First class completes Jobs for Life

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 25 March 2014 at 12:00 am

‘They’re here to make sure I never give up.’

Photos by Tom Rivers – Leah Farrington is congratulated on completing the Jobs for Life program by mentors and leaders on the program at a graduation program on Monday at the Hoag Library. Farrington is one of five graduates in the first class.

ALBION – Two months ago Leah Farrington started the Jobs for Life program, which is run by a group of churches. Today, Farrington is signing up for the culinary institute in Niagara Falls.

Farrington, 22, of Albion said Jobs for Life’s mentors and instructors helped bring out her strengths over 16 classes.

“They taught me to feel comfortable with myself and to have confidence,” Farrington said Monday during a graduation program for the first Jobs for Life class in Orleans County.

Four others graduated from the program, which is aimed to break the cycle of poverty for some local residents. The class taught soft skills such as the importance of showing up on time, preparing a resume, interviewing, and dressing appropriately.

Farrington said the 6 to 8 p.m. classes on Mondays and Thursdays worked well with her schedule. The group met at the Hoag Library.

The first class of Jobs for Life graduates in Orleans County include, front row, from left: John Snook, Leah Farrington, Josh King, Dave Tetrault Sr., and Dave Tetrault Jr. Back row: mentor Ocie Bennett, student relations leader Cindy Mordino, site leader and mentor Tim Lindsay, instructors Rick and Dee Huntington, instructors Becky and Todd Wolford, business relations leader Craig Platter, mentor Deb Scott, student relations leader and mentor Donna Ernenwein, prayer team member Debbie Thies, and advisory member Don Snyder.

Local business leaders shared tips for success with the class, and instructors and mentors offered support and encouragement.

“They’re here to make sure I never give up,” said John Snook, one of the graduates. “They’re someone I can talk to.”

Snook, 25, of Albion said he has never had a mentor until the class. His immediate goal: “find a good job that I like to do.”

The Rev. Tim Lindsay, pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Albion, pushed to start the Jobs for Life program, which he said has had success in many other communities. He praised the five graduates for finishing the course.

He said the mentors and program leaders want to stay supportive of the graduates as they pursue the job market.

“I’m so excited for all of you,” Lindsay told them during a graduation ceremony at the Hoag Library. “You will be in our prayers.”

Dave Tetrault Sr. and other graduates were treated to a cake and other refreshments following the graduation ceremony. They each received a certificate for completing the program.

Josh King, 28, of Holley also finished the program and plans to enroll at Monroe Community College for precision machining. King worked in construction for 10 years. He never prepared a resume until the Jobs for Life class.

“I met a great group of people,” he said. “Everybody rallied around me. Just having a network of great people is very reassuring to me.”

A father and son also completed Jobs for Life. David Tetrault Sr., 58, and his son, David Tetrault Jr., 36, are both hunting for jobs.

The elder Tetrault worked 25 years in Rochester for a machining company that went bankrupt. He would like to get into landscaping or building maintenance. He volunteers caring for the Harvest Christian Fellowship property on Route 31.

Tetrault learned to write a resume in the class. He praised the program for making class members stand up and speak before the group.

“This is a very needed program,” he said.

His son volunteers as the sound technician at church. The younger Tetrault said he has some job prospects in Watertown.

Todd and Becky Wolford volunteered as instructors on Monday nights. Mr. Wolford, a teacher at Lyndonville, stressed character for the class.

“The character traits are what people are looking for,” Wolford said.

Some of the employers who addressed the class said they were open to employees who may have made bad choices in the past, or struggled with circumstances beyond their control.

“It was encouraging for them to hear that,” Wolford said. “They need to press through the hurdles and road blocks. They know they can get back up and keep going.”