Lunch @ Shirlington Employment & Education Center
Shirlington Employment Center (2701 South Nelson St. Arlington, VA. 22206)
SEEC was established in 2000 as an Arlington County program to match day laborers with employers who are in need of temporary labor. Potential workers who have the skills and background required are referred to employers who then negotiate over the working conditions and wages. Work performed varies from construction to yard work, domestic services to handy man jobs. Almost all of the workers are men and most are Hispanic. SEEC also supports a new Green Housecleaning program that has been training immigrant women to clean homes and businesses using green house cleaning products. A more recent initiative
is to provide technical workshops and assistance for educating immigrants on how to develop a proper business plan in order to start their own businesses. This was supported by Rock’s Spring Community Grant of $5,000 for 2015
Five years ago Rock Spring joined other local churches that provide regular lunches to serve between 20-60 workers depending on the season and to deliver it to the site on S. Nelson Street where the workers wait to get jobs. YoRS took on this commitment bimonthly during the 2012-13 school year and have continued to the present. On Sunday night YoRS prepares a Hispanic meal including tamales, enchiladas, purposes, tamale casserole. As their enthusiasm grows, so does their cooking skill. On alternate months other Rock Spring members or groups such as Sacred Circles prepare or buy lunch for SEEC workers. Last year the “Safe Haven” group began preparing an additional meal for the SEEC workers each month and now our service has grown to provide meals on the second and third Tuesday of each month.
While Rock Spring helps support the needs of workers by providing food and clothing, the real goal is to employ these workers so they can become proudly self sustaining members of the our community. This means hiring the workers so that they can eventually become self-employed. Last June in a special ceremony Rock Spring was presented the Emily DiCicco award for their work assisting the immigrant population by Leni Gonzalez, Chair of the SEEC Board of Directors.
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