LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - For the unemployed in Kentuckiana, a sure bet for a career with benefits and excellent pay comes from a new collaboration of groups in town. If you're willing to do the work, they are willing to give you a chance even when others may not give you the time of day or a paycheck for that time.
Service for Peace's Man Up program, Operation Pride, Men Building Men and LIUNA Local 576 are collaborating to build the unions in our area, the city and its workforce. There are jobs waiting for anyone in Kentuckiana willing to work hard and do the job.
"It's about getting the word out. It's about getting the word out and making sure more people know more about what they're doing," explained Paul Washington from Operation Pride.
On every third Saturday of the month the conglomeration of groups holds a mass meeting at Bethel A.M.E. Church in Jeffersonville, Indiana to inform the public of career opportunities. On the fourth Saturday, job seekers are called to Asbury A.M.E Church on West Chestnut Street in Louisville to learn about career opportunities and apprenticeships.
Washington explains, "Whether you have no experience, some experience, as long as you have a willingness to learn and to show some effort then you'll get an opportunity."
Lawrence Windburn of LIUNA Local 576 touts, "That's what we're all about is to try and find people and help them make a better life for themselves and their families as well."
This is good news even for those without a high school education or with a criminal record.
"They're lost. They don't have options. They turn back to a life of crime or maybe they just don't exist anymore on somebody else's radar. This program takes that into account and takes them to the next step," said Rev. Geoffrey Ellis, host of the meetings of the Fourth Saturdays of the month and minister of Asbury A.M.E Church.
The next step in the process after listening to the leaders of the groups is signing up to train for a well paying job.
Peter Hayes from "Man Up" and Service for Peace exclaims, "Wages are very good and they can actually get a job and on the job training."
There is pipefitting, masonry, highway and building construction. Anything Kentucky Laborers' Joint Apprenticeships and Training Trust Fund can offer. The starting pay is about 17 dollars an hour.
"It's like anything in life you have to learn your ropes but it's very good starting pay. It's hard work too but it is good starting pay," says Hayes smiling.
"It gives young men and women an opportunity for a job and not just a job but a career," Rev. Ellis stresses.
Operation Pride hopes this good news spreads just as fast as we know bad news can. They hope each Saturday finds standing room only as they meet to offer new recruits an opportunity at a new job and a new life.
Washington laughs, "Best kept secret. Best kept secret. This is just the beginning. This whole process of coming out and working with the community and helping with a need that has truly been identified with all the things that are going on in the community is a blessing."