In Jobcare we believe that working matters. However all of us know that there are those yet in our community, in our nation, for whom working has never been a regular component of their lives. And even in our current economic recovery, redundancy and unemployment are still a harsh reality for those who never expected it. The experience of unemployment is devastating for individuals, families, businesses, communities, government agencies and society at large.
Working brings income, brings structure to the day, brings physical, mental, emotional, and indeed for some spiritual, satisfaction. Working and not working positively and negatively impact family life, friends, neighbours, and community acquaintances. Working contributes financially to the overall economy. Working matters.
Since 1994, Jobcare has been working in Dublin’s inner city, assisting those struggling with the effects of long-term unemployment to get over their barriers to employment. We have developed a set of services relevant to the particular needs of certain groups of job-seekers or individuals who have never known how work can facilitate a balanced life. We’ve also developed solutions to assist those with sound qualifications and experience, but encountering difficulty in a competitive jobs market. These services are effective and get people into work.
I say that these services are effective, that each course or programme has been tailored to ensure it is relevant to our clients’ needs. This is true and important. But equally important is how the services are delivered and the heart behind them.
This world is in a mess, and unemployment in particular contributes to the mess in this country only compounding a culture of selfishness and self-survival. I believe God has a plan to clean up the mess of hopelessness, addiction, despair, poverty, crime, homelessness – the church of Jesus Christ extending the Kingdom of God into the darkness is his solution. In Jobcare we do this with unemployed people through skills building, providing work and facilitating a job search. But as important as these practical interventions are, they only go part of the way to meeting the needs of the whole person. It has always been a high value in Jobcare that people are shown the love of the Father at every point of connection, whether that be when invited to attend a course, preparing to go for an interview, or through the cup of tea given when they walk through the door.
The values of community that kept this country alive during the Famine have broken down and individuals struggling with difficulties and disadvantage find themselves isolated and without support, care … without love. Jesus has called his body, the church, to bring love to this messy world, to bring ‘heaven to earth’. At Jobcare we are more than ‘a charity’ doing good things; we seek to bring love back into a selfish, love-less culture. Practically speaking the way we work with people shows them that there is a safe place where they can be open to community. We see them relax, open-up and allow others minister healing, and break down their barriers to wholeness.
Isaiah 61 has always been Jobcare’s foundational scripture
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners…to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair…They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations. (Isaiah 61: 1-4)
Those words were relevant when I co-founded Jobcare in 1994, and they remain so today. This is how Jesus worked, and still works through his body today helping to change the brokenness in society into the kind of community he spoke about where personal transformation is possible – one by one, by meeting people where they are at. Although things remain bleak for the economy and more specifically the jobs market, I believe that there is opportunity and scope to see this kind of individual transformation and the impact of unemployment turned around.
Paul Mooney, Co-Founder and Chief Executive