Earlier this month, business owner Wendy Jenkins unveiled what she hopes will be a gift to the community: Jenkins’ Career Corner LLC.
Jenkins, who has worked in child care for 25 years, noticed sometime ago that in addition to needing assistance with their children, many Brightwood-area residents would come into her facility on 25th and Lasalle asking for career advice.
“Throughout the years, I’ve always had parents come in who are looking for better jobs and need help with resumes or need something faxed,” she said. “Going in and out of the Brightwood library, I would notice people up there looking for jobs and things like that, and some of them literally had their kids on their hips while they were trying to do it.”
The seed was planted in her mind to create a place that could address this need. On June 3, the Career Corner officially opened.
“If you come into Jenkins’ Career Corner for three hours of training, we will have a shuttle come and take your kids over to the day care. You wouldn’t have to worry about paying for day care or job readiness. It’s all free of charge,” she said.
In addition to child care, visitors can receive training in basic computer use, resume writing and interviewing. Jenkins wants to eventually offer GED prep classes and job shadowing opportunities to help people gain real-world experience.
She believes adding the shadowing component would help “steer” those seeking employment “so that they find something that not only makes them happy but (helps) them move up eventually, so they’re not just looking for jobs, but for a career,” she said.
The facility, located at 1761 N. Sherman Drive in Suite I, houses a print shop, computer lab and training area where participants view instructional videos on different facets of job readiness.
Kelsey Webster, a relative of Jenkins, volunteers a few times a week when she is not at her full-time job as a supervisor at 3M. “When she came up with the idea, I thought, ‘Wow that’s really great.’ We really need something like that in our Black community to help each other out. It’s great that people can come here and get assistance in the (neighborhood).”
Because the service is not yet at nonprofit status, Jenkins is currently footing the expenses herself through funds raised at her print shop/notary Charlie Nicole’s. The shop is named after Jenkins’ stepdaughter Charlese Zinnerman, who was shot and killed last September. Her murder remains unsolved.
Jenkins is also holding a benefit dinner on July 22 from 5-8 p.m. at Brookside Park Family Center, 3500 Brookside Parkway South Drive. Tickets are $35 in advance or $40 at the door.
The Career Corner is also in need of volunteers from education, finance, human resources and other professional fields to come and assist.
“I’m hoping that it eventually takes off and is around even if I’m not around. I want this to be something that the community can use to further their education and job training skills so that people aren’t sitting around without jobs and the right resources,” said Jenkins. “If they can get the proper training and the proper job then they won’t have to keep going out to try and get assistance with their utilities and rent. Just like the saying goes, you can feed a person but if you teach them to fish they can feed themselves, so that’s basically what I’m trying to do.”
For more information on career assistance or to volunteer, visit jenkinscareercornerllc.org or call (317) 734-8723.