One major goal for every Mission Academy student is to engage job training and placement, and ultimately to find meaningful, stable work.
This is foundational to a holistic recovery program because it enables people experiencing homelessness to create lasting change in their lives, rather than just finding temporary solutions.
Our Mission Academy residential program gives students the tools and resources they need to secure steady income, long term housing, and the ability to meet other practical needs. Through job training, students have an opportunity to rediscover their self-esteem and inherent value.
Within 2 weeks of entering the program, each person is assigned a job within the Mission. This not only serves their recovery, but also sets them up for success after they complete the program. “We want them to feel empowered,” says Emily Sutton, Job Training Coordinator, “What they do here, they’re getting into that mindset of, ‘I get to go back to work.’ ”
The job training program is robust, person-centered and meets each student exactly where they are at in their journey.
Students also have access to a variety of educational resources – all offered to them for free through community partnerships. This includes life-skills training in topics such as: healthy communication, conflict resolution, stress management, time management and financial literacy. Students have the option to pursue formal education through local community colleges, trade schools and certificate programs as well.
As a Job Training Coordinator, Emily also helps each student to get connected with internship opportunities, both within the Rescue Mission and in the community at large. Participating in internships is an amazing opportunity for students to get on-the-job training, employment references, and to begin saving money for life after the Mission.
Whether it’s in preparation for an internship or a formal interview, Emily and other program staff also support students in all aspects of interview prep. This includes conducting resume workshops and mock interviews, helping students to acquire business attire and making sure students have reliable transportation to and from interviews.
Job training is tailored to each student and the goals they set for themselves. Emily has some students who get so excited about this process that they regularly share updates. “There was a student who came in my first week of working in this role, and he was in my office every single day that week, saying ‘I want this to happen, and I want this to happen, and I want this to happen’ – and it was his first week.” Emily describes this as a huge point of pride, saying, “the smallest accomplishment goes the longest way and it’s really about that climb and helping them reach their mountaintop.”
The job training program is not only a point of pride for Emily Sutton, but for the San Diego Rescue Mission as a whole.
God’s redemptive work is happening every day through the amazing community partners, volunteers and donors who support Mission Academy students in pursuing their dreams.