|It began as an effort to help Brooklyn’s Haredi population develop marketable job skills and find meaningful employment opportunities. Over the past four years the Jewish Community Council of Greater Coney Island (JCCGCI)’s Parnossoh Employment Services Program has been wildly successful, expanding its offerings while also helping over 300 people take their place in the work force and thereby achieve economic independence with dignity.
Funded by the UJA-Federation of New York, the Parnossah Employment Services program has been under the auspices of the Jewish Community Council of Greater Coney Island since 2015, helping more than 1,000 clients at locations in Coney Island, Crown Heights, Boro Park, Manhattan and Flatbush. Career counseling, resume writing, interview preparation and job placement are just some of the services offered, equipping clients with the skills they need to land solid jobs, or in some cases, work their way up the ladder to more lucrative positions.
The Parnossah Employment Services program celebrated its 300th successful job placement when the program arranged for a man in his early twenties who wanted to transition from restaurant work to an office position to interview with a firm dealing in rare stamps and coins and was offered a job on the spot. The client had recently acquired marketable computer skills at another JCCGCI program, our Crown Heights Career Hub training program (also funded in part by UJA-Federation –see: www.chcareerhub.org) in the hope of landing a position with greater earnings potential and was then referred to JCCGCI’s Parnossah Employment Services program for placement assistance.
On a very limited basis (depending on available resources), the initiative is able to provide scholarships for job related training, explained program director, Mr. Jeffrey Prince, MBA. One middle aged Haredi client who had long struggled to feed his family came to the program for career counseling, mentioning in conversation that he had always wanted to be an accountant. Arrangements were made to provide him with a partial scholarship and after completing a four month junior accounting training program, the man was hired almost immediately for a full time position by an established Borough Park accounting firm that was culturally sensitive to his religious lifestyle.
In other cases, clients have returned to the Parnossah Employment Services program for additional assistance. A Manhattan woman who was out of the workforce for 25 years while raising her family was facing the prospect of going back to work after her husband’s sudden death. After the Parnossah Employment Services program assisted her with resume writing and interview preparation guidance, the program referred her to a secretarial job with a Brooklyn human services agency that provided a decent salary and insurance benefits. Realizing that her long term financial needs would only be increasing, the woman went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in education. Returning to the Parnossah Employment Services program a second time, she was guided towards a teaching position at a large social services agency where she now earns a substantially higher salary than before and a full benefits package.
Supporting clients in their search for employment and helping each one maximize their potential is very fulfilling, observed Mr. Prince.
“We help our clients develop themselves and present themselves in the best way possible, working closely with each one so that we can get them into solid jobs,” said Mr. Prince. “It is extremely rewarding to be able to help people and move them forward in their careers.”
We join in congratulating Mr. Prince upon achieving the program’s 300th job placement. We also acknowledge and express appreciation for the professional oversight and guidance of Virginia G. Cruickshank, JCCGCI’s esteemed Workforce Development senior consultant (and former Senior Vice President for Workforce Development at FEGS) and, of course, for the generous financial and encouraging support of UJA-Federation of New York.
It is our hope that the needs of the highly motivated Haredi communities will be recognized and additional resources will be identified to enable expanded workforce development relief to reach those who desperately wish to improve their skills and secure economic independence with dignity.
To schedule an appointment with the Parnossah Employment Services program, please call Mr. Prince at 718-449-5000 ext. 2246 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.