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Local program receives funding

Thursday, October 7, 2004

SIKESTON - Gloryland Community Development Corporation's newest program will teach skills that many take for granted yet are indispensable for self-sufficiency.

The goal is to "get people ready for employment," explained Bishop Charlie Green Jr. of the Green Memorial Church of God in Christ, CEO for Gloryland Community Development Corporation. "And teach them, once they are employed, how to hold a job."

One of 10 community-based organizations across the state approved for this year's round of Community Development Corporation grants, Gloryland Community Development Corporation has received $74,858 in state grant funding for the job training program.

Specifically targeting those living in the Sunset and Clayton additions, the program has openings for 100 low-income or unemployed individuals in the Sikeston area.

"I pretty much see the need in the community," Green said, explaining he has been a pastor here for over 35 years. "I know there's a need for people to receive some basic training to get employment. Some of them have never had a job - some of them have no skills."

The program beings Monday. "This is the first session of four. Each session will run a total of eight weeks," said Green.

All participants will be required to take the "job readiness" course with sessions scheduled from 9 a.m. until noon on Tuesdays and Thursdays during which they will cover basics of the workplace such as "how to get along with people, anger management, coming to work on time," according to Green.

Participants will also have their choice of one or more courses covering job skills such as basic computer literacy, maid services and cooking.

"We are doing this to help people get employed and help place people in a job when they finish the program," Green said.

Each of the four sessions have 25 openings. Applications are considered on a first come, first served basis for those age 17 and up. As of Tuesday, 19 of the 25 slots for the first session were filled. "We would like to have the full 25," Green said.

The job training program will be conducted at the old Lincoln School, now known as the Lincoln Gloryland Community Center. "We've been over there since 2002," Green said. "We have been renovating the building as we go."

Established in 2002, the Gloryland Community Development Corporation was formed "to provide some services that would improve the quality of life for the citizens of Sikeston," Green said.

It began with a recreation program. An after-school program offered from 4-6 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays which focuses on reading and math was the next service to be added, and is now its the second year.

Once the roof is repaired using funds from a line-item addition to the Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority's demolition Community Development Block Grant, Gloryland plans to add a substance abuse program to the growing list of services.

The CDC program which is providing funding for the Gloryland's job training was established in 1997 and is administered by the Missouri Department of Economic Development. The program provides grants of up to $100,000 to community development corporations that administer innovative and creative programs and services for those with low to moderate incomes.

This year's round of CDC grants from the Missouri Department of Economic Development totaled $730,000.

"Working together to help economically disadvantaged communities become more productive and self sufficient is important in today's highly-competitive world," said Kelvin Simmons, DED director. "Through the CDC Program, the Department can provide resources that help improve access to housing, enhance job skills and career opportunities and promote economic development opportunities in the communities that need it the most."

Gloryland is presently seeking a career counselor and a part-time computer instructor for the program, according to Green.

Those interested in either position or in participating in the job training program should call Gloryland at 471-2677 or Green's office at 471-5217.