New Training & Outreach Specialist Will Support Labor Standards Education

Picture of Evelyn OjwangThanks to a grant from the City of Seattle Office of Labor Standards, Millionair Club has added a part-time Training & Outreach Specialist, Evelyn Ojwang, to help support our workers on their path to permanent employment. We asked Evelyn to answer a few questions about what this role will do and how it fits in with our mission – plus, a little bit about herself!

We’re excited to have you on the team at MCC! Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.
I’m from Seattle! I grew up in West Seattle mainly and I am a proud alumna from Washington State University so you already know one of my favorite animals – go Cougs! I often get hang-ups about the rain even though it is a part of the very fabric of Seattle, but I love Seattle summers. I’m hoping we get more than a month of heat this summer season; fingers crossed! As for some of my hobbies, other than spending time with friends and family, I enjoy the arts, and that can vary from a trip to the Seattle Art Museum, catching a live concert at KeyArena, and occasionally going to Alki Beach when the weather is nice.

What do you want people to know about our MCC community?
The MCC community is about rebuilding the dignity of our workers and supporting their needs. Our workers come from a wide variety of backgrounds with very diverse life experiences and I really enjoy getting to know each one of them. From the STEP graduation ceremonies on Fridays, to the impromptu chats with workers joking around with staff, at MCC, everyone here is a face to remember. We work with them each step of the way as they strive to overcome their circumstances. We strive to change lives, we meet our workers where they are and we attend to their needs until their personal goals, as well as our mission, are met.

Tell us about your work and how it fits in with MCC’s employment programs.
I will be serving our community by providing education, training and outreach through activities, events, resources, referrals and other support needed to help workers understand and advocate for their rights. Workshops will be conducted on Wage Theft, Secure Scheduling, Fair Chance Employment and Hotel Employee Health and Safety.

Since I am also responsible for outreach, many of these workshops will be open to other community members not currently enrolled in MCC’s employment program.

These workshops are integrated into MCC’s STEP Program to make sure the Labor Standards requirements are met and also the Millionair Club mission and goals are accomplished. I also help workers with technical assistance in our computer lab, since we offer resources and permits related to job readiness and placement.

What I hope to do is help further motivate our hardworking community members about their rights, while responding to their unique employment and other service needs.

Why is educating our workers about Labor Standards important and how does it fit in to their pathway to permanent employment?
Educating our workers about Labor Standards is important because the demographic of people we serve are disproportionately affected by these issues and also suffer from homelessness and/or face barriers to employment. For example, the Fair Chance Employment Ordinance is a Labor Standard that applies to people with criminal records which impacts some of our worker population. They need to be aware of their rights given their situations. Another reason why Labor Standards education is vital is because our workers, and temporary workers in general, are more at risk for wage theft and other abuses, and may not be served well by conventional news sources relaying information about labor laws. As our workers transition into permanent employment they will be aware of their rights and confident in asserting them and reporting any violations as needed.

What made you want to pursue this work?
Seattle is a unique city. It’s awesome that the city has the jurisdiction to enforce laws that are separate from the state level that provide enhanced support for historically marginalized communities. I’m aware of the issues that minorities face being a minority myself, and I am passionate about service and the socioeconomic challenges that under-served communities in Seattle face. I believe it starts with rebuilding the self confidence and dignity of people that fall under that umbrella. Knowing one’s rights is a great start to rebuilding the lives of our workers, one job at a time.

A Step Toward Job Readiness: Yvette’s Story

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Note: We are excited to update this post to include that Yvette has been hired on full-time with the Metropolitan Improvement District (MID) here in Seattle! Congratulations, Yvette! 

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, asks 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:

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!

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.

THANK YOU SUPPORTERS – You Contribute to the “Jobs First” Solution to Homelessness for Folks like Reggie

Today on “Giving Tuesday,” all of us a the Millionair Club Charity want to give thanks to our donors, volunteers, and community partners, who help our “jobs first” solution to homelessness stabilize and rebuild the lives of hundreds of men and women each year. Reggie, pictured below, is just one of the 854 people who received services through the MCC’s supportive employment program last year. THANK YOU SUPPORTERS – without you, success stories like Reggie’s would not be possible.

