Washington Area Women's Foundation

Hiring staff from job training programs has proven a good investment for my local retail stores.

As a small local retailer, I have found myself always looking for alternative sources for qualified employees. Turnover in the retail field can be high, so finding committed, long-term employees especially is a constant concern for my managers.

We currently have more than 80 team members and as our needs grow, so do our expectations for our staff.

Traditional “Help Wanted” ads, such as those in the Washington Post or other newspapers, can be very pricey.  They also target a much broader audience in some sense. We, for example, look for District residents, so we like narrowing our field.

Several years ago, we stumbled upon a source that has helped us tremendously and led us to seek out other such organizations to augment our usual search methods.

Jubilee Jobs has a mission "to prepare men and women to re-enter the workforce and connect with marketplace jobs.”  Their clients may have been out of the workforce for a variety of reasons, including incarceration or drug or alcohol rehabilitation, or they may simply want help in their job search. 

Whatever the reason, Jubilee offers training, support and guidance for its job seekers.

Now that we have found Jubilee, my managers are comfortable sending them descriptions of the positions we are trying to fill and know the resumes they receive back are from candidates with an extra layer of training and support behind them.

Having a network of sources to call upon when you need to hire someone quickly is invaluable. I have also found that people reentering the workforce, regardless of the reason, are extremely willing to work, stay at a job longer, and truly respect the second chance they’ve been given.

I’d be lying if I said we never “lost” a few – a few have gone back into jail and several back to rehab, but these experiences have served to strengthen the teams that I do have – and have frankly made my managers even better at what they do.

I would encourage anyone considering looking for alternative sources for employees to strongly consider an organization like Jubilee Jobs. I am also happy to speak to you in more detail about it.

Gina Schaefer is the owner of "a few cool hardware stores," which are part of the Ace Hardware Cooperative.

Jubilee Jobs is a Grantee Partner of The Women’s Foundation.  Gina serves on their corporate advisory board.

For more information about other organizations throughout our region providing job training programs, visit our directory of Grantee Partners.