The Employment Advocate Spring 2013
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spring2013 3
A Note from Our CEO,Brenda Mahr
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Board of Directors Launches
Five Year Strategic Plan

The Board embarked on a systematic process of envisioning our future over the past few years.  They have translated their vision into broadly defined goals and developed a sequence of steps to achieve them.  The plan was approved and we are pleased to present the five Priorities and Planned Outcomes with you!
Community Impact:  To improve public safety; reduce recidivism; reduce criminal behavior and its impact on the community; reduce homelessness in the region.

Priority 1:
Build Stronger Agency Programs
Clients exit services with skills and supports needed to achieve self-sufficiency.
Priority 2: 
Sustainable Revenue Sources
Total revenue in 2017 will exceed 2013 revenue to sustain and expand the services available for clients in the St. Louis community. Building debt will be retired by 2017 and cash reserves will increase through the board-designated investment portfolio.
Priority 3:
Strong Board and other Volunteers
Secure a diverse group of volunteers that contribute their time, talent, and treasures.
Priority 4:  
Community Partnerships
Leverage collective impact to effectively utilize community resources that more efficiently provide unique services and develop a more holistic approach to service delivery.
Priority 5:
Increase knowledge and visibility of agency impact on a local and national level to enhance support for the mission.

successThere's still time
to give the gift of self-sufficiency!

Employment Connection's Annual Appeal ends March 15th.

Since November, through the generosity of supporters like you, the "Give the Gift of Self-Sufficiency" campaign has raised $7,456 toward our goal of raising $10,000.

If you have already made a gift to the campaign, on behalf of the men, women, and youth we serve: Thank You! Your gift will change lives.

If you haven't made a gift yet, please consider giving. Employment Connection continues to address our neighbors’ needs in the St. Louis community, getting veterans off the streets, people into productive employment, and preventing crime before it happens. There is no greater gift than self-sufficency, and with your gift, you will be helping others to stand on their own two feet, provide for their families, and enjoy a stable life, something we often take for granted.

You can make a difference today.
Your tax-deductible donation will change lives!
Use the button below to securely show your support, and
share the gift of self-sufficiency with those who need it most.

Why wait? Start helping today! To donate by mail:
 Employment Connection
2838 Market Street
St. Louis, MO 63103
Checks to:Employment Connection

Success Story: Lisa Shelley
lisa shelley
Former Client gives back
as Member of the Board

A few years ago, Lisa Shelley had a good job and felt she was living the American dream.  Unfortunately, she saw her life change in a matter of months when her employment ended unexpectedly, leaving her out of work for the first time in her life.  Due to her age, she had problems obtaining other employment, and became more and more depressed as the weeks went by. She lost her home, and made the decision to move in with her daughter in Georgia. Unfortunately, after living there only a short time, she developed severe allergies and was forced to relocate to a different climate.

With her options limited and her depression growing, she moved back to St. Louis. As a veteran, she was able to find emergency housing at Jefferson Barracks’ Domiciliary Treatment Center. Shortly thereafter, she was referred to Employment Connection for employment assistance and job referrals. Working with the staff at Employment Connection, she found employment through Managed Work Services as a housekeeper at Barnes Jewish Hospital. Proving herself to be a hard worker, Lisa’s co-workers at Barnes praised her positive work ethnics, and she was offered and accepted a permanent position as a housekeeper. The hospital staff on the floor she was assigned requested her specifically  when they moved to their new site, because, in their words, ”No one cleans as well as Lisa.”

Lisa moved out of the Domiciliary and entered the housing program at Employment Connection, and with the assistance of her housing specialist moved into her own fully-furnished apartment. Lisa’s life has changed for the better. “I’m grateful for everything and everyone that has helped me,” she said. “I sometimes begin to cry when I talk about how things were, compared with how much better things are today.”

Lisa is truly a success story. She has since resigned from Barnes-Jewish Hospital, in order to further her education. In December, Lisa joined the Board of Directors at Employment Connection, bringing valuable insights as a former client, and using her time and talents to give back to the organization which helped her attain and maintain a state of self-sufficiency.

file0001842611095Homeless Veterans Program Continues

HVRP Program assists
Veterans out of Homelessness

Employment Connection has been awarded an extension of our Homeless Veteran Reintegration Program, which gives a hand-up to those who served our country, preparing local veterans with the skills and knowledge needed to overcome homelessness.  Addressing the barriers experienced by the homeless veterans living in St. Louis not only helps these deserving individuals, but also brings positive social and economic benefits to the City through wages earned and reductions in public service costs. The needs of veterans experiencing homelessness are great, and as a result two experienced St. Louis non-profits have been selected to address this issue. Veterans may choose to work with either organization to receive high quality, necessary services.

