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  • Writer's pictureEmployment Connection

Giving Tools-Day: Employment Connection's Year-End Campaign

Updated: Dec 31, 2021

As part of our Giving Tools-Day year-end campaign, Employment Connection seeks to raise a total of $90,000. These funds will help us support 46 additional clients with our complete set of tools including World of Work soft skills training, needs assessments and counseling, support for housing and transportation, and much more.

We've reached nearly 90% of our goal. With your contribution, we'll be able to help even more St. Louisans with limited opportunities overcome barriers to self-sufficiency, creating a safer and more inclusive community for all.

Terry's Story: Part One

Because you believe our clients have the desire and capacity to achieve self-sufficiency.

“I thank God. I've come a long way.”
Terry, Employment Connection/Cure Violence client

With these words “Terry” brings to life Employment Connection’s motto: Empower, Employ, Inspire. This past October, Terry found himself returned to his native home, St. Louis, with just the clothes on his back. After several years spent in California, helping his mother recover from a series of strokes, Terry hoped “St. Louis would bring a fresh start [for me],” including the opportunity to make things right with a daughter he hadn’t seen in years. Now eighteen, she needed his emotional support.

But first, Terry had to make things right for himself. Homeless and jobless, he reconnected with a childhood friend, JP. A consultant with Employment Connection’s Cure Violence teams, JP is someone Terry says he “ran the streets with” as a youth; someone who knew him at his best, and seen him at his worst. JP immediately provided Terry support by enrolling him in services though Cure Violence. After some “tough but honest discussions about finding focus in life and avoiding distractions this time,” JP also referred Terry to EC’s main office for employment services.

“At 56 years old, I was ready for a change…”

Like so many St. Louisans, Terry has the inherent desire to be self-sufficient, he just needed the right tools to achieve his goal. “At 56 years old, I was ready for a change…” Terry recalls. Living out of cars and cheap hotels since his return to St. Louis, Terry is a former gang member and drug dealer who has experienced significant violence related trauma in his life. He has been both a victim and perpetrator of violence for most of his life. “I’ve spent twenty years off and on in prison, I’ve been shot in the face, I lost a son to gun violence last year, and just recently lost a nephew to poison-laced drugs. I’m tired of living like this,” he stressed, “I want to have a place of my own and to support my daughter.”

Cure Violence: By the Numbers

78 high-risk clients

533 de-escalation sessions

Cure Violence is an internationally successful program that reduces gun violence through public health methods. Employment Connection operates two Cure Violence sites in St. Louis, in Dutchtown and Wells-Goodfellow/Hamilton Heights.


Terry's Story: Part Two

No matter how small, your gift immediately provides tools to a motivated job seeker.

Rod Colvin, Employment Connection Career Specialist

Within days of working with Cure Violence consultant JP, Terry was assigned to a Career Specialist at Employment Connection, Rod Colvin. Rod and the dedicated staff at Employment Connection quickly went to work to help Mr. Terry change his trajectory. Rod enrolled Terry in Employment Connection's award-winning World of Work (WOW) job readiness training program, where he learned valuable tools to manage work and life obstacles while re-entering the workforce full-time. After graduating from WOW, Terry then worked with Rod to design an Individual Employment Plan and polish up his job hunting skills, including resume writing and completing online applications.

Upon also discovering that Terry was homeless, Rod then enlisted the support of Karla Humphrey, Manager of Career Services at Employment Connection, who in turn connected him with our housing department for assistance. Terry was quickly assigned to a Housing Specialist and was approved for security deposit assistance for an apartment through Cares Act and Prevention Assistance funding.

While these multiple wheels were in motion, Terry also received a complimentary heavy coat from Employment Connection's “clothing closet” for the winter and transportation support to get him to and from job interviews. EC staff also helped Mr. Terry provide Christmas gifts for his children through its annual employee run toy drive.

Employment Connection: By the Numbers (2021)

900+ World of Work clients

450 housing assistance clients

World of Work teaches career soft skills including resume writing, interviewing, time management, workplace culture and conduct, and financial management to over 900 clients per year, while our Housing Staff provide housing assistance and eviction prevention services to 450 families per year.


Terry's Story: Part Three

Our tool kit puts people like Terry back to work, every day.

Karla Humphrey, Employment Connection Housing Specialist

Within weeks, Terry was employed with a local factory that packages cheese products and had received the keys to his own apartment for the first time in a long time.

“The people at Employment Connection… they keep me going… I talk to them every day… I feel blessed to be alive.”

The feeling of admiration is mutual. From his Cure Violence mentor JP, to his Career Specialist Rod, to his Housing Specialist Karla Humphrey, staff noticed Terry's motivation, ambition, determination, and follow through. Humphrey states, “One of the reasons we were able to help Mr. Terry with housing so quickly is because he was so motivated and did most of the leg work for finding his apartment on his own, a requirement for the type of funding he was eligible for, and something that often slows other clients down. Mr. Terry's determination not to relapse caused us to move quickly to support him with securing permanent housing.”

This ongoing partnership between Terry and his case management team exemplifies the relationships formed with, and commitment to, every individual Employment Connection assists with removing barriers to employment and self-sufficiency. Mr. Terry plans to refer the daughter he has finally reunited with for services from Employment Connection.

“We are just in this to help… that's what we do.”

For the client who wouldn't take no for an answer and the EC staff who serve him, “Empower, Employ, and Inspire” has become mutual.

Employment Connection By the Numbers*

897 participants in job readiness orientation

222 placed in jobs through our Competitive Employment Program

43.1% retain their initial job placement after 90 days

* 2020 figures


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