministry was my last straw. I didn’t know where else to turn or what else to do because so many doors had been closed in my face.

LB: So now you have the job at Capital Area Transit through your partnership with StepUp Ministry. It’s funny, I remember when you first graduated you applied for their bus driver position but didn’t get it because you didn’t have your CDL’s.

DC: Yes. Then I got a call from the Assistant Human Resources Manager and she said that I could apply for the Utility Maintenance position. I saw you at Wake County Human Services when I was there filling out the application for a different job and you got on me to complete the CAT application right away.

LB: Then to have received the email saying they decided to hire someone else. I know that must have been tough.

DC: It really was. But the next day I called them to follow up and see what I could have done better in the interview so that I would do better the next time I applied for a job. And they told me they had made a mistake, I was their top candidate and they offered me the job!!!

LB: That is so amazing!!

DC: Yes!! So now I am working on getting my CDL permit and learning everything I can. Then in 6 months I will be applying for the bus driver position.

LB: You just keep moving forward. What was your biggest takeaway from this?

DC: Before coming to StepUp Ministry, I would go into so much details about my background in the interview, or I wouldn’t say anything at all. When I came through the Jobs Week, I really learned a lot about what to do in the interview in just one week. That and the support you guys kept giving me helped me to not give up on myself.

LB: Dana, there was never a doubt in anyone’s mind that you were going to accomplish every goal you had set for yourself. Thank you so much for letting us walk with you and for sharing your story today.


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