Genesis shows 49 percent surge in job placements Nonprofit will mark 12th birthday in Oct.

September 17, 1997|By Ernest F. Imhoff | Ernest F. Imhoff,SUN STAFF

After an off-year in nudging people into employment, Genesis Jobs bounced back and showed a 49 percent increase in job placements last year.

The nonprofit agency in Remington disclosed the upswing as it prepares to celebrate its 12th birthday and the placement of more than 2,500 people in entry-level, nonprofessional jobs since 1985. More than 100 job-holders and supporters are expected to gather at 9 a.m. Oct. 4 at Cross Keys Inn.

Emily C. Thayer, executive director, attributed the rise in the year that ended June 30 in part to the opening of an East Baltimore office. It helped 69 people become factory workers, parking lot attendants, hotel desk clerks or restaurant kitchen helpers.

"We also strengthened our network of companies hiring people we screened," she said. She worked more closely with other nonprofit groups that assist the unemployed, such as literacy and food agencies, increasing the number referred to Genesis Jobs.

She said Genesis, which describes itself as an "honest broker" charging no fees, helped 325 people get entry-level jobs in 1996-1997.

The agency arranged employment for 248 people in 1994-1995 but then dipped to 218 in 1995-1996 before rebounding.

The one-year drop was due to unemployed people reacting to the "discouraging" business climate of company downsizing, said Charles Cottrell, chairman of the all-volunteer steering committee.

"People who haven't had a job for awhile get easily discouraged when they hear about layoffs and other bad news. That's all it takes for them to stop looking for work. Fewer come to us. But we had a great year last year."

A retired senior vice president of First National Bank of Maryland, Cottrell said he "loves" helping people find jobs. "Everyone has a debt to do some kind of public service after retiring, volunteering or for pay."

Thayer said about half of those placed keep a job for at least a year and many longer.

Two-thirds of the jobs are full time and permanent. Some jobs are intended to last less than a year.

The dismantling of the federal welfare system over the next five years means more people will be looking for entry-level jobs, she said, and agencies such as Genesis Jobs will become busier.

Thayer said that for many people on welfare, "looking for a job is a job in itself. It's foreign currency to them."

"To help someone find a job, you have to help them look. It's not an event or program, it's a process. That's what we do here."

The group's 87 volunteers work with 500 companies and 70 religious congregations.

They specialize in interviewing, developing jobs or following up after hires. Five full-time and three part-time staffers handle a budget of $330,000.

The agency began at the church to which Thayer belongs, Episcopal Church of the Guardian Angel, with help from an Episcopal church in New York City. It accepts no government money.

It works with competent job-seekers "as long as it takes" -- as long as they work harder looking than Genesis volunteers do helping them. Once in jobs, volunteers call them once a week for a year to answer questions or solve problems.

People are not recommended to companies unless they are considered good job risks, Thayer said.

Information: 410-235-0231. The main office is at 2629 Huntingdon Ave. The East Baltimore office is at Robinson and Hudson streets.

Pub Date: 9/17/97

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