Saginaw County’s Ezekiel Project aims to tackle jobs at prayer breakfast
Published: Friday, February 19, 2010, 12:13 PM
By Eric Joyce | The Saginaw News
A faith-based coalition in Saginaw called The Ezekiel Project hopes to diagnose the most important issues facing Saginaw County and produce a cure.
Former Saginaw Mayor Joyce J. Seals is president of the group.
“Some people want to do programs. I’m saying we won’t do programs, but we’re about a systemic change,” Seals said.
The Ezekiel Project plans to collect survey data across its 13-church coalition and throughout the streets of Saginaw County. That will help it rank the major concerns facing the county and develop task forces to address the issue, in hopes of leading to government action, Seals said.
The Ezekiel Project hosts its 12th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Prayer Breakfast at 9 a.m. Saturday at the Germania Town and Country Club, 1 Germania Platz, in Saginaw.
She expects more than 175 church and community leaders to attend the breakfast to listen to a guest speaker, the Rev. Charles Mock, executive secretary of the Home Mission Board with the National Baptist Convention. Mock’s speech is to connect issues of equity, education, and economic and environmental justice in Saginaw’s economy with King’s struggle for job opportunities before his death.
The prayer breakfast is open to the public, and tickets cost $15 at the door.
The breakfast is designed to help energize leaders to focus on the Saginaw job market, said Grady Holmes Jr., community organizer for The Ezekiel Project.
In 2008, The Ezekiel Project partnered with Michigan Works to develop the Road Construction Apprenticeship Readiness program to help people compete for internships as carpenters, cement masons, ironworkers, laborers and operation engineers through classes at Delta College, Holmes said.
Thirty-five students have graduated from the program with another 15 enrolled this year, he said. Funding for the program comes from the Federal Highway Administration.
Willie Haynes, vice president of The Ezekiel Project, said the organization is partnering with the Saginaw County Department of Public Health and University of Michigan School of Public Health for a new Healthy Homes Saginaw survey.
The program will survey 1,500 homes in Saginaw that meet participation requirements, with 200 homes receiving up to $450 in products to reduce safety hazards, he said.
Haynes said the program is part of The Ezekiel Project’s active commitment to the community.
“We must continue to put our faith into practice,” he said. “We are in the real world where real decisions are made. That affects people, especially the most vulnerable members or our community.”