With unemployment numbers on the rise, one local employment program is busier than ever helping people find jobs. The non-profit group, Phoenix Employment Ministry, has spent the last five years helping hundreds of people find a job, and more importantly, changing lives. Former client Michelle Fairbanks said, "I was in a situation, I had lost my identity and I had really lost all hope I was living day to day, I was living for my children." That was until she found Phoenix Employment. "It's a place to let all of the bad out and receive positive good things in your life that make you stronger and more capable of being independent," said Fairbanks. Don Skinner started Phoenix Employment in 2003. He had lost his job and wanted a way to make a living and help others in the process. His idea was a success. "We teach people how to find their own job. So many employers, there's been almost 200, don't know we exist because they don't ever meet us," said Skinner. Skinner's clients get help with telephone and interview skills and putting together a resume. Skinner said, "We have computers for them to use, access to the internet and telephones, which aren't available in the shelters, and transportation because many of them don't have it." Just a few months after Fairbanks started going to the center, she found a job, and she didn't have to go far. "I just helped other clients and in doing that, there was an opening here and Don Skinner decided to hire me, and I couldn't have been happier, and now I'm able to share what happened to me with others," said Fairbanks. She said her experience, was life changing. Fairbanks said, "I was hopeless and now I have hope. I am now everything I didn't know I could be and needed to be." The program is free and works with people who are sober and homeless or nearly homeless. The Phoenix Employment Ministry is located at 20 North 4th Street in downtown Wilmington. For more information call the center at 910-262-5786 or visit their website. The director of the center just won an award from UNCW for being The Public Servant of the Year.
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