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Graduates of the inaugural class of the Grenada Chapter of the Christian Women’s Job Corps are (from left) Rosie Wilson, Betty Jean Ross, Dean Rodgers, Patricia Bulling and Mary C. Brown.
 
By GALEN HOLLEY
Staff Writer

  Six Grenada women recently completed a job training and life skills course that equipped them to excel in whatever the future holds.
  The Grenada Chapter of the Christian Women’s Job Corps graduated its first class on Nov. 7, and the women say the experience greatly strengthened their professional and spiritual lives.
  “Most importantly, I learned how to put God first in all things and to pray about what I’m facing,” said Patricia Bulling.
  Betty Ross agreed.
  “I learned how to carry on with a Christian spirit. It was an awesome experience,” said Ross.
  The 10-week course, which met three days a week at Temple Baptist Church in south Grenada, offered women training in areas like Bible study, as well in practical skills like healthy eating, money management, resume building, computer skills, interpersonal relationships and how to present oneself in a professional manner.
  “Our curriculum was called Jobs for Life, and it included a variety of lessons, geared to suit the needs of contemporary women and the challenges they face,” said Irene Floyd, one of three women from Emmanuel Baptist Church who coordinated the course.

Critical need
  Mississippi routinely ranks among the poorest states, and Mississippi women are among the poorest of the poor. The Christian Women’s Job Corps was started in 1994, by Southern Baptist women, as a way to strengthen and empower their sisters to take charge of their lives and to live to their fullest potential.
  Unlike similar organizations that sprang up after the Welfare Reform Act of 1996, the CWJC has a strong religious component.
  The CWJC doesn’t accept federal money, so it’s free to proselytize. The first sites opened in Chicago, San Antonio and South Carolina. The first site in Mississippi opened in Pearl in 1997.   Today, there are nearly 15,000 volunteers serving at CWJC houses in 25 U.S. states, including 14 in Mississippi, as well as one in South Africa.

Bolstering confidence
  Bulling was already working as a certified nurse’s  assistant before she started attending CWJC, but she feels the skills she learned to make her a stronger employee.
  “I upgraded myself,” said Bulling. “I think the course bettered me. I learned how to converse professionally  with potential employers and how to follow up on a resume with letters and phone calls and professional correspondence,” she said.
  Rosie Wilson isn’t working right now, but in January she’ll begin chasing down her dream of becoming an alcohol and drug counselor. She’s enrolled to start classes at Holmes Community College Grenada.
   She couldn’t have done it without the help of the CWJC, Wilson said.
“I got a lot of motivation from the women with whom I studied, and from the women from whom I leaned,” said Wilson. “I’m confident that I can enroll in psychology classes and be successful.”

   New classes for CWJC will start Feb. 4. There is no fee to enroll. Applicants may call (662) 307-2698.


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