This is the time of year when I think about “what if.” What if everyone started life with a safe place to live, to learn, and with enough to eat?
Having spent a year at JobTrain, I have another “what if” on my list. What if we truly believed that everyone has the potential for a better life? Instead of “x-ing” people out and limiting ourselves to those we let in, we decided that everyone should be included? What if we believed failure was not an option?
When faced with scarce resources, our communities often respond with choosing people we know will succeed. What if, instead, we decided that everyone had potential, and that those most in need could succeed? What if we developed a set of supports and programs, in an atmosphere where everything was geared to helping people realize this potential and where everyone believed in them and insisted that they not give up?
A young man recently spoke of his time at JobTrain. Everything around him was dragging him down a path he knew would lead nowhere. He didn’t really believe in himself. Everyone at JobTrain kept telling him: “we know it may seem easier to fail, to not try, to not make it. But, that isn’t an option here… we won’t let you.” He began to see that a new life was possible. Today, he runs his own business and even employs JobTrain students. He said that this was the first time and place, anywhere he had ever been, where the only option was to succeed.
JobTrain’s own numbers demonstrate the impact of this approach: 89% graduate. They go on to earn millions of dollars of wages and for those who have been incarcerated, a very high number do not return to jail.
Our new Three Year Strategic Plan is a vision for JobTrain’s future, created by supporters, friends, and community members who know that in a world where failure is not an option, fewer people fail. More people find a path to success, where they contribute to the community, prosper, and grow. This in turn leads to a world where fewer and fewer people are hungry, homeless, and cold.
We are so grateful to our community, our supporters, and our champions, who believe, as JobTrain does, that failure is not an option. Thank you for your continued support and may you have a joyous holiday season.