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Reggie @ the MCC

Reggie’s Message

“If you’re a homeless person, and able-bodied, I don’t know why you don’t get down here to the MCC. I can come in here and take a shower, wash clothes.  I can eat.  This place is like, the hand that pulled me up, and made sure that once I was standing, that I had everything I needed to stay up. They got you.  They got you.”

Reggie’s Story

Reggie became homeless after Hurricane Katrina in 2009. Since that time, he and his family relocated from state to state, hoping that eventually they would find a place that provided a living and felt like home.

Unfortunately for Reggie, his travels never brought him to a place of stability. In April of 2016, he came to Seattle, with just a suitcase. “When I came to Seattle, I had lost everything, literally everything.  I was living on the street and had no resources.  It was the first time I really, really needed help as an adult person.  And I kept thinking, what is it going to take to get me back on my feet?” 

Reggie found a place to sleep in a mission, so that solved that problem. But what Reggie really wanted to do, was find a job.  He was told to try the Millionair Club Charity.

“I didn’t have the clothes or shoes to work at a proper job. Miss Olivia and Miss Lily at the MCC helped me so much.  I mean, they didn’t know me from a can of beans, but they just helped me.  It’s not just a job to them – here it’s personal.  And there’s a whole team that shows up for me.”

With his work clothes and Food Handler’s card provided by the MCC, Reggie went to work at Century Link stadium. He tried different kinds of jobs – cleaning streets for the Metropolitan Improvement District, and light industrial work at iClick Industries – then found a permanent job as a kitchen manager at the Underground Tour office.  But there were still some things that were holding Reggie back from success.

“Living at the mission, I had to carry around my bags with me all day. I was so embarrassed to have to bring my bags to work.  But there were all these lockers lining the walls at the MCC.  I said, who are they for?  They said, they’re for workers like you. This doesn’t sound like a big thing, but considering the situation I was in, it was gigantic.”

Reggie also remembers that it was really hard to work six days a week while sleeping at the mission. The MCC’s employment program told Reggie he could move in to the rooms at the Kasota apartments, but Reggie worried that he didn’t have enough money saved to pay a deposit on the rent. Then he was told that the first month’s rent would be taken care of by the MCC.  “My room might be small.  I might be able to sit in the middle and touch both walls of my apartment with my hands outstretched.  But these are MY walls.  Being in my own room is like removing an elephant that was jumping on me every time I tried to get up.  I feel normal here.  I feel like a normal person.  When Angele gave me that key to my room, I was like WOW, these are my walls.”

 

 

 

B-eautiful October Jobs Report

Millionair Club Charity Mission: provide people who are homeless or have little or no resources, with the supportive employment program services they need, to become job-ready, get out to work, and help rebuild their lives.

From Bellevue’s BJ’s Brewhouse to Beach Clubs, October was a B-eautiful month for MCC workers.  In fact, 447 workers went out on 1,610 job assignments for 98 employers.

Permanent placements were achieved by 24 men and women. Congratulations to Eber E, Christopher P, Benjamin P, John M, Mahal R, Anthony R, Spencer C, Ayse C, Jessica L, Lionel G, Richard G, Sabrina M, Marcus H, Terence G, Rasitlin S, Stephan S, Harold W, Jesus D, Kevin C, Jay V, Lionel G, Jessica L, Richard G.

A shout out to BJ’s Brewhouse in Bellevue, for hiring 12 men and women at their restaurant.

We are so grateful to October’s top employers for all the opportunity they are giving to Seattle’s neediest people. the top five employers in October were:  Delaware North Corporation at Century Link Stadium, 376 workers for 10,632 hours; iClick Industries hired 34 workers for 3,040 hours; Centerplate at Safeco Field hired 80 workers for 1,298 hours; the Metropolitan Improvement District hired 14 workers for 1,104 hours; and Microsoft’s Eventions Team hired 23 workers for 490 hours.

Here is a photo of Lyle working at iClick Industries last month.

