Career Skills Taught through the Bible
by Shannon Roberts
Starting this September, Baton Rouge area ladies will have the chance to acquire valuable work skills and receive professional, godly guidance that will benefit them as they search for steady employment. Unemployed and underemployed women can receive instruction from volunteers with the Christian Women’s Job Corps (CWJC), an outreach ministry with the Eastern Louisiana Baptist Association. Classes will begin Tuesday, Sept. 12, and continue for 10 weeks on Tuesdays and Thursdays at Judson Baptist Church, 32470 Walker Road North in Walker, La.
The students will learn how to format a resume, operate computer programs and manage money. They will also learn job interview skills, including how to dress professionally and act confidently.
Participants should apply and register by Sept. 1 and attend a mandatory orientation Sept. 8 at Walker Baptist Church. Interested adult women can apply for the classes by calling the ELBA office at (225) 664-9309.
CWJC is a national ministry offered in 25 states, with several locations in Louisiana. The ministry is brand new in the Baton Rouge area. Bobbie Shaffett, site coordinator, helped get the ministry started locally last fall. Previously, she has served as a CWJC volunteer in Starkville, Miss., teaching financial skills to 10 graduating classes as well as mentoring the students.
“CWJC is definitely the Lord’s work!” Shaffett said. “It is amazing to watch what He is doing. We just try to keep up with Him as He sets every detail and volunteer in place. Littledid we know what would happen as we planned for our first semester last fall before the flood, but the Lord sent us two ideal [students].”
Lisa Hidalgo, a hair stylist and member of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, was one of the students who graduated at the end of the course. She decided to attend the classes specifically to improve her interview skills after seeing CWJC advertised in her church bulletin. Hidalgo also said she was looking for doors of opportunity to open in her career through networking. Hidalgo contributed to the program by showing volunteers and classmate Yvonne Smith how to style hair for job interviews.
Hidalgo said she received not only career skills, but also a chance to see God’s Word in a new way through Bible study. “I just received a deeper connection with the Biblical liturgy we were going over,” she said. “There were eye-opening moments for me.”
The group started in the book of Genesis, studying Abraham’s calling, and went through the God-appointed tasks for the 12 tribes of Israel. Five volunteer teachers took part in CWJC in 2016, conducting Bible study and teaching important life skills, career education and computer classes each week.
Volunteers interested in making a difference in the lives of these women are needed immediately to begin training for the fall semester of CWJC. A mandatory volunteer training session is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 9, at 9 a.m. at 32470 Walker Road North, next to Judson Baptist Church. Volunteers must register in advance.
Opportunities to assist in this ministry include teaching, mentoring and fixing lunches for each session. Mentors, or Christian Friends, will form one-on-one partnerships with students and be available for prayer and encouragement.
“Relationships formed among students, mentors and teachers are always some of the most valuable outcomes of the program,” Shaffett said. Hidalgo said she had the opportunity to meet “wonderful women.”
“They put their heart and souls into what they are doing,” she said. “They never give up on you.” Hidalgo encourages other women to try the program. “If you want a life-changing experience, this is what you need to do,” she said.
For more information about the program or to register, call (225) 664-9309 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Shannon is a Denham Springs native who has been writing since before she knew how words were put together. A 2015 graduate of LSU’s Manship School of Mass Communication, Shannon has worked as both a reporter and freelance writer for a number of publications and newspapers. When she’s not writing she enjoys thinking about the future, reading, and spending time with her rescue pup, Mocha.