Breaking out of poverty with the Vincent de Paul Society

by | Apr 21, 2015 | News, Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Systemic change

featured-image-generic-svdpBreaking out of poverty with the Vincent de Paul Society – Cleveland Council Helps Struggling People Join the Workforce with a win-win for clients and local restaurants.

Poverty can be a vicious cycle.

Some people fall into poverty because they cannot find work. Then, they cannot find work because they are in poverty. Many people lack skills and training to find work that will provide them the means necessary to pull them out of poverty.

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul in Cleveland noticed what a problem this was and decided to take action.

About a year ago, members of the St. Vincent de Paul Diocesan Council of Cleveland began developing a job training program that would not only help those that were searching for work in the Cleveland area, but would also assist local restaurant businesses.

The program is part of a pilot program that the SVdP Cleveland launched to provide more opportunities in the culinary industry for Northeast Ohio’s unemployed poor who want to work, but lack the experience or job-training opportunities.

Before they send potential hires to the restaurants, SVdP puts each prospective employee through a thorough screening process of their own. Restaurants have come to appreciate the added security this allows them when hiring SVdP Job Training Program participants.

The Society also helps the restaurants offset the cost of employing these individuals by paying half of their wages.

“There’s a need for someone to offer a hand and pull people up out of the ditch,” said John Litten, the executive director of the Diocesan Council of Cleveland. “This is the way for us to embrace systemic change. We can help teach a person to fish instead of merely giving them the fish.”

Through the job training program, Council members recommend people that they feel are hard workers, but due to their record or current situation, are having a hard time finding work. Those who participate in the SVdP Job Training Program often have criminal records up to nonviolent felonies.

That person is then placed in a participating restaurant where he or she will work for a 10 to 12 week period. There are presently two restaurants in the Cleveland area that are participating in the program.

SVdP Cleveland’s original plan for the program was that upon the completion of their approximately three month run at the restaurant, the participant would be ready to enter the workforce and obtain a job on his or her own, leaving their spot vacant for a new participant.

However, at least three of the participants so far have been offered permanent positions upon the completion of their time at the restaurant where they were doing their job training.

This has proven to be a blessing while also creating a new challenge.

While it shows that the job training program is a success and is producing employable individuals, it also means that the Council has had to search out more restaurants that are willing to participate in the program.

Presently, the job training program is only working with restaurants. However, in the near future, Vincentians hope to expand into other industries such as the hotel business and nursing homes.

Litten said, “The program was being run by a volunteer out of the Council office. In order to do much growing, they will need to hire someone.”

The Council members are looking ahead and are excited to see what’s next!

For more information please contact:

John Litten

(216)696-6525 Ext: 3570



















For more information please contact:

John Litten

(216)696-6525 Ext: 3570


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