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Special October employers that deserve mention are:  Mercer Island Beach Club – 26 workers; Mercer Island Country Club – 21 workers.  Led by the Director of Event Employment Ian Downs and his associate Ramy, these workers had the tricky job of manipulating huge canopies to cover the country club swimming pools for the winter.  It calls for very good listening and team work skills, to maneuver the big pool canopies successfully.

Hire a worker today by phoning 206-728-5627 or order online at millionairclub.org

AMAZING AUGUST for Workers

annie-b-stills-68-portrait-alleyAugust 2016 Employment Program Highlights

The Millionair Club Charity’s supportive employment program has everything people with little or no resources need to become job ready and connect with work through our temporary staffing agency: meals, showers, laundry service, occupational licensing, work clothes, safety equipment and access to housing.

  413 workers received paychecks in August, with an average of 38 hours for the month. 

 Workers who obtained permanent placement: Fifteen!***  Aaron, Libby, Christopher, John, Dion, Reginald, Lavarna, James, John, Mike, Juliet, Anthony, John, James, Aratha

***Did you know that community taxpayers save up to $40,000 per year for every person who gets permanent work?  Fifteen workers with permanent jobs represent an annual savings of $600,000 !

Top Ten employers (by days of work)

Customer Sum of Hours
Delaware North Sportservice 8299.84
(Century Link Stadium)
Centerplate 3174.12
(Safeco Field Stadium)
Jobs Connect/Metropolitan 824.5
Improvement District

iClick Industries

748
Bellwether Housing 552.5

 

Permits and Licensing
  • Food handler’s cards = 135
  • Mandatory Alcohol Server Training = 6

IT’S EASY TO HIRE A WORKER AT millionairclub.org or by calling 206-728-5627.

SHINING a SPOTLIGHT on Employment Success: Sponsors of Chef Showcase

Sponsors of Chef Showcase believe in helping the men and women of Seattle who are homeless or face other barriers to employment, connect with job opportunities and rebuild their lives.  THANK YOU SPONSORS:  you make the Employment Awards at Chef Showcase possible.

GOLD LEVEL SPONSORS

TURNER CONSTRUCTION is honored to support the mission of the Millionair Club Chairity as they continue to rebuild the lives of men and women in our community.  As the nation’s largest general contractor, we understand the importance of providing opportunities and supporting the communities in which we live and work. Our responsibilities go beyond the business of ‘bricks and mortar.’  Together, with the Millionair Club Charity, we will build a better future for everyone in the Pacific Northwest.”  ~ Chris Killian, General Manager, Turner Construction Company

“CLARION PARTNERS supports a culture of employee involvement in the community and helps facilitate this through both workplace giving and volunteering programs.  The mission of the Millionair Club Charity — to provide jobs and serves to the homeless and unemployed — fits the social responsibility goals of Clarion Partners.  We are pleased to play out small part in this effort. ”  ~ Stephan Latimer, Managing Director, Clarion Partners

PARATEX PEST CONTROL  “As a board member at the Millionair Club Charity for over 40 years, I have seen first hand how a job can help rebuild a life — over and over again.  It’s a joy to sponsor Chef Showcase so others can meet the employers, workers, and community partners, who make the supportive employment program at the MCC a life-changer for so many.  I also appreciate that the MCC is largely funded by private donations instead of government, and that there is no religious requirement for help.  The MCC also encourages individuals to work instead of just receiving a handout. ~ Jim Osborne, Owner, Paratex Pest Control

SCHUSTER FOUNDATION & HOLLY GARDNER“The Millionair Club Charity’s Chef Showcase event is the culminating celebration of what sets this organization apart — employment.  Schuster foundation is proud ot participate in the recognition of the outstanding employers, employees, and community partners that are a part of this great organization.” ~ Holly Gardner, Vice President, The Schuster Group

