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Nonprofit group starts Arizona's first mobile job search office

St. Joseph the Worker's RV used for mobile job searching is shown. (KTAR photo/Bob McClay)

AVONDALE, Ariz. -- Many people have trouble looking for a job because they don't have a computer or a way to get to a library to use one. So one Valley group has found a way to bring them some tools to help their search.

Donald Mitchell said he needs a job.

"(I want a job in) media, video production, audio production," he said.

So he showed up Tuesday at an RV that had set up shop in an Avondale parking lot. It belongs to a group called St. Joseph the Worker.

"St. Joseph the Worker, for 25 years, has been helping homeless and low-income individuals obtain and maintain employment," said Candace Sherwood, marketing coordinator for St. Joseph the Worker.

But the group realized there was an issue.

"In order to obtain our services, you had to come to us. For many people, that was a challenge," Sherwood said.

About a year ago, the group came up with an idea, she said.

"Let's go to them. Let's take our services where there's a greatest need," said Sherwood.

With the help of a $200,000 grant from Bank of America, the nonprofit group was able to renovate a 39-foot-long 2003 Newmar Kountry RV. The staff calls it their "Mobile Success Unit." It has four computers, Wi-Fi and open desk space for job seekers.

"Individuals can job search. They can apply online. We have a job developer that can sit down, look over their resume and make sure it's well-crafted, and give them the tools and resources," Sherwood said.

If someone gets a job interview, you'll find tools on board the RV that can help them achieve success.

"You'll find professional clothing, a razor, deodorant and a bus pass," she said.

Mitchell said he is impressed by St. Joseph the Worker and its Mobile Success Unit.

"They're good at what they do. They're honest and they're not ripping people off," Mitchell said. "They're not just taking social security numbers and names and making you promises. If you want a job, they will help you find a job."

Mitchell hopes that happens to him, he added.

The RV is now hitting the road to help job seekers at 18 locations around the Valley. Click here for more information about St. Joseph the Worker and its mobile locations.

About the Author

Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I live in north Phoenix with my wife Rene' and my son Devin.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: My Dad took me to see Jimmy Dean at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in the 1960's. It was before the Coliseum was built. The only thing I remember is Jimmy Dean singing his big hit "Big Bad John."

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Shiloh Community Church in Phoenix. Devin is a high school student at Scottsdale Christian Academy. He plays on the baseball, football, and basketball teams and sings in the choir. Obviously, we keep busy trying to go to all his events! We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and long road trips. We like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.


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