In approximately 1991, several Ben Hill United Methodist Church (BHUMC) members became unemployed. A couple of members went to Rev. Dr. Cornelius Henderson to express concern and the need to have a ministry to address those in need of jobs. It was Rev Dr. Cornelius Henderson that pinned the name “Those In Between Jobs.” On a Tuesday night, three men attending a “Brother to Brother” meeting announced they had just been laid off. The “Brothers” then committed to helping them find another job.
Eldridge Stephens was the chairperson of Social Concerns. He invited three human resources professionals, including Marilyn Santiago to come and talk to the “unemployed.” This meeting was open to the entire church body. The meeting was such a success, that they asked Marilyn Santiago to come back the next week to talk about resumes… which she did… every week for five years. With the help of the Brother to Brother Bible Study, George Johnson, Carl McNair, Harold Bell and many others…TIBS grew to one of the most thriving, inclusive and impactful ministries in the church and community. People began telling people. Announcements about our meetings held on Tuesdays at 7:00 pm were featured on TV, radio, community boards, books and newspapers without anyone from TIBS placing the information. God was in control!
TIBS grew to become nationally known. Every May the TIBS job fair held at BHUMC drew over 400 people from all over the country looking for jobs… at the time that was an over whelming number of job seekers. Sixty-five (65) hiring employers filled the fellowship halls on a Saturday each year, hiring people on the spot, weeks later and up to a year later. Hundreds of people became employed with companies like Coca Cola, Chick Fil-a, Georgia Power, Southern Company, MCI, Delta, and various smaller thriving organizations. Some of those job seekers are in those same jobs today. A roomful of Human Resources professionals critiqued resumes of job fair attendees for free! Several workshops were conducted by top names in the community on resume writing, interviewing and job search strategies. We were ahead of our time by offering worshops like “how to find a job on the internet” in the 90’s.
Several churches from around the city came to BHUMC to see what we were doing and went back and started their own job ministries: Mt. Paran, Roswell UMC, World Changers, New Birth, etc…
One of the most exciting accomplishments that occurred was that the jobseekers and supporters of the Ministry became a close-knit family. Those that were sick were visited and taken care of by the others. When job seekers became homeless, other jobseekers with houses took them in. When families were without food, other jobseekers bought them food. When job seekers needed transportation to interviews, other job seekers took them. This is the spirit of TIBS.
The TIBS scripture was/is Luke 22:31 which reads “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon that your faith may not fail. And when you turn back, strengthen your brothers.” And so, it is the main responsibility of every TIBS member to help strengthen someone else and to help someone else to find a job.
The most exciting accomplishment was that almost every Sunday, community jobseekers of TIBS came down front to the altar and accepted God as their Savior and joined BHUMC.
As time went on and people became committed in other areas and the “changing of the guards” continued, TIBS became “still.”
At a time when God was tugging at Marilyn Santiago’s heart to revive TIBS, George Johnson, Carl McNair, and Clara Green came to her independently, without knowing about the others plea, to encourage Marilyn to take the lead to restart TIBS. They promised to be a vital part of the Team should Marilyn take on this needed service. Marilyn had a brief conversation with Minister Baisden, who said “this is not going to let go of you, until you do what you are called to do.” She was right. And so TIBS was reborn. The new HR Team of Clara Green, George Johnson, Carl McNair, Denise Robinson and Shonda Lewis began in June 2008. They were later joined by Malika Johnson, and Althea Barnette. On August 19, 2008 the first TIBS meeting with job seekers was held with a panel of 10 Hr Professionals with the topic “How to find a job in Atlanta”. Since then, a few of our meeting topics have included: resume writing, interviewing, networking, job search A to Z, brand promotion, using the Internet, and what employers are seeking.
Here is a snap shot of some of our accomplishments since the rebirth of our jobseekers’ meeting on August 19,2008:
- To date, 600 people have crossed our meeting room doors for job search assistance… and the good news is that people are obtaining jobs!
- Hundreds of job leads from various friends, family, members, organizations and company sources have been shared with attending participants.
- We have developed an email address to receive job leads. In addition, TIBS has a job- listing e-mail address that we can send our jobseekers employment opportunities and allows jobseekers to share job leads with one another.
- We have developed relationships with companies such as Wachovia, Publix, Lowes, Waffle House, Air Serv, Macy’s, US Census Bureau… to name a few.
- Some of our Guest speakers have included:TIBS has a volunteer Human Resource Leadership Team of 7 professionals that is second to none. The Team has collectively over 100 years of HR experience and they come from various industries such as education, corporate , retail, employment agency, government, media, banking, distribution and manufacturing. (Marilyn Santiago, George Johnson, Carl McNair, Clara Green, Denise Robinson, Shonda Lewis, Malika Johnson and Althea Barnette)
- Georgia’s Department of Labor Commissioner Michael L. Thurmond
- Steve Hines, renown author of Atlanta Jobs
- Tom Franklin, Master Networker and VP of The Mulling Group.
- Tim White, HR Consultant and founder of the 1st black Human Resource organization called the Atlanta Human Resource Association. Today it is the largest chapter of the National Association of African Americans in Human Resources.
- Gerry Wilson, SVP of Coca Cola and Global President for the McDonald’s account. Author of Manage Brand YOU
- Jim Browning, one of the top national Networkers in LinkedIn , a Professional/Social Networking website.