By Frances Weller | January 21, 2021 at 2:34 PM EST – Updated January 21 at 7:32 PM
WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – StepUp Wilmington is a non profit organization that finds jobs for people in the Wilmington area. Graduates of the program share their stories in a video produced by StepUp Wilmington.
“The reality in this community—and this was before the pandemic—is that in Wilmington alone you had a poverty rate of 23%. That means a family of four has an income of less than $25,000 a year. We are not okay with that.”
Will Rikard, executive director of StepUp Wilmington says the organization typically sees around 400 people every year. Last year they found jobs for over 200 of those clients.
He expects those numbers to grow past the pandemic.
“I think the need will grow and only increase as we get out of this pandemic and people feel some security in getting back to work. Also, as people get closer to that, when benefits begin to expire”
The organization has been around for 17 years. Originally it was phoenix employment ministry then phoenix hometown hires.
StepUp Wilmington depends on donations and volunteers.
“Our budget is about a million dollars a year. We employ 13 staff. That staff is crucial to doing the work to get people back to work. We also rely heavily on volunteers that do training. We have a very highly skilled set of volunteers that do a majority of our training. People who are trained in HR (Human Resources), business practices , how to sell yourself , support, counseling, all those things, so we can use a lot of volunteers to work with the hundreds of people we see every year.”
Rikard says like everything else, most of the meetings they have with clients are done virtually. If you’re looking for a job, you can go to their website and fill out a form.
He says anyone who is serious about finding a job will get one.
We tell this to people on day one. 100 percent of people who are committed to working hard and working hand-in-hand with us, side-by-side with us, will get a job. That’s the reality.”
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