Funding for the HVRP program comes from the U.S. Department of Labor's Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program, funded through a sub-contract with the City of St. Louis Department of Human Services. Employment Connection appreciates the extension and will continue to empower homeless veterans to become self-sufficient members of the St. Louis community.  Employers or members of the community interested in supporting the veterans of HVRP may contact Employment Connection for more information at 314-333-JOBS (5627).

One Big Year for Sonja Belle

Client Celebrates One Year Employment Anniversary

A celebration was held for Sonja Belle for her one-year anniversary as Unit Clerk in the Housekeeping Department at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. Held at  Applebees on January 30, the luncheon was sponsored by Managed Work Services of St. Louis.

Sonja began her employment at Barnes as a temporary worker employed by MWSstl. She was soon hired by Barnes as a full time employee, and since that time, Sonja has attended college and received her Master's degree in Business/Human Resources. The Housekeeping Department is pleased with Sonja’s job performance, and has come to consider her a vital part of their team. MWSstl is proud of Sonja’s success, and wishes her many more years at Barnes!

Attendees included (from left to right) Brenda Mahr, Sonja Belle, Pamela Wilson, and Jesse Lane (not pictured).

United Way Allocates Funds for 201360654_553041704709933_1140180466_n

Employment Connection Awarded $450,015 for Employment Program
We are happy to report the community contributed $72,019,850 to support a strong system of quality agencies in our region during the United Way Campaign.  As a proud member of the United Way Family of agencies, we receive our allocation from the Basic Needs & Economic Opportunity Panel.  It is with appreciation to all who give so generously through the United Way that I report we were awarded an allocation of $450,015 to support our Competitive Employment Program, including a new position of Online Career Specialist to monitor our Directed Job Search Resource Center.

As a recipient of United Way funding, we are closely monitored by volunteers who carefully assess our services throughout the year.  They use their collective knowledge to assure we demonstrate achievement of the United Way’s Quality Standards.  In a letter from Dayna Stock, Chair of the Community investment Committee, EC was commended for our dedication to the delivery of quality human services in the region.

For more information about the United Way of Greater St. Louis, visit their website at:

Veterans helping VeteransKennedy Davis

Vet Court Computer Clinic Recognized for Excellence

Housed in the offices of EC, the Vet Court Computer Clinic was recently recognized for excellence by the Missouri General Assembly. Kennedy Davis, Vet Court Computer Clinic Director, was recognized by Chief Justice Richard B. Teitelman of the Missouri Superior Court at a meeting of the Missouri State Assembly in Jefferson City on January 23. He was singled out for his successful emergence from the Veterans Court program, and for starting the Vet Court Computer Clinic. In his remarks, the Chief Justice stated: "Now we now have three regional treatment courts serving the unique needs of our military veterans. One success story is Kennedy, who served in the Army in the 1980s and who, a decade later, fell into drug and alcohol abuse, leading to multiple arrests. Kennedy graduated from the St. Louis Veteran’s Treatment Court this past September, and now coordinates a computer clinic to help others in that program learn basic computer skills. The treatment court was his key to freedom from addiction and crime. Let’s salute Kennedy, who is here with us today."

Our congratulations to Mr. Davis for this achievement!

Pictured above (from left to right) are Mr. Davis and Woody Powell, President of local Chapter 61 of Veterans for Peace.
vetcourtVeterans helping veterans is the core mission of the Veterans Court Computer Clinic, a clinic housed at Employment Connection's location. The clinic was started by Veteran Drug Court veterans bootstrapping themselves and setting up a computer clinic intended to help veterans learn basic computer skills, and prepare them for today’s hiring markets. The clinic has grown to include non-veterans in need of those same skills, and has become a true community service, led by veterans. The clinic is co-sponsoring by Veterans For Peace, the St. Louis Veterans Court under Commissioner James E. Sullivan, and Employment Connection.

For more information on the Vet Court Computer Clinic, visit their website at:

Volunteers Make a Difference

Groups Volunteer Valuable Time at Employment Connection

We're always excited to have individuals and groups from the local community  and organizations come in and volunteer their time at Employment Connection. Here are a few pictures of wonderful groups that have come in the past few months to help out!

Express Scripts
These two groups worked on a variety of
administrative and cleaning tasks around our offices.

These four intrepid volunteers volunteered on a project
in our basement, sorting and shredding old documents.

This fantastic group came in at the last minute to help
our with our Toys for Tots Campaign before Christmas.

