By Gam Caldwell

I started working with Jack and his wife, Jerry, as a referral from SonomaWORKS,  the welfare-to-work program that provides  employment assistance, training and services to families receiving temporary financial aid.

Jack was, at first, sent to do 35 hours per week in the Intensive Job Search program. He wanted to work at Safeway in Guerneville, as he had worked there the previous year.  He told me that he had gotten behind in union dues and he was terminated.

We worked together on his resume, cover letter and then filled out the lengthy Safeway on-line application. He got through the interview and passed the drug test.  Then he was told he had not passed the background check. He brought in the documents that Safeway had sent him and I went on-line and discovered that the reason he hadn’t passed the background check was due to an outstanding warrant surrounding an unpaid traffic fine.

I counseled Jack to pay a visit to Legal Aid and request their help.  He did so, and Legal Aid actually paid his outstanding fines. Legal Aid counseled Jack to go to “walk-in” Court and turn himself him to the Judge. He did so and along with his paid fines, the Judge determined his warrant was “cleared” and he was free to go.

I then wrote a letter to Safeway and explained the situation and pleaded with the hiring manager to give Jack another chance. They did and he has been working, successfully, for the past year.

In addition to getting the job at Safeway, Jack and Jerry were able to complete the Rent Right workshops through Catholic Charities and, as a result, received the first, last, and deposit for a place to live. They, with their 15 year-old daughter, have subsequently moved out of the camper in a local trailer park into their own place.