Church & partners hold job fair helping people overcome barriers to employment

DETROIT (WXYZ) - WXYZ’s Detroit 2020 initiative aims to help Detroit succeed by highlighting those making a difference. On Thursday people teamed up for an event that aims to transform the city, by giving people opportunity. 

Their goal is to remove the barriers that are keeping so many people from getting life-changing job opportunities. 

The Construction Trades Resource Fair took place at the Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church.  The church worked with UAW-Ford and Henry Ford College to offer not just a job fair, but a comprehensive training and resource program designed to prepare Detroit job seeking residents for career opportunities in construction trades. 

If you drive through the city of Detroit, you will see construction projects creating thousands of jobs.  City leaders wanted to make sure those projects gave Detroiters opportunities.  They passed an ordinance that requires that 51% of workers on large projects are Detroiters.  Still many people who want to work can’t get these opportunities. 

“A lot of time the people who want to have access and take advantage of opportunities have things that have happened in their lives that have created barriers,” said Pastor Nathan Johnson of the Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church.

“I am just trying to change. I am not trying to be a statistic,” said Antonio Beck, an attendee of the event. 

Beck says he has a felony record. It was non-violent, but it follows him.  This event connected him with employers open to considering felons for jobs and also offered attorneys who can help with criminal record expungement.  Beck met with representatives from several commercial trucking companies he hopes will give him an opportunity. 

“There is nothing good out here on the streets of Detroit. I just want to be a better person and have a positive effect on my little brother,” said Beck

The event also provided help overcoming addiction and poverty. 

“We have wrap around services. If you don’t have the resources to get clothing, we have a partner you can go to and get clothing. So anything that prevents you from being successful when you are getting and showing up to your job,” said Casandra Shortridge, International Representative for UAW-Ford. 

 The charity Jackets for Jobs was there for people who needed help getting proper attire for work and job interviews. 

“There are people who want to work and just need help navigating the journey,” said Pastor Johnson.

The church has created the TMBC Coalition, a collaborative of trade unions, business owners, colleges, corporations and community based organizations to work to help those seeking to enter the workforce.  

For more information, visit http://tmbcdetroit.org.

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