Community Helping Hands is thrilled to announce the hiring of Joalexis Martir as the new Workforce Development Coordinator. Having most recently worked for the YMCA Teen Center and the BPU, Mr. Martir comes with a tremendous amount of coaching and mentoring experience, as well as a passion for giving “a hand up.”

“Joalexis will be helping Community Helping Hands enhance what we already do in the area of workforce development and bring more structure and intentionality to our ministry” says Rev. Amy Rohler, Executive Director. “Not only will we be able to provide further opportunities for training and skill building, but because Joalexis is bilingual, we will be able to do a lot more for our spanish-speaking work experience participants.”

Rohler says that Community Helping Hands is committed to relationship-based workforce development and just this past year, received grants from four local foundations to pilot a program at the Gateway Center. Cummins, the Ralph C. Sheldon Foundation, the Chautauqua Regional Community Foundation and the Lenna Foundation all provided the funds for the program, which involves positive reinforcement, leadership and success skills training, consistent evaluation and feedback, and connecting participants to training opportunities throughout the community, but especially the ones located at the Gateway Center, such as those offered by the E2CC BOCES Adult Education or Mental Health Association.

“I think we’re uniquely positioned to help individuals become more employable because of the relationships we have with them, and because we very intentionally make them feel like part of our team here,” says Rohler. Community Helping Hands is one of the largest site where Chautauqua County Health and Human Services sends their clients on public assistance for work experience. The Resource Center, Chautauqua Works, Aspire and the Olmsted Center for Vision Rehabilitation also send clients for work experience at the Thrift Store, Furniture Showrooms, Warehouse and offices of Community Helping Hands. On average, 100-120 individuals per year are referred to the site for work experience. Rohler says their goal is to improve the employability of these participants, and one of the key components of the program is to collect the data to prove it. “We’re working with E2CC BOCES Adult Education here at the Gateway Center to give our participants access to local employers, additional training and certifications and generally help them build their skills, confidence and resume to make them successful at finding a job, and more importantly, keeping it.”

Martir, as the Workforce Development Coordinator for this innovative program, will be equal parts human resources and coach. “I’m thrilled to be here and feel strongly that God has prepared me for this role through my various life experiences,” says Martir. “My passion is developing people and their gifts.”