"Step2" is Coming!

By Tim Wollin, StepUp Durham Employment Director

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Thank you all for your wonderful and generous support of StepUp Durham over the course of our initial 18 months! Since opening in October 2015, we have seen 70 adults and 24 youth obtain employment! The average wage of those people has been $10.59, with employment positions occurring across 78 different employers! We are so grateful and excited to be part of the journey with the courageous, resilient, and talented folks who come through StepUp Durham. Feel free to check out some StepUp alumni success stories and read more about the great things our grads are doing.

As a continuation of the impressive work being accomplished by the participants of StepUp’s Employment Program, we are excited to announce that we will be kicking off the next phase of StepUp Durham programming this April. We are launching this program because, while there is much to be celebrated with all the successes of 70 people obtaining employment, we’re also keenly aware that “getting a job” is just the start or continuation of the great things that StepUp participants want to do. Many working StepUp adults have goals they would like to accomplish like repairing credit, saving for a car, finding safer and more affordable housing, and more.

We also know that StepUp graduates are more likely to succeed on the job when they engage in committed, sustained, and supportive relationships with other working families and StepUp staff. Research from StepUp Ministry in Raleigh suggests that 90% of participants who have this kind of support retain employment for six months or more—a remarkable retention rate, given the unique challenges that many StepUp participants experience. 

Our emerging post-employment program, called “Step2,” aims to be a strong next step for participants who have completed our Employment Workshop and are working at least 30 hours per week.

Step2 is a nine-month, three-phase program focused on supporting people in developing stability in a myriad of areas in their lives. Phase one will focus on personal development and will engage topics such as goal setting, racial equity awareness, community advocacy, public speaking, stress management, and other skills. Phase two will focus on financial coaching and topics like budgeting, wants versus needs, how to build and rebuild credit, and what it looks like to save for major purchases like a home or a car. Phase three will be focused on career growth. This last phase aims to provide education on different employment industries and skills, as well as how to navigate the landscape to find employment in those industries. Our hope is that by the end of this final phase participants are either in a position that offers benefits and salary sufficient to provide for all their family’s needs or they are on a concrete path towards that type of employment.

StepUp Durham’s vision for Step2 is that it will be a place where people grow and thrive, create and accomplish goals, and build a deeper sense of community, stronger self-awareness, greater financial stability, and clarity for how to obtain the type of job they could call a career.

Thank you for all the support you have shown to StepUp Durham, StepUp Durham participants, and the many community partners who have helped make our first year and a half so successful!

Emerging volunteer opportunities with Step2:

  • Co-partner – Be trained to walk alongside and support a StepUp participant as they set and accomplish their personal, professional, and financial goals 
  • Childcare & homework buddies - Provide supervision and homework help for the children (ages 0-16) of StepUp adults
  • Meal donation - Help StepUp provide a nutritious dinner to the 10 families participating in the Step2 pilot 
  • Instruction - Offer to teach or coach participants on a skill in which you have expertise (i.e. setting S.M.A.R.T. goals, leaning into personality strengths, credit repair, career development, etc.)

Please feel free to contact StepUp Durham’s Employment Director, Tim Wollin (tim.wollin@stepupministry.org), if you have questions or would like details on how to become involved in Step2.