StepUp Durham Offers First Job Training Class

Press Release

Durham, N.C., October 21, 2015 –StepUp Ministry, a local non-profit that has placed over 3,500 people in jobs over the last 26 years, announces the opening of a new local site, StepUp Durham. The new site will offer its first, weeklong job training class on Monday, October 26, 2015.

StepUp Durham opened its doors earlier this October in historic Walltown, where they will coordinate a 32-hour job training class that teaches the skills needed to find and sustain employment. The class, which will be taught in various locations around Durham, is designed specifically for individuals facing barriers to finding employment, such as a criminal background or gaps in employment history.

In addition to employment services, StepUp Durham also focuses on providing free pre-employment screening, training, referral, and support services to employers who hire StepUp participants. After the first year, the organization will add a year-long personal and career development class to employed individuals that teaches valuable skills such as budgeting, financial literary, credit restoration, how to manage emotions, and relational wellness. 

The creation of StepUp Durham followed a replication model based upon community need and interest lead by a local steering committee composed of current job seekers and prominent members of the Durham community. The committee’s primary focus has been on the strategy and process of bringing StepUp Durham into fruition and ensuring that those most affected by unemployment remain actively involved in the organizations development. 

Syretta Hill, StepUp Durham’s Executive Director says, “The Durham community has been welcoming. Already we sense a willingness to partner and collaborate with local groups. Durham understands that unemployment is a significant challenge and no one organization can serve everyone. We are grateful for people who are willing to work together to have the greatest impact. StepUp Durham will be a ray of hope for so many individuals.”

With a four full-time staff and three part-time staff, StepUp Durham estimates placing 150 people in jobs within the first year of operation.

Syretta Hill heads up StepUp Durham as the Executive Director, along with Erin Roesch as Director of Development and Employer Recruitment, Tim Wollin as Employment Manager, Baqir Mujahid as Employment Counselor and Juan Nelson as Employment Counselor. 

Members of the local steering committee include: Elizabeth Adams, Derrick Beasley, Dorian Bolden, Edward R. Boyd, Jr., Drew Hill, Brandon J. Hudson, William Jackson, Micheline Ridely Malson, Candance A. Rashada Mujahid, Ernest Smith, Camryn Smith, Abdul Waheed, and Rachel White.                               


"StepUp Durham has been a faithful journey where StepUp has learned to be invited to the community not the other way around,” says Steve Swayne, CEO of StepUp North Carolina. “Thanks to the wonderful work of the steering committee, StepUp is excited to partner with Durham in supporting adults and children in their vocational and life challenges. We look forward to partnering with many people, agencies and employers in Durham to make stability a word that all people can achieve.” 

“The Steering Committee has been dedicated to the process of accountability and relationships developing between the Durham Community & StepUp Durham. We have been very focused on both the intentionality behind having the most affected populations being involved in the development and strategy behind StepUp's entry into our community. We also, and more importantly, have focused on the most affected community being at the helm and steering the ship. We not only wanted the participants within the StepUp program to be reflective of this but also the volunteer base, the places and spaces that welcome the StepUp program and the culture and identity of the StepUp community to be reflective of the make-up and rich historical legacy within Durham's African American and increasing Latino communities,” says Camryn Smith, Steering Committee Member.

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