Herbert Russell
Herbert spent the fall semester at Employment Connection,
helping out the Development Department as an intern.
These are just a few of the many volunteers that give their time each week. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts, to everyone who volunteers.  You help keep Employment Connection running smoothly, and are our greatest resource in assisting others to self-sufficiency!

schnucksSupport Self-Sufficiency while you Shop

Schnucks' eScrip Program makes Each Purchase Count
Do you know about the Schnucks eScrip program? When you shop at Schnucks, Employment Connection can receive up to 3% of the dollars you spend at Schnucks wach month, and it doesn't cost you anything, beyond what you're buying already!

Just ask for an eScrip card at the customer service counter at any Schnuck's location, and then register your card online or by phone at (800)931-6258. You'll need the Employment Connection group ID number, which is 500015219.   Once your card is registered, just have it scanned each time you shop at Schnucks, and Employment Connection will receive up to 3% of your monthly food purchases. 

Why not give it a try? It's easy, quick, and free, and every dollar goes to help others!

GED Class Orientation Schedule
March through May 2013
Each orientation session starts at 1:00 pm.  The orientation is from 1 pm to 4 pm.  New students must attend each orientation day to be enrolled in the class.  For more information, please call (314) 333-5613.

  March 2013   4th,5th,6th,and 7th
  April 2013   8th, 9th, 10th, and 11th
  May 2013   6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th
In this issue:


Our Mission:

"Assisting Individuals with limited opportunities to self-sufficiency."

More Information:

(314) 333-JOBS (5627)

Have you shown your support for Employment Connection yet this year?

Give the gift of
self-sufficiency today!
We can't do it without you!

To donate by mail:
 Employment Connection
2838 Market Street
St. Louis, MO 63103
Checks payable to:
Employment Connection

Proud Member of the United Way of Greater St. Louis 

Employment Connection
is proud to be an
A+ Accredited Charity


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Have questions about donations or volunteer opportunities?



John Robertson
Development Associate

(314) 333-5645

Is your business in need of high-quality, work-ready employees?
Managed Work Services
of St. Louis
can help!

For more information,  contact:


Jesse Lane
MWSstl Site Supervisor
(314) 333-5600

Board of Directors
Jerod D. Luhning , Esq.
Rabbit, Pitzer & Snodgrass
Vice President
Prevost V. Foushee
Anheuser-Busch, retired
Al Sears
Buckingham Asset
Roy Anderson, Jr.
Clear Channel
Marti Bloodsaw
HR Performance Strategies
J. Scott Clark
Ralcorp Holdings, Inc.
Karen Davis
Community Frameworks, LLC
Bill B. Dorothy II, Esq.
Washington University
School of Law
Vanessa Howard Ellis, Esq.
Office of the
Attorney General
Rodney Gee
Edward Jones
Michael Novack
Jennifer Price, Esq.
Thompson Coburn LLP
Ryan Rakestraw
Washington University
Olin Business School
Walter Robinson
Human Resource Consultant
Lisa Shelley
Client Advocate/Veteran
Frank A. Simmons
Information Systems
Williams Watkins
Watkins Building
Group, LLC

Founding Members
Charles Newman, Esq.

David Lander, Esq.

Administrative Staff

Chief Executive Officer
Brenda Mahr

Chief Operating Officer
David Kessel

Welcome New Staff Members!

Frances Washington
Career Coach, Youth

Funded by:
City of St. Louis/SLATE


Jessica Aldag
Career Specialist
Ex-Offender Employment

Funded by:
Lutheran Foundation


Whittnee Jones
Career Specialist
Illinois TANF and SNAP

Funded by:
Illinois Dept. of Human Services


Darron Collins-Bey
Online Career Specialist

Funded by:
United Way of Greater St. Louis
and Father's Support Center


Catherine Hawkins
Housing Specialist
Project Homecoming

Funded by:
U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development, through the St. Louis County Department of Human Services


Joe James
Housing Specialist
Project Homecoming - Veterans

Funded by:
U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development, through the St. Louis City Department of Human Services


Alexandra Smith
Housing Specialist

Emily Woodruff
Housing Specialist

Funded by:
U.S. Dept. of Labor, through St. Patrick Center


Adam Charles
Career Specialist

Ron Tedder
Career Specialist

Funded by:
U.S. Dept. of Labor - Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program (HVRP), through the St. Louis City Department of Human Services


Meredith McDuffie
Site Supervisor
Managed Work Services of St. Louis

John Robertson
Development Associate

Welcome New Interns!

Valeri Anukem
Saint Louis University Clinical Psychology Ph.D. Candidate
Back to Health, Back to Work

Christina Brewington
University of Missouri St. Louis Social Work Undergraduate
Back to Health, Back to Work

Tracy Murry
Saint Louis University Clinical Psychology Ph.D. Candidate
Back to Health, Back to Work

Funded by:
St. Louis Mental Health Board

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Employment Connection
2838 Market Street
St. Louis, MO 63103

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