HOPE Ministries works to bring hope to low-income employees 

    BREC had a problem with its workforce: Low morale and high employee turnover were affecting job performance and customer service throughout the parish parks and recreation system.

    So in 2018, the agency brought in HOPE Ministries to help. The local nonprofit organization offers a workforce training program called The Way to Work, which teaches the kind of valuable life skills that employees, many of whom have been raised in intergenerational poverty, need to succeed on the job.

    HOPE facilitators held several on-site training classes at BREC headquarters for some 80 field employees. The results were so promising, BREC hired HOPE again in 2019 to conduct more trainings. In addition, HOPE facilitators began providing coaching services to BREC employees, which BREC Training Director Nicole Payne-Jack likens to a sort of informal employee assistance program.

    Though BREC doesn’t have any hard data yet to back up its positive assessment of the program, agency officials say anecdotal evidence indicates The Way to Work is making a difference in both turnover and employee attitudes.

    “Retention is headed in the right direction,” says Payne-Jack. “Only one employee who went through the program last year is no longer with us, which is a big improvement, and the employees are really getting a lot out of it.”

    BREC is just one of several paying clients HOPE has attracted with The Way to Work. Others include Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center, AmeriHealth Caritas, and Cristo Rey School. And this summer, HOPE is expanding into the Mississippi Delta, where it will bring its training curriculum to veterans employed at new e-waste facility that disposes of old computers.

    It’s an impressive undertaking for a faith-based organization that began with a food pantry for the neighborhood and a couple of mentoring programs for underserved residents in the 70805 ZIP code. Read the full story about HOPE, as featured in the latest issue of Business Report. Send comments to editor@businessreport.com.  

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