For the past year, United Ministries’ Employment Readiness program has partnered with Miracle Hill Ministries’ Overcomers program to provide employment assistance to the men in the program who are working to overcome addictions. Overcomers’ participants often join Employment Readiness and begin looking for work during the fourth and final stage of the recovery program. Some of the men move into transitional housing following their graduation from the Overcomers program while others return home. As with all Employment Readiness participants, United Ministries’ counselors provide ongoing case management and support for a full year to help the men get back on their feet and into the workforce again.

Addiction can affect anyone, and the Overcomers’ participants who have joined Employment Readiness illustrate this truth. The men in recovery vary in age, education level, and employment history and skills.  Here are some of their stories:

Matt was the first Overcomer to participate in Employment Readiness.  Matt joined Overcomers to deal with ongoing drug and alcohol abuse.  He has worked steadily as an industrial maintenance technician since graduating from Overcomers, and he recently accepted an apprenticeship for material handling equipment technician work.

DSC00260Pat lived in Columbia for decades before developing a dependence on alcohol following his divorce after twenty-eight years of marriage.  Pat was retired from construction sales but knew he wanted to work again following his graduation from Overcomers.  He has chosen to assist others going through the struggles he went through, and following an internship with the Miracle Hill’s Transitions Program, he now is working as the intake coordinator for the Overcomers Program.

M.A. is a thirty-one-year-old college graduate with a bachelor’s degree in business.  His struggles with alcohol cost him his marriage and left him feeling depressed and worthless.  According to M.A., “Miracle Hill, along with other phenomenal organizations such as United Ministries, helped me get my life back on track and provided me with opportunities to better myself physically, mentally, professionally, and above all, spiritually.”  M.A. is now working full-time as an accountant for an Upstate company, and he has his own housing and a vehicle.

Kirlew, KeithKeith moved to Greenville from Florida to join Overcomers following years of addiction and an inability to sustain sobriety for a long period of time.  He now is living in transitional housing and working full-time as a customer service representative.  Keith hopes to move out on his own by the end of the year.  Says Keith, “The (Employment Readiness) class was excellent in preparing me to go forward and begin the process of finding employment.”  Keith specifically appreciates his employment counselor checking in with him every so often to see how he is doing and to offer any help necessary.

Following the obtainment of an associate’s degree and a decade of management experience, Michael entered Overcomers to tackle addiction issues that began in his teenage years.  Michael is currently sober and is working as the housekeeping supervisor at a large hotel in Greenville.

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Clay is only twenty-one years old and has struggled with addiction since his teenage years, as well.  After graduating from Overcomers he began an electrical apprenticeship.   He would like return to college in 2016.

Overcomers’ counselor Tim Brown says, ““We truly appreciate all that United Ministries is doing for our clients. We have heard nothing but words of appreciation from our clients for all of the ways the employment counselors have helped them—resumes, interviewing, counseling, preparation for work, and other methods of support.”

Thanks to the good work of United Ministries’ Employment Readiness team and the staff at Miracle Hill Ministries’ Overcomers program, one participant says he now has “a promising future full of possibility.”  The success of these participants is one indication of the power of collaboration.  The community benefits when organizations come together in service.  Collaboration makes organizations stronger, more creative, and more responsive to participants’ needs.

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