A Step Toward Job Readiness: Yvette’s Story

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Yvette George started off somewhat timid and shy when she first started working with staff at the Millionair Club Charity, but sitting in a room with her now, her energy and enthusiasm is infectious.

Fridays are graduation days at Millionair Club, where workers moving through our STEP program are celebrated for progressing through the four steps of the program: Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum. On Friday May 5, Yvette graduated from Silver to Gold, which means she has developed an achievement plan with an employment specialist, attended safety, soft skills and resume building workshops and is working 60 hours a month.

“I started with nothing and MCC helped me get everything,” Yvette said. “Clothes, shoes, how to communicate and interact with people. I knew some of it but MCC staff helped me get a refresh.”

Pamela Elessa, MCC’s Director of Supportive Employment Services, has worked with Yvette to get her job ready over the past few months.

Seeing Yvette grow and develop her skills through the STEP program has been an “amazing feeling” for Pamela, noting that Yvette did not really speak up in workshops when she first started attending, but now she shares her own life experiences, ask questions and doesn’t shy away from conversation with anyone.

“Yvette needed gentle encouragement and the opportunity to work,” Pamela said. “She worked hard, and didn’t let inclement weather be an excuse. Many of our workers are just like her…they come here to succeed.”

Right now, Yvette is sharing a one-bedroom apartment with her friend who referred her to the Millionair Club, but she’s hopeful that as she interviews for permanent employment she’ll be on the path to getting her own place.

“I have more self-confidence and feel more prepared after learning little things that employers like,” Yvette said.

Congrats to Yvette as she moves through the STEP program – we can’t wait to see what happens next for her!

You can support Millionair Club workers like Yvette in a few ways:

  • Donate to MCC during Seattle Foundation’s GiveBIG: You can pre-schedule your donation now, and your contributions go farther thanks to a generous donor providing $5,000 in matching funds! Help us reach our $25,000 goal: http://bit.ly/MCCgiveBIG
  • Consider contributing your time: Are you able to put on a workshop that will help our workers on the path to permanent employment? Email info@millionairclub.org with your workshop idea.
  • Check out our Amazon Wishlist of current needs: Millionair Club is always in need of work outfits, hygiene kit supplies and other essentials to make sure our workers are well-prepared for their work day.
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/registry/wishlist/?ie=UTF8&cid=A3171FRJHES394

Yvette (right) with Pamela (left) after the STEP graduation on Friday, May 5, 2017.
Yvette received an achievement award recognizing her advancement from Silver to Gold level in the STEP program!

Introducing the Next STEP for our MCC Employment Program

Each year the Millionair Club Charity’s employment program helps over 1,000 men and women who are homeless or living in poverty become “job ready” and connect to employment opportunities. To enhance job readiness, the Millionair Club Charity (MCC) offers a variety of free services to meet the specific needs of people living at low income levels or on the streets. Services to facilitate job readiness include:

  • Meals
  • Showers
  • Laundry
  • Storage Lockers
  • Work Clothes
  • Computer Access
  • And so much more

Once individuals feel ready to work, they can access jobs through our temporary staffing agency, a supportive employment program that is utilized  by over 1,000 employers in the greater Seattle area. In 2016 MCC workers were employed on 15,000 days of work, meeting the staffing needs of our diverse employer base. The ultimate goal is for the MCC worker to find a permanent job with a living wage. In 2016, 232 men and women achieved this goal.

In January 2017, the MCC identified the need to motivate workers in the employment program to obtain additional training that would make them more successful at finding and keeping permanent jobs. This new program is called STEP- Strategy, Training, Employment, and Performance. The STEP program has a four level structure, with each level bringing enhanced status for workers within our employment program hierarchy. STEP uses incentives to motivate workers to attend workshops on a variety of topics designed to enhance their job search and on-the-job performance.

From Bronze to Platinum, each STEP level increases job readiness to improve our clients long term job goals, from a simple safety training in the MCC’s computer lab, all the way to opening up a bank account with the help of MCC staff. Eddie, pictured below, comes to the MCC every morning and gets great feedback from employers. He has now graduated into the Gold level of STEP. Congrats Eddie.

SONY DSCTo date, 17 clients have achieved the Silver level, 12 have achieved Gold, and 3 have accomplished the Platinum level. In all, our MCC job seekers have attended STEP workshops on 158 occasions. 

