Dressed in her security guard uniform and flashing a bright, beaming smile, Gloria Mitchell told a crowd of people at the America Works grand opening in Jamaica last Thursday, how thrilled she is that the group had found her steady employment. She has taken a position with Epic Security.
“And here I am, reborn,” Mitchell said. “It works if you work it. They provide you with help, but you’ve got to do the rest.”
The Jamaica office opened it’s doors in January. AW clients include military veterans, former criminal offenders; the homeless and those living in shelters; welfare, food stamp and disability recipients; non-custodial parents; youths aging out of foster care and people living with HIV/AIDS.
“Sigmund Freud once said the two things in life that make us human are love and work,” noted Peter Cove, the founder of America Works.
Since 1984, AW has helped hard-to-place individuals find employment. It has placed more than 300,000 men and women into jobs throughout the country. The new office is located at 88-11 165 St. The group also has a site in Far Rockaway at 1600 Central Ave.
Mitchell wasn’t the only one singing the praises of AW. Dean Banks, another of the group’s success stories, was also on hand telling attendees how his new job as a warehouse worker for Sunshine Cleaners has changed his whole outlook on life.
“It pays what it pays, but the most important thing is I’m self-sufficient,” Banks said. “I don’t have to ask nobody for nothing. I don’t have to feel ashamed. It makes me feel better as a man, makes me feel better as a human.”
AW helps clients get jobs in a variety of entry-level positions including receptionist, secretary, word processor, mailroom clerk, customer service representative, cashier, security guard and factory or warehouse worker. The salaries typically range from $15,500 to $18,000 annually.
Among the dignitaries in attendance at the grand opening of the Jamaica location was City Councilman Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans), who helped cut the ribbon on the new site as people toasted the success of the organization with glasses of champagne.
“This office has taken off with an incredible start,” said Lee Bowes, chief executive officer and president of America Works. “It was amazing to think of opening our doors and within the first week people getting hired already.”