Perfect Storm Results in a Whirlwind of Job Opportunities

Organization Information:

Organization Name:
Parker County Center of Hope, Inc.
City & State:
Organization Website:
Organization's Mission Statement

Center of Hope is dedicated to reversing the cycle of poverty in Parker County.

Submission Information

Impact Essay

Perfect Storm Results in a Whirlwind of Job Opportunities

Downturn in the economy always hurts most those who can least afford it. Our county is no exception, and the flow of recently unemployed men and women coming to Parker County Center of Hope seeking assistance with food, utility bills, and asking about job training was increasing day by day. Where there is crisis, there is also opportunity, so the Center of Hope joined forces with North Central Texas Workforce Solutions and our local community college to create a new job training site for learning computer applications. Recent budget cuts had eliminated the computer application classes usually taught at Workforce Solutions. Center of Hope had a newly-renovated space just right for a small class of computer instruction. Weatherford College Workforce and Continuing Education brought certified instructors and curriculum materials into the mix. TechSoup and Microsoft teamed up to provide licenses for MS Office 2007 software at a great non-profit rate, and class sessions were scheduled.

Students registered for the classes at Workforce Solutions, became part of the Workforce student group recognized by Weatherford College, and classes were taught at Center of Hope. Two volunteers, both either retired or former public school teachers, were certified as instructors by the college, and another volunteer from a local church updated the computers with the new MS Office software suite. His church also became involved by donating funds to purchase new flat panel monitors for all lab computers. Classes began in mid-March, 2009, on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons with 10 students. Soon, because of the demand, another morning class was opened on the same days. Classes continue through the summer, with a current waiting list of about 40 eager learners.

A special graduation reception for the first class was held on May 19, with each student receiving a certificate from Microsoft and Weatherford College. Within a week, one of the ladies called back to tell her teacher that she had landed a new job with an interior design firm, and her certificate from the computer class was very instrumental in her getting the job!

The basic mission of Center of Hope is to reverse the cycle of poverty in Parker County. We are not commodity-based, but relationship-based. We offer a hand up for today, a new hope for tomorrow. The whirlwind stirred up by this “perfect storm” has impacted people all over our community. People who were discouraged because of few job opportunities now have a fresh hope that a better job is possible. Microsoft Corporation has certainly played a key role in assisting our non-profit community organization to optimize the delivery of our mission of helping people to step up out of poverty. We are grateful to see so many different organizations in our county cooperating in this way for a common goal. The success of the computer applications classes bring a new sense of pride in what can be done when people, products, and programs focus on the priority of neighbors helping neighbors!

Submission Category
Optimize Mission Delivery