The MCC staff reports that employers are more eager to hire workers that have achieved levels of competence through trainings, and have earned designations that show those achievements. The MCC staff looks forward to reporting more on STEP, and its impact on permanent employment and job retention success at the end of 2017!

You can benefit a worker like Eddie by hiring through our MCC staffing service, or by donating to help our workers increase job readiness through MCC support services.

The Millionair Club Charity’s supportive employment program is a social enterprise that is a proud subgrantee of the Social Innovation Fund (SIF) and a member of the REDF portfolio. 

Spring Cleaning at the MCC

20170308_113537Spring Cleaning at the Millionair Club Charity: last week, a can-do team of volunteers from Sellen Construction helped us organize our clothing closet. The MCC’s closet  of donated clothing and shoes is a crucial resource for job seekers who are accessing work through the MCC’s employment program.

Our workforce comes in eager to get out on the job, but many of them lack clothing and shoes that meet professional and safety standards for the job site. That’s where the clothing closet comes in, outfitting our workers for job success with items like black slacks and non-slip shoes, both of which are required for food service jobs at CenturyLink stadium and Safeco Field.Work boots, often donated by MCC partner Redwing Shoes, are another job essential, increasing safety for day labor assignments such as moving and yard work.

In 2016, our MCC clothing closet helped 781 workers access job ready attire, and the MCC employment program accomplished 16,258 days of work!

Doing some spring cleaning of your own? You can donate gently used items appropriate for outdoor work or black slacks for events. Please email us or drop by during our office hours, or, reach out online by giving socks, slacks, and shoes through our Amazon Wish List and outfit a job seeker in need.

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The 2015 Millionair Club Charity Annual Report

MCC Annual Report 2015

The Year of Homecoming at the Millionair Club Charity! Explore the report to meet a man named Scott who overcame homelessness and is now permanently employed, tour the MCC’s Kasota Apartment, and chat with one of the MCC’s favorite employers, iClick! Thank you to all of our 2015 Supporters: YOU MADE IT HAPPEN.

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2015 Annual Report: the Year of Homecoming at the Millionair Club Charity

Executive Letter: MCC Director Talks 2016

Dear MCC Supporters,

There were three things I loved to point out to supporters last year: outreach, motivation, and a good hot shower. Yes, thanks to people like you, the Millionair Club Charity saw significant growth in these three areas of our Employment Program and that growth is creating more success stories in the battle to combat homelessness.

lynda-in-front-of-jc-vanAs you might already know, for the past 95 years many folks who wanted to enroll in the MCC’s supportive employment program heard about if from a friend and then came to our building. In 2016, the ability to “bring” the MCC’s message directly to people living on the streets was made possible by a partnership with the United Way of King County, Downtown Seattle Association, and the City of Seattle. The new outreach program is called Jobs Connect.

We purchased a van that could drive around the city to homeless encampments and wherever people were living unsheltered. As you can imagine, folks living outside, who are cold, hungry, and living with little means, can find it impossible to believe that they are employable. The Jobs Connect program is designed exactly for these unsheltered men and women! Our outreach coordinator tells them about the services available for them at the MCC, and then whisks them back to headquarters for a hot meal and a shower. The result? A step toward being job ready. Seattle Mayor Ed Murray even came in-person to the MCC to recognize the project’s significance in the city’s homeless problem; and since last April, over 2,000 people received outreach and over 100 found a permanent job through the program.

On a regional and national stage, you will be very glad to hear that the MCC was chosen by the Social Innovation Fund to be one of twenty-two nonprofit organizations to join the man-washing-dishes-cropped-2REDF Portfolio. The organizations in this portfolio are selected due to the success of their programs for people with barriers to employment. The goal is to provide access to funding and research that will make good programs even better. At the MCC, we are able to use REDF funds to create a new set of employment “motivations” that should result in our clients getting higher wage jobs to sustain them throughout their life. You will hear more about the results of this “STEP” program later in the year.

counter-sinks-laundry-glimpseAnd last but not least, that “good hot shower.” All of you realize the importance of being ability to shower and wash your clothes to get ready for work. But you may not know that in a city that has almost 4,000 unsheltered people, and 6,000 more living in shelters, there are only 7 shower and laundry facilities in the city limits. So with, the help of many donors – especially the Celebrity Waiters Luncheon group – the MCC raised the money to renovate and expand our existing hygiene center and increase its capacity. We opened it to the public last September and since then, new center has doubled the number of people shower and wash their clothes for work every day.

