Why EaRN, Why Now?
Hear why former judge, pastor, and former US Senate candidate and now ministry executive Randy Hekman, JD, believes EaRN is "a ministry made for these times" by listening to this interview with him (left) and by reading Why EaRN , Why Now?, click here.
Get answers to all your questions about EaRN by reading Most Frequently Asked Questions, click here.
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EaRN Board of Directors
- Ed Bueche, MM (Aquinas), Finance / Operations executive
- Ed Dahlquist, MM (Aquinas), Vice President of Operations, Lorin Industries
- Jeff Geshel, Technical Recruiting Director and Partner, Atlas Coast
- Janis Petrini, Owner/Operator, Express Employment Professionals
- Chet Trybus, MBA (Western Michigan), Sales & Marketing Consultant and Ferris State University faculty
- Ken Soper, MA, MDiv, NCDA-recognized Master Career Counselor, President / EaRN
Ken Soper, EaRN President
MA, MDiv, MCC, NCC, NCCC
Ken has been working as a Career Coaching, Counseling and Work Search Training professional for over 35 years with individuals ages 14-80 in a wide range of careers and industries
- Ken's facilitated the longest, continously operating weekly job club in West Michigan, "Work Search Roundtable ", since 2001 in collaboration with Spring Arbor University's Grand Rapids Learning Site.
- In 2011 Ken participated by invitation in the US Department of Labor's Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnership national initiative to identify and link job clubs serving their communities from faith- and community-based organizations, including an appearance on the May national webcast, presenting at a September White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships conference in Detroit, and co-hosting a Job Clubs Symposium as EaRN President with Deputy Director Ben Seigel in March 2012.
- He is particularly knowledgeable in working with older workers. From 1995 to 2000, he worked as the Career Counselor & Job Search Coach for the Senior Employment / Career Transitions Program at the Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan, Inc., coaching and training individuals 55+ years old.
- Ken consulted on other job hunting and career change initiatives including one begun by Hope Network originally funded by a multi-year $660,000 grant from the US Department of Labor’s Center for Faith and Community-Based Initiatives, the HopeWorks Project.
He previous served for more than a decade as a Career Services Officer at Indiana Wesleyan University (Indiana) and Wheaton College (Illinois), and continues teaching such students since the early 1990′s through Spring Arbor University’s West Michigan Learning Sites (Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Battle Creek, and Lansing).
Ken is a graduate of Richard Bolles’ internationally acclaimed “Life/Work Planning Workshop” (1979), and one of the career counselors from North America listed annually in the back of Bolles’ all-time best-seller on job hunting and career changing, What Color Is Your Parachute? He has also been trained in career management, work search and outplacement practice by additional internationally recognized expert mentors.
Ken is a National Board of Certified Counselors National Certified Counselor (N.C.C.) and National Certified Career Counselor (N.C.C.C.), one of just 800 people worldwide with both of these certifications. He is also a Master Career Counselor, one of the first 50 professionals world-wide to be recognized for his expertise and skills by the National Career Development Association, the premier professional association for career counseling and coaching.
Ken earned master's degrees from Ball State University (Indiana) and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (Massachusetts). His undergraduate degree is from Taylor University (Indiana). He's also a US Air Force veteran.
Chet Trybus (right), an accomplished veteran Sales & Marketing professional and Ferris State University professor and a member of our Board of Directors, talks about the EaRN ministry.
Our Current Affiliates
St Robert of Newminster Parish, Ada, Michigan (a large Catholic parish)
Redeemer Evangelical Covenant Church, Caledonia, Michigan (a 100-member, growing innovative denominational church)
Link (temporary): http://kensoper.com/group-services/worksearch-roundtable/
Westminster Prebyterian Church, Grand Rapids, Michigan (a 100+ year old downtown denominational church with an interfaith ministry focus)
Others are in progress of gearing up their ministry to help those in their community find work and stay employable. Return here again to see this list grow! What about your church--might they be hearing God's call to join us?
How EaRN Came To Be
In November, 2008, Bruce Hakim, Ken Soper, and Frank Bettig were introduced to each other by a mutual acquaintance, Kurt Freund, in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
- Ken had been a career counselor and coach for 35 years. He had been involved in helping churches and organizations set up help for the un- and under-employed but found many ministries would wither and dissolve once the economy improved, even though the needs continued. He'd had numerous conversations with others about starting just such a ministry during the 1990's and early 2000's.
- Bruce had been a sales executive with Nestle. For over a year, a group of people in Calvary Church, Grand Rapids, Michigan had been praying about an employment ministry but lacked someone to take the lead in developing resources and getting EaRN launched. Bruce felt prompted by the Holy Spirit to meet that need, and served in the key ministry launch role of President and Board Chair through December 2011.
- Frank had been an Employment Specialist with Michigan Works in Grand Rapids, Michigan for seven years. He saw many people receiving help with education and employment, but found some frustration in noting that people's emotional and spiritual realms were not been addressed.
All three, after prayer and discussion, concluded that God was calling them to come together to equip churches and organizations for ministry to people who had lost jobs, and were in job and career transition.
In late September 2009, EaRN was recognized as a 501 (c) (3) Public Charity by the US Internal Revenue Service, having already been a recognized charitable organization by the State of Michigan since May 2004. Board member Ed Bueche, an early supporter and encourager of EaRN , was instrumental is helping complete the IRS application for our non-profit status.
Looking for More Information?
Just provide us your name and email address, and we'll get in touch as soon as we can to answer further question and provide you with more information. Or just give us a call at (616) 528 - 0443. We're on Eastern time in the US.
As an IRS recognized 501c3 non-profit organization, we file annual reports on our funding sources and finances. If you have any questions about these documents or our financial accounting, or you would like to see a copy of any or all of the last 3 years, please send a request with your name and the reason you'd like them to ksoper (a) earn-network.org, or write us at EaRN, c/o 6918 Glencreek Dr SE, Caledonia MI 49316.