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!

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? 

 

New Project Increases Outreach to Connect Homeless People to Jobs

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United Way of King County, City of Seattle, Millionair Club Charity and Downtown Seattle Association launch Jobs Connect employment project for homeless individuals

 Public private partnership aims to stabilize the lives of homeless individuals in downtown Seattle by rapidly connecting them to unfilled jobs.

SEATTLE (March 23, 2016) –  United Way of King County CEO Jon Fine, joined by Mayor Ed Murray and representatives from the Millionair Club Charity and the Downtown Seattle Association (DSA)  today launched Jobs Connect, a program which connects people living on the streets in downtown Seattle to work.

“We have people on the street who want to work, jobs going unfulfilled and many generous residents who want to help,” said Jon Fine of United Way of King County.  “Jobs Connect is an effective solution, with the potential to create an upward spiral in someone’s life that can make a real impact. “

With the homelessness state of emergency declared in our region, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray with King County Executive Dow Constantine committed new resources to help meet the immediate needs of people experiencing homelessness with additional outreach, services and shelter.

“As a community we have lifted thousands of people off of the street and prevented tens of thousands more from becoming homeless,” said Fine. “But homelessness is complex and pervasive and this crisis calls for new and innovative ways to get people back on their feet.”

While no single approach can meet needs of all the people living outside, complementary strategies can have a significant impact in moving people from homelessness to stability. Successfully working and being paid for your labor can have an extremely positive effect on a person, particularly in contrast to the isolating experience of life on the streets.

“We must shift the focus to longer-term solutions to homelessness, more than mats on the floor,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “We must talk about opportunity and hope for the future.   I want to thank all the private employers who are making these job opportunities available.  You are giving a precious gift – a brighter tomorrow.”

Economic conditions in our region make this an ideal time to launch the program, as demand for short-term employees is not currently being met. The Millionair Club currently leaves requests for employment unfilled during peak seasons.

Utilizing a mobile strategy, Millionair Club Charity outreach workers are circulating through downtown on foot and in Jobs Connect vans, focused on engaging and enrolling visible individuals.

Supportive services and assistance are provided to eliminate the common barriers that prevent many homeless people from working such as transportation, access to certification, storage of personal items and hygiene facilities.  The connection is rapid, with an assessment and services being delivered on day one, and on-the-job paid training beginning at $12 per hour on the second day.

“People who are living unsheltered find it hard to believe that they’re employable,” points out Millionair Club Charity Executive Director, Jim Miller.  “Their clothes are dirty; they’re cold, hungry, and have a backpack they have to carry around at all times with all their possessions.  Jobs Connect gives us the power to take our message to them where they’re living, bring them back to the Millionair Club Charity, and give them the support they need to be job ready.  It’s an amazingly empowering message for people at their lowest ebb of confidence – and one that will hopefully be the start to getting them into a job and housing.”

At launch, The Metropolitan Improvement District (MID), managed by the Downtown Seattle Association, is the anchor employer for Jobs Connect, offering work with the DSA/MID Clean Team. The clean team patrols the streets of downtown, picking up trash, removing graffiti and pressure-washing sidewalks, among other tasks. The MID identifies how many workers are needed the following day and fills those jobs with Jobs Connect participants.

“The Jobs Connect program allows our DSA/MID Clean Team to cover more ground and keep downtown clean, but there’s also a larger need that’s being met,” said DSA President & CEO Jon Scholes. “This program helps provide a path toward housing and stability to get people on a track that will improve their lives. We’re thrilled to be an anchor employer and to partner with these organizations to address homelessness in our city. The scope of the challenge we face around homelessness requires that we collaborate on new approaches.”

As the program grows to scale, additional downtown employers will be identified who employ workers on an ‘as need basis’ as well as additional employment specialists, outreach workers and Jobs Connect vans.

As the program grows to scale, Jobs Connect is seeking additional anchor employers with ‘as needed’ positions to be filled.

Start-up costs for Jobs Connect have already been raised with an initial investment of $92,000 from the City of Seattle, and an additional $85,800 raised from private philanthropy through United Way of King County. United Way plans to raise an additional $248,300 by July 1, 2016 to significantly expand the program.

Expected first year client contact will number 3,000 individuals with a take up rate of 40 percent.

To learn more about the Jobs Connect program visit www.uwkc.org/ending-homelessness/jobs-connect