Meet our North Tryon Shelter’s employment specialist, Issac Cochran. Issac’s journey with case management began with the Charlotte Area Fund working as a case manager and workforce development lead. As he continued to support the community in ways beyond his position, he found himself at Roof Above helping guests get prepared for the workforce.
“My day starts from the moment my car pulls into the parking lot”, Issac says, “I find myself answering all types of questions – my goal is to be ready to help where it is needed.”
Issac meets between 15 and 20 guests a day. Guests come seeking employment or to improve their work status through understanding what jobs they’re eligible for, and workplace readiness. In their search, many guests face barriers when seeking and maintaining employment. These barriers can range from criminal history to not having a permanent residence, but the number one reason is due to many guests not having an ID or a social security card.
Because of these barriers, Issac supports guests in a number of ways – one way is taking guests to interviews. “I take them because I want to show the employer that Roof Above supports them”, says Issac. “For our guests, it’s the confidence of knowing that they have someone who supports them.” Issac has committed himself to taking guests to interviews, making sure they can get to their first day of work through Uber or Lyft, and making sure individuals can access bus passes.
Issac often connects local area employers with guests whilst cultivating relationships with his many contacts. “I have contacts with the airport, the hospital, maintenance companies, and folks looking for drivers.”
One guest that Issac worked closely with stands out, “There was someone at the shelter that was chronically homeless for 4-5 years and had a masters in communications. After losing his job and experiencing disappointment in the job market, he struggled to work again. I worked with him for some time and we were able to land him a job in the sales department for Target.”
These victories are not without the hard work of our staff, volunteers and employer partners. In 2021, the shelter connected 51 people to employment and because of the hard work of our community, the number continues to increase.
From career fairs to resume writing sessions, we are excited to continue to connect those we serve with resources. “ We teach the guys to use the computers, how to search for jobs, and more. Our volunteers really help out a lot with resume help, food stamps, vouchers, and disability forms,” said Issac.
We are beyond grateful for the work that our employment team does to connect our guests with the proper resources. If you are an employer interested in hosting a hiring event, you can reach out to us by visiting: www.roofabove.org/contact-us