SILVER LEVEL SPONSORS

HARBORSTONE CREDIT UNION

VIVJA PATEL & ASSOCIATES/MADISON AVENUE REALTY

RGP

SOUND BUSINESS FORMS

BRONZE LEVEL SPONSOR

BENEFICIAL STATE BANK

EVENT INFO

We would be honored if you joined us in the employment program celebration at Chef Showcase.  Four superb Seattle eateries are each preparing two delectable small plates of food, which are paired with wine tastes from Alexandria Nicole Cellars.  Dessert is icy and delicious Seattle Sorbets.  The event is Thursday, September 29, from 6:pm to 8:pm, at 415 Westlake in South Lake Union.  Tickets are $50 individual; $90 couple; $100 V.I.P. entry, which gives you a gift bag and unlimited wine tastes.  Buy tickets online HERE or phone Alice at 206-957-3846.  Hope to see you there!

 

 

Rebuilding Lives with a Staffing Specialty: Events

rock music concert

Whether it’s a Guns and Roses music concert that requires hundreds of workers to staff arena concessions or a small summer soiree for which you need help with set up and take down, events big and small have become a specialty for Millionair Club Charity workers.

In fact, from July 2015 through June 2016, 854 workers were sent out on 14,364 days of work.  Over 70% of those work assignments came from events at Century Link Stadium, Safeco Stadium, and catering assignments for the Compass Group.

Workers in the supportive employment program at the MCC can get financial assistance in order to obtain Food Handler’s Permits and Mandatory Alcohol Server Training licenses.   This small $30 investment makes them eligible for a huge range of jobs in the food industry.  The money earned at these jobs provides vital supplementary income and often a “foot in the door” to a permanent career.

For example, in July 2016, Centerplate at Safeco Stadium hired ten MCC workers for long term assignments.  Workers like Arthur Valenzuela, who after several successful assignments at the concessions for Sounders soccer games, was hired as a cook for events at Century Link stadium and also obtained a job at Beecher’s Cheese in the Pike Place Market.  Now that Arthur is working consistently, he is no longer homeless, and can afford to pay rent for his own room at the MCC’s Kasota apartments.

Find out how you can help rebuild a life by hiring MCC workers for your event by calling 206-728-5627

Bo’s Story: “Living, not just Surviving”

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It was the last place Bo wanted to be: panhandling with a sign that said “anything helps” and living in a homeless shelter.  But a devastating divorce had left him almost penniless and to move forward from this low point in his life he needed help.  

Bo found the help he needed at the Millionair Club Charity. “I am so grateful they saw me for what I really was – a homeless person who was also a worker that wanted to succeed.”

 “When you enroll in their employment program,” continued Bo, “they give you everything you need:  breakfast, shower, laundry,  bus tickets.”   And after three weeks, Bo’s good work ethic was rewarded.  Bo was offered a full time job as a Street Cleaning Ambassador at the Metropolitan Improvement District.   His new income enabled Bo to rent a room at the Millionair Club Charity’s Kasota apartments so he could move out of the homeless shelter.

“Living in a shelter surrounds you with drugs, violence and chaos,” points out Bo. “Now thanks to my room at the Kasota apartments, I can close my door and sleep without interruption.  I am applying to be a green machine operator and saving my money.  I am living, instead of just surviving.” 

Thank you  to all our community partners:  You help ensure that the Millionair Club Charity’s supportive employment program can help hundreds of men and women like Bo rebuild their life.

SHOWERS OF GENEROSITY

THERE WAS A SHOWER OF GENEROSITY TODAY, when a $10,000 check was presented by Carol Nelson, Seattle Market President for KeyBank, to MCC Executive Director Jim Miller in the MCC’s new Shower and Laundry Center. 

The check was the second payment on a $20,000 grant awarded to the MCC to pay for an electrical upgrade of the Millionair Club Charity’s Belltown headquarters.  The increased electrical capacity enabled the MCC to QUINTUPLE the amount of washers and dryers we can utilize for washing our workers’ clothes so that they can be ready for work.

We are thankful for the partnership of KeyBank with our mission.  Key Bank employees are loyal volunteers at the MCC – cleaning our transitional housing units at the Kasota Apartments just last spring.

 Did you know that laundry is our worker’s #1 out-of-pocket expense?