The Christian Women’s Job Corps is a ministry of the WMU. It began in Birmingham for the purpose of helping women out of poverty. Now, there are over 200 centers around the country. The program gives women not only technical skills like computer training, but also the personal skills of doing interviews, writing resumes, and dressing appropriately to equip them for better jobs than they had been able to get before. Perhaps most important of all is the building of self-esteem through Bible study and other classes that help them to regard themselves as valuable persons with much to contribute to their families and community. Charlotte Ward has been the Bible teacher for every session.
CWJC in Lee County grew out of the awareness of Janice Saidla, who headed the Mercy Ministry of Auburn United Methodist Church, of the need for women to get a hand up out of poverty instead of continued hand-outs of charity. Her church provided start-up funds and continues to provide a place to hold classes; but, from the first, AFBC has been one of half a dozen churches contributing teachers, mentors, meals and money to keep the program going.
The current Site Manager (Director), Laura Eason, is a Methodist minister. She is the only paid employee, and her salary is not full-time. Everyone else volunteers their time. AFBC has had two or more representatives on the board of directors since the beginning: first, Jim Evans, Mary Lynn Porter, and Charlotte Ward. Current members are Charlotte Sutton and Charlotte Ward.
An important part of the program is providing each graduate with a mentor who follows up with her for several months after the session ends. Gwynne Lovelady and Peggy Johnson have been mentors.
The women are served breakfast and lunch each day of the eight-week session. Merle Bass and others from AFBC have provided meals. Seventy women have completed training over eleven sessions, and most of them (80% of recent classes) have found jobs.
Volunteers interested in supporting the Christian Women’s Job Corps should contact the church office.