Originally published in The Rockford Independent, October 29, 2009 following IRS recognition of EaRN as a 501c3 organization.
Employment and Resource Network (EaRN)—www.earn-network.org—is a new public charity and a registered Michigan non-profit corporation based in here in Grand Rapids, founded by Ken Soper, Bruce Hakim and Frank Bettig that is equipping churches for a one-to-one caring ministry to assist people who are seeking employment. They are a ministry and a business to, as their brochure says, "Put the Body to work to keep the Body working."
As EaRN Affiliates, churches receive resources, materials and support that help a person to prepare for a new career, assist a person with work search skills and deliver a platform for employment networking. Once on the networking platform a person can also discover valuable additional support resources and links for finding work, for finding the right work for themselves, for finding volunteer opportunities and for finding people who are just humbly thankful for helpful people in their church as they are work through a difficult time, together.
Says Bettig, "We aren’t just providing churches with resources, materials and support on how to network for employment as a work search skill; we are connecting the ministry participants to a live 24/7 network where it is really happening." Today, there are six EaRN Affiliate Churches; Bettig can see the power of their network with over 1000 churches in two years.
For the last seven years Master Career Counselor Ken Soper has been moderating the network for employment networking as a benefit to participants of his Work Search Roundtable groups using a Yahoo! e-Group. But, according to Soper, EaRN is also in the process of transitioning to their own new web site that will really be, "… an informative, dynamic and interactive place for employment networking, EaRN ministry support for churches and much more."
At the same time, the EaRN ministry also lays an effective foundation by which lay people in the church can respond to a desire to invest their own skills, gifts and time into the lives of one another as volunteers in a valuable and productive expression of their Christian faith. According to Bruce Hakim, the third member of EaRN’s founding trio, "It is a great blessing to be used in a powerful and transforming way in the life another person who is in the midst of a crisis." He points to the fact that often times it is not until people lose their jobs that they realize they have invested too much of their personal identity into their work life, which can create an emotional and spiritual crisis.
If you would like to explore bringing EaRN Employment and Resource Network to your church please contact one of the founders. (Email EaRN at firstname.lastname@example.org.]
Grants, contributions and donations are tax deductible and can be made by private entities and individuals, community foundations and churches. Interested parties can also contact any one of the founders for further information.