As you know, these three items are just a few of the many services available to folks who are trying to become job ready, connect to work, find a permanent job, and access affordable housing. Remember: it’s your faithful support of the Millionair Club Charity that is helping MORE people every year to escape one of the thorniest problems facing our region – homelessness and poverty.

Sincerely,

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Jim Miller, Executive Director

On Their Own Two Feet: New Clinic Comes to MCC

DID YOU KNOW? Up to 45% of homeless men wear ill-fitting shoes, and 75% of unsheltered men and women are on their feet for at least 5 hours a day!

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Last night, the Millionair Club Charity hosted its very first foot care clinic. The event took place at our Belltown program center were we hit the ground running with an incredible team of volunteers from the Seattle University Nursing program, in partnership  with the Seattle University Executive Leadership Program, and Redeeming Soles. Services and gear provided during the clinic included new socks, new shoes, foot hygiene, and a foot exam.

By the end of the evening, 20 members of the MCC’s Supportive Employment Program had received an individual foot scrub and brief exam. The room was all smiles as our MCC clients enjoyed their foot baths, and afterward, each worker picked out a brand new pair of shoes, with the option of choosing tennis shoes, non-slip black shoes, or work boots.

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One man had hitch-hiked in size 12 shoes from Maine to Seattle. No small feat, considering his true size was 14 wide! As soon as he got his size 14 wide shoes he threw away his old pair with a sigh of relief. He is currently training with Metropolitan Improvement District to become a Street Ambassador (part of the MCC Job’s Connect Program).

We think the Foot Care Clinic is a great way to become job ready. Having proper footwear is a vital foundation for safety on the job. Thanks so much to the donors and volunteers who made this happen! The MCC hopes to make the Foot Care Clinic a monthly event.

ABOUT THE ISSUE: Foot health and the homeless

Foot pain is significantly more common among homeless individuals. For the unsheltered, infections related to poor hygiene are common, but even more common, are problems related to repetitive stress the most common foot concern for people who are unsheltered or experiencing homelessness. Simply put, people without housing walk a lot. According to one study, 74% of respondents stated they were on their feet 5 hours or more each day, walking a median of 5 miles. This daily foot-stress is compounded by the fact that many homeless individuals have ill-fitting shoes. Foot stress can also be worsened by preexisting conditions, such as diabetes, which are prevalent among homeless populations. Sources and More Info.

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Count in a Crisis: Seattle Surveys Homeless and Unsheltered

Quick Take— Every January King County undertakes a survey to estimate the total homeless and unsheltered population in the area. This year the survey takes place in the context of Seattle’s ongoing homelessness crisis. The survey is also being conducted under new leadership, aiming to capture an even broader and more accurate picture of the crisis than ever before.

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Next Friday Seattle organization All Home will conduct King County’s annual effort to measure its homeless population. Seattle residents might be familiar with the name “One Night Count,” but this year the survey will be called “Count Us In.” The 2017 survey has a new name and a new organizer but the effort will fulfill the same federally mandated requirement.

Every January communities across the country organize to perform a requisite survey of homelessness in their areas. These surveys, conducted by local organizations and volunteer teams, are called Point In Time (PIT) counts and they are designed to capture the number of “…sheltered and unsheltered homeless persons on a single night in January.” Because unstably housed populations can’t be counted through regular census techniques (which typically require a home address) the PIT number represents the best estimate for an area’s homeless population in a given year.

In Seattle, these estimates have increased dramatically over the past couple of years, and in 2016 the Mayor declared homelessness to be a citywide crisis. It’s been almost 12 months since the mayor’s pronouncement and the city’s response to the crisis has been mired in conflict. The results of Seattle’s upcoming PIT count will show this city exactly where it stands in relation to the startling 2016 numbers. Not only does this count represent the first official PIT survey of overall homelessness since the crisis was declared, it also marks a shift in community leadership surrounding the process, bringing important changes to the data collection process.

