How can just 12 weeks change a life? Christian Women’s Job Corps, or Women Equipped, is a new Christian-based ministry that strives to empower women through Christ for jobs and life. Under the leadership of Susie Everett, Kelly Cowden, Stephanie McDonald and Cindy Haltom, Saline County women now have a unique opportunity to equip women for life in a Christian context through career-focused classes, Bible study, and building meaningful relationships.
“Women Equipped is about relationships; we all are broken, and we need positive relationships to grow in life. First and foremost, a relationship with Christ, then relationships with others that cause us to grow,” says Susie Everett.
“I have been on the board of the Women’s Job Corp in Paragould. I knew it would be beneficial for Saline County but could not see how I would have the time and energy to pursue this ministry in my community. I did not feel called to launch Christian Women’s Job Corp until two and a half years ago. I was driving down South Street and somehow focused on New Beginnings Pregnancy Resource Center, and the ladies that come to this center, I thought, could benefit so much from this program. It was then that God laid it on my heart. At that moment I called a strong Christian friend and told him what I felt led to do in our county. Calling this friend helped me to stay accountable and pursue this task. I would never have attempted this ministry if I did not feel called by God,” Everett adds.
The program, in its first semester, provides participants with important life skills that promote community among women, provides educational and employment opportunities and most importantly, provides a place of faith, hope, and love. “We are so excited about the potential impact of Women Equipped. As a student’s life is mended, life choices are improved, and self-confidence grows. Then this can bleed over into the lives of their children, breaking a negative cycle and impacting families for generations to come!
“Our community will benefit from women who will have the potential of being outstanding, trustworthy, skilled employees. We are hoping our students will have many opportunities to obtain employment because of this training and graduation certificate,” explains Susie. Among other skill sets, Women Equipped offers development of communication, computer efficiency, resume writing, interview training, and self-confidence and self-sustainment.
There are specific classes to choose from including, Stepping Stones, Complete Guide to Money, A Long Walk to Water, Find Your Voice, Boundaries, 5 Love Languages of Children and Adulting 101. Women Equipped teachers will take participants step-by-step, chapter-by-chapter through these inspiring books with lecture, discussion and takeaways from each session. The Boundaries curriculum, written by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend, will help women have clear boundaries essential to a healthy, balanced lifestyle. The authors offer biblically-based answers to tough questions that show how to set healthy boundaries with parents, spouses, children, friends, co-workers and even ourselves.
Classes are free but all applicants must be 18 years or older, have a desire to make a change, be willing to participate in Bible study, commit to attend all classes, and have a willingness to work with the Women Equipped Leadership Team and teachers to achieve goals.
The first session offered for students began September 7. Classes are held on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Students may enroll through the month of September, but the sooner the student begins class the better the success will be, organizers say.
The next session begins in late January or February. The dates for the spring semester will be posted later, on the website. Contact Women Equipped early, as the maximum enrollment is only 15 students at one time. Classes are currently held at First Baptist Church in Benton, but spring classes will be held at 218 W. South Street in Benton (formerly the “old Care Clinic”), recently renovated for this ministry’s use.
Many Saline County residents have partnered with the Leadership Team and serve on the Board of Directors. They are Becky Fulcher, President; Luke Vance, Vice President; Trisha Stewart, Secretary; Melinda Armstrong; Treasurer; Traci Baugh, Lita Gattis, David Hendrix, Frances Raley, Michael Reese, Linda Smith and Edd Spurlock. “Women Equipped is incorporated and is a 501(c)(3) organization. The group has more than 50 volunteers, and no one receives compensation for what they have done or will do.”
There is an abundance of opportunities to get involved in this valuable ministry including positions in hospitality, teaching, becoming a journey partner, and office administration. And because Women Equipped is a non-profit, financial donations are always needed.
If you would like more information, or to enroll in 2022 classes, visit womenequippedsaline.org
or send an email toinfowomenequippedsaline.org.