St. John’s provides a variety of services and programs for those at-risk or who are homeless in the greater Green Bay community. The Joseph Project is one of those programs and is aimed at connecting employers with individuals seeking a job.

The Joseph Project, now in its third year at St. John’s, promotes life skills, such as teamwork, time and financial management, spiritual fitness, stress management and conflict resolution. Program advocates work with participants to develop interview skills, as well as assist in the writing of resumes.

“I think the Joseph Project rebuilds your hope,” said Byron, a recent graduate of the Joseph Project. “One of the biggest things for homeless individuals in finding employment is hope. I have made some mistakes in the past and it makes a person think they are unemployable. The Joseph Project instills in me the character and strength to face the difficulties the challenges ahead. The interview and conversational skills I have learned will help overcome the hurdles in front of me.”

The faith-based program occurs over four days and once a participant completes the course, they are offered a chance to interview with a company willing to hire at a living wage.

“The Joseph Project gives everyone the gift of hope and opportunity while challenging individuals to operate at their highest potential,” said Eugene Smalls, case manager at St. John’s. “We provide a space for knowledge and growth through relationships.”

The Joseph Project started as a constituent service through the office of U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson in collaboration with Greater Praise Church of God in Christ in downtown Milwaukee. While traveling the state, the senator found that manufacturers’ number one concern was not having enough workers. Yet when he visited central city neighborhoods, the problem was not enough jobs.

Johnson staffers worked with Pastor Jerome Smith of Greater Praise Church of God in Christ to identify people ready for a life change, based on their attitude and determination. The program is rapidly expanding and providing connections throughout the state for individuals who have a desire to work with businesses willing to pay a living wage.

“We saw a need for making the connection between people who are genuinely seeking opportunity and the opportunities that exist around the state,” Johnson said. “This project is designed for those who want to turn their lives around and experience the dignity of being able to provide for themselves and their families. Participants who have completed the program are earning good wages that allow them to buy cars, stay current paying household bills, and deposit savings in the bank.”