Posts in Employment
StepUp Spotlight: Mitch Coles
Mitch Coles.jpg

The Employment team is excited to recognize Mitch Coles, who completed our weeklong employment workshop back in February. Mitch came to the program with exceptional skills and experience in the IT industry, but was having a hard time connecting with the right opportunities.

After completion of the employment week, Mitch stayed connected with the Jobs team. He attended other StepUp workshops to hone his skills and utilized the StepUp program to extend his network. Most importantly, he continued to build confidence in the skills he possessed. He never stopped engaging and pushing forward with his career goals. This persistent drive landed Mitch a life-changing opportunity with Cisco Systems as a desktop publisher. 

These are encouraging words directly from Mitch:

“I do thank the StepUp Ministry for helping me with my confidence, sharpening my skills and even understanding and learning about individuals with criminal backgrounds. I don’t have one but I KNEW that information was greater than myself. I was able to share some of those things that I’ve learned in that class with others who do have one. Overall, my resume was revamped because of you guys, my confidence and my ability to have more range to look for different things. So again, thank you. Thank you all at StepUp Ministry.”

StepUp Spotlight: Brittany Lewis

Coming through the doors on Monday, StepUp Employment Workshop participant Brittany Lewis felt hopeful. By Friday, after 32 hours spent learning about networking, resume writing, dressing for success and preparing for the interview, Brittany feels accomplished. With two interviews already lined up with a pharmaceutical company and doctor’s office, Brittany is ready to spring forward into a new opportunity.

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ENER-G: Employer Excitement

StepUp Ministry’s Employment Program works with individuals to enhance their previously gained skills and introduce new concepts which improve their overall employability. Bi-weekly, we host a gathering geared toward networking, that we call ENER-G.

Employers also come to introduce potential employees to their company and discuss openings they are seeking to fill. Representatives give a brief overview of their organization, answer additional questions, and qualify potential candidates, as well. We are looking to add more businesses to our “partnership portfolio” that want to hire eager and capable employees. 

Are you looking for qualified candidates to fill a position you have? Know an employer who may be interested? To learn more about joining us for ENER-G, please contact the Employment Team Lead, Dennis A. Jarmon, at


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New Year, New Energy

The new year has brought an amazing start for the employment team. Along with adding a few great new employers to the roster, our Bi-weekly ENER-G program provided a space for over 10 participants to have face to face interviews with the employers’ present. One of the highlights from the start of this year comes from the most recent employment week, were 9 amazing individuals graduated. The class from last week was filled with individuals from all different walks of life, but had one common goal of finding employment opportunities. 

As the class made their journey through the week, they discovered much more than an opportunity for a job; they discovered hope. This hope was reflected on the last day of class, when the participants decided to stand up and speak about how their lives were changed in just one week. The employment team pushes forward to ensure that every class that follows, receives this same hope. Hope to move forward, and achieve every goal each participant sets for themselves. 


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Discovering New Opportunities

The holiday season is the most wonderful time of the year to discover new opportunities.

StepUp’s Employment Team brings job opportunities to its participants through almost 200 employer partnerships within the community. We want to take the guess work out of job seeking by not only providing career development soft skills, interviewing techniques, resume writing, and workplace etiquette, but also providing available job leads too.

When participants attend our ENER-G Workshop they get introduced to employers like Headway Hospitality looking to hire from us. We love watching as participants discover new opportunities.

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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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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
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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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