Robert Mayweather wasn’t pressed to find a job Thursday night at the YMCA in West Philadelphia. However, he’s glad he satisfied his curiosity to “see what was going on.”
Mayweather was one of a few hundred people who passed through the doors of the YMCA for the District Attorney’s Office’s One-Stop Job and Resources Hub.
The hub opens up on the first Thursday of each month, in a different neighborhood each time. The goal of the event is to connect city residents in under-served neighborhoods with employers, trauma-informed professionals, victim services, housing options and an array of other essential services all in one place.
“I have a job,” said Mayweather, an electrician. “But in these days, it’s always a good idea to keep your eyes open. That’s why I came by — just to check it out. I thought this was just for job opportunities. But there are a lot of other valuable services here that people can benefit from.”
Thursday’s event was the second for the new initiative. The hub made its debut last month at YMCA Columbia North.
Next month’s hub will take place at a yet-to-be-determined location in South Philadelphia.
G. Lamar Stewart, a former Philadelphia police officer who joined the District Attorney’s office this past spring, launched a similar jobs program with the police department called Turning a New Corner (TNC).
However, TNC, also a mobile program, was focused mainly on connecting those in under-served areas to employers. The program placed a special emphasis on formerly incarcerated citizens looking for jobs.
The hub is a broader program focused on coalescing more services under one roof.
“This is more of a wraparound, a more robust program,” said Stewart, who is also the pastor of Taylor Memorial Baptist Church in the Hunting Park section of the city. “It’s not just employment; it’s all these other programs and services. For example, a person might need help with employment, but they have other needs or some crisis that they need help with. Those services and professionals are right there and readily available to them in what is pretty much a one-stop format.”
On Thursday, about 45 different agencies were represented at the YMCA, including SEPTA, UPS, the Philadelphia Credit Union, Northern Children’s Services, Resources for Human Development (RHD).
Carlane Gregory, a trainer and recruiter with RHD, which provides human services for people with developmental disabilities and in addiction recovery, began working with Stewart during his days with the Philadelphia police.
“This is a great way to bring a variety of opportunities to the community and to meet people where they are,” said Gregory, who represented RHD on Thursday. “It’s really an umbrella of services. You might get a job. There are social services here. It’s a really good opportunity and a great way to bring services to people who otherwise might not know how to connect to them and to help people improve their quality of life.”