'Who You Hire Matters': StepUp Durham Appeals to DCIA

By Dawn Baumgartner Vaughan / The Herald Sun

Durham, NC, Dec. 14, 2016

StepUp Durham appealed to Durham Congregations In Action at DCIA’s monthly meeting held Tuesday at Shepherd’s House United Methodist Church.

StepUp, which started in Raleigh, is up and running in Durham and provides job training, employment placement and support for those who are seeking stable employment.

Founded in 1988 at White Memorial Presbyterian Church in Raleigh as a housing program, it became a job placement program in 2004. Rev. Spencer Bradford, executive director of DCIA, said he was excited when StepUp opened an office in Durham.

Erin Roesch of StepUp, who is also a UMC deacon who works at City Well Church in Durham, said that who you hire matters.

“It matters to God and it matters to the community. And it should matter to you,” Roesch told DCIA members of dozens of congregations that form the collaborative organization. Roesch gave DCIA an overview of how StepUp works -- a weeklong job training followed by help obtaining employment and supportive coaching to help them maintain stable employment. She said the job training is about compassion accountability for those in the training, which also includes mock interviews, workplace conflict resolution scenarios and a new suit.

“You need to be teachable, honest and reliable,” Roesch said.

Rob Kinney went through StepUp training after he was sent by his pastor at Trinity Avenue Presbyterian Church. Kinney said that he had been despondent about finding a job but realized StepUp could help him tell his story with confidence. Even so, after finishing the job training he was skeptical, Kinney said. But he got a job at Umstead Hotel and Spa. He said after seven months there he sees it as a career, not just a job.

“Ninety percent is suit up and show up,” Kinney said. He said it won’t work everytime, but is worth trying.

Roesch said that StepUp is weaning off seed funding and seeking funding from private donations and joint grants with Urban Ministries of Durham.

Also during DCIA’s meeting, President Joy Mickle presented three nominees for the DCIA board who will be installed at its annual meeting in January. Board nominees are Rev. Michael Page of Antioch Baptist Church, Rev. Xolani Kacela of Eno River Unitarian Universalist Fellowship and Imam Abdul Waheed of the W. Deen Mumammed Islamic Center.

DCIA’s annual banquet meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. Jan. 24 at Trinity Avenue Presbyterian Church, 927 W. Trinity Ave. The theme will be “Welcoming Refugees and Immigrants,” and speakers will include Wildin Acosta, the Durham high school student who had been dealing with immigration issues.

For more information about DCIA, visit dcia.org.

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