Jackie’s Story: Re-entering the Workforce

After a long illness kept her out of the workforce, Jackie decided she needed to make a change. Because of her criminal background, she knew it would not be easy. She had completed a construction training course and earned her commercial driver’s license. Despite these credentials, she was not getting interviews.

The turning point came when Jackie got an interview at the former Momentum Enterprises, now EMERGE’s social enterprise division. She has been a trainee in our Custom Manufacturing business since June. For Jackie, this job has been transformative.

She says, “This experience has made me confident that I can do a job and work 8 hours every day. Not be late and get it done. For me, it’s a good thing. It’s the best thing so far. After being sick, getting a job and working those forty hours is a big deal. I can help support my family.”

Helping participants to become work-ready is central to our work at EMERGE. After being out of the workforce for months or years, many people are simply out of practice. They are no longer used to the routine of working a shift, being on time, and being accountable to a supervisor. Some companies entirely refuse to hire workers who do not have recent work experience. Now, EMERGE is positioned to help people prepare for private-sector jobs by building 6 – 12 months of work history in one of our enterprises.

Janet Ludden, EMERGE’s new Executive Vice President (formerly President of Momentum Enterprises), says, “People can come off the street and walk into EMERGE and get a job. There is a whole array of options leading to permanent employment. If they are not ready for full-time permanent employment, they can be hired through our social enterprises. The biggest benefit of the merger is helping more people facing significant barriers turn their lives around.”