Helping people find jobs

Published 10:30 am Tuesday, September 27, 2022

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VALLEY — At a recent meeting of the Kiwanis Club of Valley, Kevin Pigg of the Chambers County Circle of Care Center for Families talked about how the Circle is working through the state’s A-RESET program to help people toward having gainful employment.

A-RESET is an acronym for Alabama Resources for Enrichment, Self-Sufficiency & Employment Training. Its purpose is to enable food stamp recipients to become more self-sufficient through participation in a wide variety of job search, training, education and work experience activities. All program participants must be recipients of SNAP benefits who would like to either become employed or find better employment.

“They can graduate from the program, and we can get them a job,” Pigg said. “We try to teach them to work. We try to find out what they are good at and what they are not good at. We put it all together to determine what’s the best job for them that makes the most money, We guarantee them an interview with one of the bigger companies around here.”

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Pigg said that local companies see the need for what A-RESET is doing.

“Every employer I have talked to is willing to interview those who have been in this program,” he said.

The goal is to prepare them to work at jobs that pay between $16 and $18 an hour. 

“They have to make that much for this program to be worth it,” he said.

Pigg said there is a need for a local bus system to help get people to and from work. 

“(Circle Director) Johnathan Herson and I have talked about this,” he said. “We need a public bus route here. We’d like to have bus routes going all over the Valley to the supplier companies and other local businesses.”

Sadly, some people lose out on work opportunities due to the lack of transportation.

“Getting people to work and back is an issue,” Pigg said.

The Circle helps people prepare for job interviews. 

“We coach them to do well,” he said. “We want them to be confident and to get across that they are ready and eager for work. We want them to be patient and to deal with things that could come up on a job. We don’t want them to get mad about something and quit. We want them to dress appropriately for their job and to know the importance of being on time every day and working every day they are scheduled to.”

Lots of jobs are available in Alabama right now. 

“Around 69,000 people are unemployed in Alabama, but there are 127,000 job openings,” Pigg said.

“We need to figure out how to get people employed and to stay with a job,” he said.

People in the A-RESET program learn to budget properly. 

“We teach them how to cope with the cost of living, how much they will be paying in taxes and how much they will need to make to buy a home,” Pigg said. “We have to keep them on track. We try to make contact with them once a week or so.”

People need to know basic skills in budgeting. 

“I find high school kids who don’t know how to write a check,” Pigg said.

A member of the club asked Pigg if the Circle worked with people of different age groups and backgrounds. 

“I think it would blow people’s minds if they knew everything we did,” he said. “We work with everyone from young mothers with babies to the elderly. We have worked with people over several generations. We work with children whose parents came to us.”

Once someone finds the right job, the Circle will follow-up with them for at least 90 days. Retention services may include on-the-job coaching, troubleshooting any issues that arise with the employee or employer and, if possible, to continually remove obstacles to success.