Jobs-Plus delivers its name to jobless

Program Director Natalie Bryan and Assistant Program Director Janae Shields at the Jobs-Plus office on Bruckner Boulevard.

This program is about more than just jobs.

The Jobs-Plus program run by Goodwill offers a range of services for those in need of finding jobs but extends to other support.

“We meet people wherever they are,” Assistant Director Janae Shields said of their members needs. “You may need a haircut, you may need a suit. Sometimes you have to start with the very basics.”

The program reaches out to residents of Clason Point, Sack Wern and Monroe NYC Housing Authority developments, although some services, such as tax preparation, are open to the general community.

Since the unique program began in April 2013, it has enrolled 442 members, with 129 of them finding work. Some 975 people have come through its doors looking for help. Those who don’t qualify or have other needs, are referred to other help agencies.

“There is never a situation that is beyond us,” said Director Natalie Bryan.

New members receive an orientation about all of the services available. They initially meet with a life coach to begin figuring out their goals.

Jobs-Plus offers help with job applications, interview preparation and appearance, and with training and certificates in fields such as construction, food service and security.

After employment readiness, financial counseling is the program’s second mission. Bryan called teaching money management and encouraging saving is a priority. “We try to change the mind set before employment.”

After they find a job, the program helps the member open a bank account, which could mean going with them to the bank to help with paperwork or providing $25 to open a minimum balance account. It also counsels members about credit.

Another pillar of the program is community support for the group’s efforts. Shields and Bryan both are involved in the community and regularly attend community meetings.

“You can’t say you give people what they need if you’re not around when they’re talking about what they need,” Shields said.

“It’s the small things that matter,” said Shields, “and when they see us in the community it’s validation.”

Danielle Williams, 18, has been a Jobs-Plus member since April, getting help balancing a GED program and part-time work. She hopes to get good news shortly about her GED test scores so she can start looking for full-time work.

“They help me with everything I need help with,” she said.

Having a life coach has been particularly helpful. With her life coach she realized she has a long-term goal of becoming a psychiatrist, and a short-term goal of working in customer service. “You never know what you may find out about yourself,” she said.

Potential program members are encouraged to come in from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, and Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, and 8 a.m. – 2 p.m. Saturday, at Jobs-Plus officers at 1620 Bruckner Blvd. in the Bruckner Plaza.

Reach Reporter Jaime Williams at (718) 742–3383. E-mail her at

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