Houselessness is an issue that plagues many American. In Michigan
, 8,206 people were experiencing houselessness and an estimated 11% of them were unsheltered Many factors contribute to a lack of home, one being unemployment or underemployment.
Knowing the prevalence of people being unhoused in Michigan, many people and organizations are stepping up to help. A great example of this is the recent partnership between Sharon Rose Hayward
, Owner and Founder of Winning at Work and Degage Ministries
to bring a workforce training initiative to unhoused women. This initiative is especially important to Hayward as she has a personal connection.
Courtesy of Sharon Rose Hayward
“I grew up in a really turbulent household. My sister and I had a plan to run away. We were going to live in this little place that we found over in a warehouse district, and I was just one step away from, you know, living on the streets” says Hayward
However, Hayward was able to overcome the challenges of her youth. As a former corporate leader and current life and career coach, she has a great deal of experience with the discrepancies and discrimination women can face in the workforce.
“Some people have started saying that the wage gap was addressed and solved in the '90s, but that’s a myth. Every year there's a measurement called equal payday, and it's the equivalent of what a woman would have to work to earn what a man does in twelve months. This year they found that a woman would have to work to is March 14, which meaning we work the first 12 months and then an additional two and a half months to earn what men do. For women of color equal payday is in September” says Hayward.
She has made it her life mission to provide women with the necessary tools to close the wage gap. In her book Winning at Work the book: A Practical Guide to Career Success
, Hayward lays out different avenues to success for women. This includes advice when putting together a resume, when getting ready for an interview, and overall figuring out what the ultimate goal with a new job is. She also provides advice when getting ready for performance reviews and how women can feel their value at work.
“Women are often afraid to speak up at work and talk about what they bring to the table,” says Hayward.
Through her expertise Hayward teaches women how to overcome those concerns and see the value in themselves in the workplace. Her partnership with Degage Ministries connects her vast knowledge in career success with those who need it most. She thought the population of unhoused women that they serve would be the perfect group to learn and bring value into the work place. From this idea, Working at Work 101: Foundations was born, a six week course presented to 5 inaugural participants.
“We had a worksheet that we went through each week during an hour long session and even though it's called Winning at Work the emphasis is on the foundation. We didn’t really go into a lot of specific work related skills, this really is more of building that foundation to deal with discouragement” says Hayward.
At the end of the program participants had many positive things to say. Many gave Winning at Work 101: Foundations a 9.5 out of 10. Building upon this success, Degage Ministries and Hayward have expanded their collaboration, by introducing an Advanced Course while enhancing the Foundations course to coach entry-level workers. But there is still more work that Hayward wants to do.
“I would love to see the expand into as many classes as possible. I also have an online master class. I want to continue volunteering my time and also expand into more of a corporate setting. it may not seem intuitive to corporations, but they want their employees to feel more confident and empowered because they will in turn perform better” says Hayward.
A quality job for many Americans is the difference between a stable home and being unhoused. The work of Hayward and Degage Ministries could make all of the difference for the women they serve. Winning at Work 101: Foundations could be just what they need to turn their housing situation around.
Enjoy this story? Sign up
for free solutions-based reporting in your inbox each week.