In Shadow of DNC, Jobs Service Provider Faces Unclear Future

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September 12, 2012; Source: WCNC-Charlotte

The week after the Democratic National Convention wrapped up in Charlotte, N.C., the local NBC affiliate is reporting that a long-running nonprofit program serving unemployed people in Charlotte may be struggling to survive, according to board members. Since 1998, Jacob’s Ladder has served as “a compassionate response to the Welfare-to-Work movement and to chronic unemployment” in the area, lending a hand to “men and women who have encountered significant hurdles in their lives” with a four-week program to help them secure employment.

Jacob’s Ladder Executive Director Holly Cummings recently asked the community for urgent support to keep the ship afloat, which resulted in donations that she says total almost $200,000. However, that may not have been enough, as WCNC reports that some board members remain concerned about the organization’s viability amid the lackluster economy and are thus hoping that Jacob’s Ladder will be able to merge with the Urban League of Central Carolinas.

“Our goal is to continue to help those in need, like we do today,” says Jeff Jones, chair of the Jacob’s Ladder board.

There was a lot of talk about jobs at the convention in Charlotte last week, but much less about the just-scraping-by nonprofit service providers that help people hone the skills necessary to find and secure those jobs, like the nearby Jacob’s Ladder. Let’s hope that changes as the election season moves from the platitudes of the conventions to the policy discussions of the debates. –Mike Keefe-Feldman