Doe Fund Giving Homeless Hope, Contractors Possibilities
The organization’s mission statement is “to provide these individuals with the job skills training, social support services, and the paid employment experience necessary to secure and maintain private sector employment and self-supported housing.”
“I had reservations at first,” admitted Rutigliano. “But everyone is entitled to a second chance. I needed help, and he worked out well.”
The truth be told, he had high praise for the person he hired from the Doe Fund. Unfortunately for Rutigliano, the person recently left for a better position elsewhere.
“He had a better work ethic than anyone I had hired off the street,” he said. “He didn’t have the trade knowledge, but he was willing to learn and work as long as it took, which often included long hours.”
Rutigilano is not ruling out returning
to the Doe Fund to hire another trainable person. Contractors and other business owners report similar success stories.
The Doe Fund’s “Ready, Willing, and Able” (RWA) program is a structured plan that includes teaching participants the importance of the work ethic, being responsible for one’s own self, promoting self-worth, and planning for the future.
“Our biggest selling point is the 12 to 18 month [RWA] program,” said Isabel Ames, coordinator of Vocational Programming. “The participants work for us for a minimum of 10 months at 35 hours per week. They are paid a $6.50 per hour stipend.”
Rutigliano said the Doe Fund staff kept in constant contact with him and were very supportive of their program graduate. “The Doe Fund has an outstanding support staff,” he said.
Ames said that 70% of the support staff is composed of former participants.
Particulars of the RWA program include:
“We hold [graduates] to the same high standards of any other workers,” Ames said. “Once someone finds a job, they can remain with us for one to three months, undergoing random drug testing and working with our counselors.
“If they lose their housing, they can always come back to us. We would never kick them out until they had a stable place to live. And we drug test up to eight months after their hire date.”
The RWA program has expanded to the Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Jersey City, and Philadelphia communities.
Ames said that some of the RWA program graduates have gone into the mechanical trades, but she is trying to put the word out to others that these people are reliable, trainable, and employable.
“I’d like contractors to provide us with information about the industry and what type of training is necessary for them,” she said. “Or, we’d like contractors to hire our graduates as helpers or apprentices. One of our participants went to work for a local plumber.”
Kevin Barrett, general manager of the Turner Construction Co., is pleased with an administrative assistant his company hired from the Jersey City Doe Fund.
“He’s on time. He’s a team player. And he’s doing wonderful work. I couldn’t have asked for more,” said Barrett.
Contractors interested in the Doe Fund can contact Isabel Ames (Isabel@doe.org) or visit the fund’s website (www.doe.org).
Publication date: 03/18/2002