Community reactions to the many recent shooting focus upon police presence and calls from the black community to reason--to stop black-on-black crime. A councilman may make an appearance and TV crews may come. These interventions may help and inform, but don't address a core problem of unemployment. Issues in the inner city are so inter-rooted, that wherever a problem is addressed, there are always prior and related issues, but failing to do anything--paralysis--is failure by definition.
What are the hurdles to employment? Among them are having no high shool diploma or GED, no transportation, a criminal record, and especially having a felony or violent misdemeanor. Recently I talked to man at the Westside, apparently in his mid-twenties, who had never had a job--had never "worked." Added to this is a fear of more failure, of more rejection by prospective employers. Counter-balancing is fear of child-support court, with power to jail for failure to pay child support. Hopelessness and an acute awareness of employment deficiences combine to create a pressure cooker, released sometimes by violence and criminal activity to obtain money.
Recently we've assisted two men by creating resumes, printing out as many copies as they'd like, providing a digital copy on CD, and sending resumes to prospective employers. We're also developing relationships with new potential employers who will give favorable consideration to our recommendations. The Lord has enabled RMNI to locate jobs for two friends at a factory run by Christians. I failed to monitor their job performance, and they were both eventually fired--one after perhaps six months and the other after almost a year. In response, we've developed scriptural teachings on how to succeed at work. One is principles of success from the Book of Proverbs and another is God's perspective on work. We provide this information to prospective hires. We intend to follow and encourage folks who are hired and to pray for them.
Jobs are not the key issue to us. Developing a relationship with God in Christ is that. Earning money isn't the key issue, as money can be misused. But working is obedience to God, dating all the way back to God's command to Adam to work the Garden.