The One Night Count organization has coordinated the Seattle and King County PIT count for 37 years, but in 2017 they pass the torch to All Home, another local organization already working in the sphere of homelessness. This leadership transition, coupled with changes to the federal guidelines, will alter the PIT process in key areas. All Home has released an outline of these changes on their website. New features include a “shift from a ‘known area’ count to a 100% canvass of every census tract in the county,” and “more comprehensive sample-based survey efforts including both shelter/service sites as well as non-service locations.” Such decisions mark an effort to broaden the base of information collected to capture a more accurate (and perhaps more urgent) picture of Seattle’s current homelessness crisis. Simply put: these numbers could be the largest yet.

With All Home finishing preparations, the Seattle community, homeless and housed alike, is waiting for the PIT count to put a number to a crisis experienced by all.

Read More

About PIT Counts

All Home Website

The One Night Count

Seattle Homelessness Crisis

MCC Rate & Wage Changes: 2017

 

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Starting this January (2017) the Millionair club is raising wages for  its workers! The increase is designed to keep pace with Seattle’s new minimum wage requirements, which will roll out citywide over the course of the next three years. 

This is good news for the workers in our supportive employment program who are striving every day to lift themselves off the streets and out of poverty through work experience. 

With the citywide increase in wages, our “Hire-a-Worker” rates will also be slightly raised. Read on for the specifics: 2017 MCC Wage Increase

To learn more about Seattle’s schedule of minimum wage increases, click here.

Grateful for an Opportunity to “better himself.” Read Sam’s Story Here

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Sam in the MCC Computer Lab!

Thank you donors and supporters: you enable the Millionair Club Charity to run a supportive employment program with many services and one convenient location. You help people who are homeless become job ready. People just like Sam…

Sam was homeless when he arrived at the Millionair Club Charity (MCC).  He had tried to find work through other agencies but didn’t have success, until he came to the MCC. What was different?

“The application process is easy. It’s organized, and when they send you out on a job, there’s a schedule,” points out Sam “and they work out a bus route for you that’s always perfect, so you can get to work.  They even give us a lunch to take to work.”

“I got a Food Handler’s card through the MCC, and it’s a blessing. I am able to go out and do the jobs at the stadium concession, and I am having a ball.  There are also lots of day jobs doing like, basic carpentry, furniture moving, which are excellent jobs and I appreciate the chance to do that.”

Three and a half months after enrolling in the MCC’s supportive employment program, Sam was offered a permanent job as a street ambassador with the Metropolitan Improvement District. He accepted it , but then discovered a construction apprentice program at the University of Washington: the PACE program.  If he was accepted, he would make about $23 an hour!

“Seattle is an expensive town. With all my bills, I need a healthy wage to be able to support myself. But the apprentice program makes you go through a boot camp to qualify.  You have to carry bricks, shovel rocks into wheelbarrows, off-load the rocks, lift plywood, and transfer piles of rebar.  Then you have to run a certain distance.

“It’s about responsibility. The PACE program does not want someone who wants to laze around.  They want people to go out for work, do the right thing, and earn a wage where you can provide for yourself. They want to make sure you’ll work hard and be ready for a job when you graduate.  I was accepted and will train for 11 weeks.”

But Sam had a program. He could not afford rent to live anywhere but the shelter where he was sleeping. Sam came back to the MCC to ask for one last piece of support: a place to live. And with Jobs Connect funding, the Millionair Club Charity was able to pay for Sam’s rent at MCC’s own Kasota housing building.

“All this would not be possible without the MCC giving me the opportunity to better myself. Through the MCC I have a place to stay, I can do my laundry for free, and my meals are provided at the place I stay.  I do believe this will help me be a success at school.”

“And I want to pass that on to anyone out there who needs help to work. The MCC is where it’s at for good clothing and work.  In fact, I haven’t heard of any organization out there that’s like them.  Everyone should come to the MCC for help because it’s #1.”

“I want to thank the MCC and the staff at the MCC for giving me the opportunity to make myself better. And none of this would be possible without the donors. I want to thank the donors, for giving me this opportunity. I really appreciate y’all.”

“And when I do graduate I will come back to the MCC and volunteer myself. I want to help out and help others.”

You can help many more people like Sam, who want a “hand up, not a hand out,” by donating to the MCC’s supportive employment program today. Donations of any size are appreciated.  Thank you.