Orange County, Calif., July 24, 2013, 9:18 am -- /EPR NETWORK/ -- Last week, nine previously homeless and unemployed individuals graduated from the Illumination Foundation's Workforce Development Program. The Illumination Foundation is an Orange County-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit that works to better the lives of Orange County's homeless. The recent graduation ceremony marks the third ceremony since the program began last year. Since its inception, The Illumination Foundation's Workforce Development Program has placed 407 individuals in jobs ranging from medical assistant to construction worker.
“We want to help people get off the streets and give them an opportunity to live a civilized and fulfilling life,” said Illumination Foundation Founder and CEO Paul Leon. “Everyone should get a chance to turn their life around. People can change, and my goal is to give people in need the tools needed to make positive changes in their life.”
One recent Workforce Development Program graduate, Jason Neumann, found himself in a difficult situation before being saved by the Illumination Foundation. He had nowhere to live, but was determined to find a job and turn his life around. He was so committed to the Workforce Development Program that he was sleeping outside the classroom. The Program was the only hope Jason had and the teachers and students were like a support group to him. Once they learned of his homeless situation, The Illumination Foundation immediately placed Jason in their permanent housing. Soon after, Jason finished the job readiness training course and, with new resume in hand, landed himself a job in construction.
“I have a new confidence that I did not have before,” Neumann said. “I've turned my life around and am on the path to success.”
The Workforce Development Program takes homeless off the streets, into the classroom, and after a six week job readiness training course, into the working world equipped with necessary job hunting skills. The instructors focus on each individual's personal interests and family needs, with a strong knowledge of Orange County's current job market. For instance, classes are currently held in Anaheim, one of Orange County's most in need communities for job placement.
A minimum wage worker has to work 125 hours per week to afford a one bedroom apartment in Orange County. To give at-risk Orange County community members a chance to live a better life and the ability to support themselves, Illumination Foundation established the Workforce Development Program. The Workforce Development Program is funded by the Orange County Funder's Roundtable, and formed by a collaborative of expert agencies all working toward ending joblessness in Orange County. These expert agencies include The Illumination Foundation, Oak View Renewal Partnership, Second Chance, and Taller San Jose. The program teaches individuals skills to help land a job in today's competitive job market including resume writing skills, mock interviews and self-presentation tips. A large focus is placed on changing the attitudes of the participants, inspiring them to overcome their hardships and strive for a better future.
To learn more about the Workforce Development Program, go to http://www.ifhomeless.org/about-if/services/workforce-development
About the Illumination Foundation
The Illumination Foundation is an Orange County-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to providing targeted, interdisciplinary services for the most vulnerable homeless clients to break or prevent the cycle of homelessness. The Illumination and Foundation pioneered an innovative and cost-effective solution to advance health and housing stability for the chronically homeless community. Illumination Foundation provides free mental health, medical and outreach services to homeless families and individuals at clinics throughout the country. To date, Illumination Foundation's housing programs have served 1,183 families and placed 520 families into permanent housing. Illumination Foundation's medical programs have provided medical and social services to 8,718 patients. For more information, visit www.ifhomeless.org.
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