Ezekiel Project focuses on jobs, education to improve Saginaw residents’ work skills
Published: Sunday, October 23, 2011, 5:15 PM
By Lindsay Knake | The Saginaw News
SAGINAW — Jobs and education are the key focus of Saginaw’s Ezekiel Project.
The faith-based coalition has three separate initiatives to get parents more involved in schools, improve students’ job skills and train local individuals for area jobs.
“This is just the beginning,” said Grady Holmes, Jr., Ezekiel Project lead organizer.
The organization announced the initiatives Sunday afternoon at its annual meeting. About 95 people were in attendance at St. Andrew’s Church, 612 N. Michigan in Saginaw.
In a partnership with Michigan Works!, the Buena Vista School District and Carrollton Public Schools, the Ezekiel Project is putting in place a parent volunteer program at the schools, said Joyce Seals, former Saginaw mayor.
Depending on parents’ skills, she said, they could work in the cafeteria, playground, office or classroom.
“I think that’s exciting,” Seals said. “I believe parents are going to run to this.”
The volunteer program will give parents work experience and possible job opportunities, she said, and Seals expects it to improve student attendance, behavior and academics.
The Ezekiel Project also hopes to work with more Saginaw County schools as the program grows.
The organization’s second program is to develop student leaders with workshops for students and their parents.
“There isn’t a lack of jobs in the area,” Seals said. “There is a lack of qualified, prepared individuals.”
By working with students, the Ezekiel Project hopes to prepare students for careers once they graduate and help them build a foundation in math and science to have the skills for jobs available in the Great Lakes Bay Region.
Parent involvement is key, Seals said, so the schools, students and parents are on the same team.
The Ezekiel Project’s third initiative is to work with businesses to create a jobs task force to train initially ten people for local, available jobs.
Holmes said more information will be available by the end of the year, and he’s confident the 10 individuals will be successful and the program will grow with businesses.
“This is a great opportunity,” Seals said.