Richland businesses aim to employ impoverished

Richland County business leaders learn how to make impoverished citizens model employees

Richland County business and organization leaders learned on Tuesday, June 23, how to help individuals in poverty become successful employees.

The 1Richland Group, in collaboration with Catholic Charities, hosted a Bridges out of Poverty for Employers Workshop at North Central State College for employers and human resources representatives.

“It was great to see businesses, education and social agencies coming together to develop a better understanding of the culture of poverty,” said Dorey Diab, Ph.D, president of North Central State College and workshop attendee.

“More importantly, it was heartwarming to see the community’s commitment to work together to overcome challenges, help people find and retain jobs, and make Richland County a better place to work, live and raise a family.”

Workshop facilitator Anne Seifert taught about differences between the culture of poverty and middle class culture and what that means for employers. She also encouraged employers to uncover the root of employee issues and to strategize with an employee to resolve problems before taking steps to terminate.

For example, an employee who is frequently tardy or absent may be a single mother who is struggling to provide daycare for her children. The individual may be a strong employee once the daycare issue is resolved.

Mary Bolin, CEO of My Town Partners, said after the workshop that it will help foster understanding among employers so that long-term successful relationships will exist with all employees.

Bridges Workshop Page 2 “Sometimes we forget that we all have different styles of communication, learning and ‘rules’ among our backgrounds and upbringing,” Bolin said.

The 1Richland Group evolved in 2014 as part of Catholic Charities’ Do Something Project. The group includes representatives of local social service agencies and businesses. The group strives to bridge the gap among employers, organizations that provide services, and the individuals and employees in the local community.

The 1Richland Group believes community transformation takes a community working together to become a catalyst for change.

Rebecca Owens, Mansfield site manager for Catholic Charities, said the group plans to host another Bridges out of Poverty for Employers Workshop in the fall.