“Unemployment: How Faith Communities Help Job Seekers,” a CBS religion special about how the unemployed are being helped by faith communities, will be broadcast Sunday, April 10, on CBS affiliates.  

The program is produced in collaboration with the National Council of Churches, Islamic Society of North America, Union for Reform Judaism, New York Board of Rabbis and a consortium of Roman Catholic organizations.

John P. Blessington is executive producer and Liz Kineke is the producer. The half-hour special is one of four produced each year by CBS in partnership with the Interfaith Broadcasting Commission, whose president is Wesley “Pat” Pattillo of the National Council of Churches.

Given the current jobless rate and overwhelming numbers of unemployed workers, many faith communities have created programs to assist people with their job searches and job retraining.  

Faith communities acknowledge that faith and prayer have to be aided by training and greater market awareness to help increase employment rates. The special shows how many experienced and compassionate people of faith are helping today’s job seekers.

The CBS special visits the Career Transition Center of Chicago (CTC), where one such program offers professional, spiritual and emotional support to those looking for work or undergoing a career transition.  CTC was founded in 1997 primarily by the United Methodist, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic and Episcopal communities.  

The program features interviews with Executive Director Anita Jenke and David Kaiser, a life coach volunteer at the center, as well as those currently using the CTC’s outplacement services.

In Chicago, the special also visits St. Chrysostom’s Employment Council, which dates back to the 1980s. Viewers will see a workshop entitled “Improving With Improv: Presenting Your Best Self through Humor and Spontaneity,” led by Bina Martin, a teacher at Chicago’s famed Second City Improv.

While there, viewers will also hear from the Rev. Larry Green, a deacon at the church, and Michael Cade, a parishioner and volunteer who oversees the Employment Council's monthly meetings.   

Up next is New York City’s Riverside Church, which offers a free six-week barber training program. Since 1997, master barber Dennis F. Thomas has trained nearly 2,000 people in the basics of barbering. The special explores the church program’s practical results by visiting with some of its graduates at work, and speaking with Debra Northern, director of social services for Riverside Church.

The special’s final stop is St. James, a Roman Catholic Parish in Stratford, CT, where the Rev. Paul Sherry, program director of the Chicago-based “Interfaith Workers for Justice” (IWJ) talks about the realities of unemployment, lending a deeper sense of need to the practical efforts now offered by local churches.

IWJ is an advocacy group that addresses related issues of wages, benefits and working conditions. Local IWJ programs help support job seekers with new skills as well as insights as to what employers are seeking today.

Viewers should check with their local CBS station for the exact air time of the special in their area.