Workers Center Successes

Workers Center Successes

Three months after opening, Herndon Official Workers Center cites resident, employer and worker support as reason for success.

The support of employers, workers, faith groups and non-profit organizations are just some of the factors that have contributed to the success of the Herndon Official Workers Center since its opening three months ago, according to a recent release by Project Hope & Harmony.

Joel Mills, Project Hope & Harmony executive council member, said the group does not plan to hold a press conference to release the information, but wanted residents to be aware of the success the site has experienced since its contentious December 2005 opening.

From December through February, two-thirds of the jobs offered to workers came from local homeowners, according to information provided by Project Hope & Harmony.

But, the recent warm weather resulted in an immediate upswing in hiring at the site. In its first 70 days in operation, the center recorded almost 1,000 hires.

During the first two weeks of March, requests for workers per day were approximately double that of February, resulting in nearly 80 percent more hires per day on average, according to Project Hope & Harmony.

Since the site has opened the workers have stepped into leadership roles and are taking on an organizational capacity by participating in the running of the site, according to the group. They assist in opening and closing the site, manage the worker sign-in area, help new workers get registered, volunteer for site clean-up duty and participate in daily announcements. They also participate in disciplinary actions and organize on- and off-site activities.

Workers have also formed a Governance Team, which meets every two weeks to discuss workers' concerns and operational issues. A number of workers also meet with Project Hope & Harmony's Community Advisory Board on a monthly basis to discuss community concerns.

While the center receives donations of winter coats and accessories, bikes, children's toys for workers' families, food and household items, the center recently received a financial donation of $10,000 from a local resident.

In its release Project Hope & Harmony broke down the number of employers visiting the site and the work they employed. Those numbers include:

* In the first one-and-a-half months 78 percent of all employers were homeowners;

* Among all employers, 80 percent were first-time users; the remaining 20 percent were repeat users;

* 40 percent of the jobs offered were help with moving and lifting; 16 percent were yard work/gardening/landscaping jobs; odd jobs and general labor made up 9 percent; 6 percent were painting jobs; other categories include digging, drywall, clean up and carpentry/decks/fencing;

* Less than 10 percent of the jobs lasted more than one day, while almost one-third of all jobs lasted one day. More than half of the jobs lasted between two to six hours.

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