Pomona’s efforts on behalf of the homeless expanded this semester with the launch of the Pomona Employment Partners (PEP) initiative by the Draper Center for Community Partnerships. It’s the newest of three programs that make up the Center’s Hunger and Homelessness Initiative.
Unlike its sister programs—the Food Recovery Network and the Homelessness Action Team—which focus on such urgent needs as food and shelter, PEP will focus on long-term solutions by connecting the homeless with actual employment opportunities.
Co-directed by Sophie Roe ’19 and Marisol Diaz ’18, the program will combine the work of job researchers with that of on-site volunteers to locate possible job openings and help homeless clients create résumés and apply.
“Most employers don’t like being asked whether they do drug tests on applicants or whether they are felon-friendly,” job researcher Sarah Burch ’21 told Pomona’s student newspaper, The Student Life. “Coming out of jail definitely brings many barriers to getting a job. We try to find specific jobs that meet the needs of the homeless community, taking into account the obstacles that formerly incarcerated people have.”