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The latest graduating students reside at the Deer Ridge Correctional Facility in Madras.

SUBMITTED PHOTO - Deer Ridge graduates showing their compltion certificates are, from back left, David, Blake, instructor Charitie Lansing, and Robert. In front, Zacheria, left and Angel.The Jobs for Life program in Jefferson County celebrated the graduation of its ninth class on Dec. 12.

Instructor Charitie Lansing attended a conference, then brought the program to Jefferson County in 2015. The latest graduating students reside at the Deer Ridge Correctional Facility in Madras.

"This class is why we have the Jobs for Life Program in Jefferson County and now several more sites in the state of Oregon. This is our fourth class from Deer Ridge and I am excited that, hopefully, more will graduate in the years to come," Lansing said.

The mission of the Jobs for Life program is "Restoring Dignity, Changing Lives, Transforming Communities."

The students shared the following comments about why they took the class and what they got out of it:

Angel: I am grateful for Jobs for Life due to the fact that it has furthered my education so I can be a better functioning member of society and an asset in God's plan to further his purpose of redemption.

I once walked aimlessly, you could say, and without a sense of direction. Thanks to Jobs for Life, I am able to write a resume. I have learned that obtaining more skills raises the value that is placed on me as an individual who can be an asset to the employer I work for, which in the long run will equal higher wages and adequate compensation for a satisfied employer. God is rich in knowledge and wishes the same for us. Take of his (wisdom) and prosper, Proverbs 3:13-18, was a verse that spoke to me about wisdom.

Robert: Our instructor started us on a journey to develop the character and skills needed to be successful in finding meaningful employment. I learned there are a good many parables and lessons in the Bible that can help us put our life in order and build our character so as to make ourselves successful in life and work.

I learned it is important to put the work and effort into not only developing your skills and character but to develop a meaningful relationship with God and not to be afraid to ask his help along the way. I also learned how to make a successful resume to introduce myself to employers and to effectively communicate with my employer and fellow employees to make myself more successful.

Brass: What I took away from Jobs for Life was how scripture is tied into work life. I had never thought to look to scripture for attitudes and behaviors to help getting a job and while on the job. I have experiences with having a job, but I have always struggled with interviews. A couple of things I learned to overcome this difficulty is the five Ps, which are power position, posture, poise, pleasant thoughts and to practice.

Understanding how others can interpret my appearance and behaviors gives me a better chance of getting a job. I also learned that I can take a moment to gather my thoughts before answering a question. Before, I felt pressured to answer as soon as possible.

David: I would say the class was a success in providing me with an understanding of strengths and weakness that I was looking for. I particularly liked the way this course uses a significant amount of biblical teachings as object lessons related to overcoming obstacles, dealing with detours, character building and attributes.

Blake: What I got out of the Jobs for Life program was much more than I expected. Coming into the class, I had very little confidence in my ability to speak in front of others. As we had 60-second "commercials" weekly, I became more comfortable in my own skin. Most importantly, I learned to have confidence in being myself, the man that God made me to be.

Lansing noted, "Each class brings a different amount of backgrounds and potential roadblocks, and having the right tools to reduce or eliminate roadblocks is powerful. I am grateful for the opportunity to bring a great global course to the men of DRCI and people of Jefferson County. I think they have the tools to keep up the good work that I know they can do."

The Jobs for Life program is a 12-week course. Each student has to purchase his workbook and to do so sometimes is hard, but it is a lifetime investment into who they are and who their identity is in and how that translates into their jobs and families.

The Jobs for Life program is under the umbrella of the nonprofit Jefferson County Faith-Based Network which is a nonprofit 501C3.

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