WAYNESBORO, GA – (The True Citizen)
Two local ladies have joined forces to tackle a big issue in Burke County: career readiness. Through Burke&Beyond (B&B), MeShae’ Prophet and Natalie Herrington hope to not only train and prepare Burke Countians for the workforce, but to help them find the jobs they need through a personalized mentoring program.
This Saturday, June 8, will mark the kickoff of the initiative, which is a free 12-week program geared toward residents of Burke County, 17 years old and above, who need help to find what suits them in the job market. The kickoff will take place at Cornerstone Christian Center Church, located at 710 Stone Ave., in Waynesboro, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and includes breakfast (8-8:45 a.m.) and lunch.
“We aren’t promising participants that we know everything, but we know the value of relationships, shared resources and most of all exposure,” says Prophet, a native of Burke who now resides in Los Angeles, Calif., but will be traveling home for the event. “We want everyone in our community to flourish. Our strategy is to perfect its implementation at home first and then assist surrounding communities.”
The voluntary program will consist of quarterly in-person sessions that cover a wide variety of topics, from resume writing to job searching in the digital economy. Additionally, those enrolled in the program will be paired with professionals who have taken similar career paths and share interests; they will serve as mentors and may work with participants more frequently via email, text, etc.
Herrington said the idea for this program was birthed from a discussion about teaching others how to utilize social media to attain a career. “The discussion grew from there, and of course we wanted to offer it here because Burke County will always be home. The program is designed for adults who seek to transition into another career, are new professionals seeking a career and returning citizens.” She went on to explain that State Transition Coordinator Reginald Cofer is one of B&B’s community partners who will be attending the kickoff. “His job is to deter returning citizens from re-offending within three years of being released from prison. Currently, we are put- ting together a list of companies in the CSRA who hire convicted felons.”
“We are not trying to re-invent what other organizations may be doing,” she added. “We want to introduce our program participants to these organizations, so they can take advantage of the services being offered.”
Prophet said their hope is that knowledge will prove powerful for participants. “We are going to help people by teaching them proven techniques to secure rewarding careers. We are active in the community. We have community partnerships with organizations that have already done what we’re looking to do. In addition to the connections, we have lived experiences. We’ve missed opportunities, and we’ve also made our share of mistakes. We want to prevent others from doing the same.”
The Burke County Sheriff’s Office will be providing breakfast and will be available to speak to participants who are interested in pursuing a career in law enforcement. Other partnerships include:
• Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD) and the Community Service Board of Middle Georgia, who provide treatment and support services to people with mental health challenges and substance use disorders and assists individuals who live with intellectual and developmental disabilities
• Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation, which helps people with disabilities to become fully productive members of society by achieving independence and meaningful employment
• Georgia Department of Community Supervision, who works with parolees and probations to find jobs
• Several entrepreneurs from clothing and medical to logistics and academia.
This story first appeared in The True Citizen.