Flint, MI—Multiple local organizations are coming together to host ‘March into Employment,’ an event offering training and resources for Flint’s job-seeking returning citizens.

The event will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 18 at Higher Quality of Life Church, located at 5601 N. Saginaw St. in Flint.

According to Todd Womack, a program manager in the social work department at the University of Michigan-Flint and one of the event’s organizers, attendees can expect a series of “micro workshops” aimed at advancing returning citizens’ skills in job hunting.

“There’s going to be these 25 to 30 minute micro workshops on resume writing, interview skills and soft skills—which is basically interpersonal communication skills,” Womack said.

The event came about as an extension of the Genesee County Sheriff’s I.G.N.I.T.E. program, Womack explained, which supports incarcerated individuals’ transition back to public life through education.

Womack said he’d learned about “wraparound services” necessary to further that mission, and that’s where Higher Quality of Life Church came in.

“I took upon myself, along with some of my colleagues, to meet with Pastor Wiggins and ask him how can we support [returning citizens] immediately,” Womack said.

For his part, Pastor Ronnie Wiggins of Higher Quality of Life Church said the event partnership  was a no-brainer.

“It was my own story,” Wiggins said of why he felt such programming was important. “I had been in prison several times.”

Wiggins explained he’d spent some of the early 90s in and out of the penal system, and it was only after he started pursuing education—gaining two associate’s degrees, a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree—that he broke out of the cycle. 

Now, he welcomes any opportunity to help others do the same.

“I believe that, academically and educationally, that individuals, if they go ahead and apply themselves and get focused, that no matter what your past history looks like, you can win and you can beat the odds,” Wiggins said. “And so we want to help people beat the odds.”

Saturday’s March into Employment event is hosted by Higher Quality of Life Church, the Office of the Genesee County Sheriff I.G.N.I.T.E. program, UM-Flint, Genesee Health System and the Community Foundation of Greater Flint.

Lunch will be provided by Flint’s own Charlie’s Smokin’ BBQ, and pre-registration is not required. Womack said workshop facilitators have space for roughly 50 attendees.

Kate is Flint Beat's associate editor. She joined the team as a corps member of Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms to report on under-covered issues....