A partnership arises to put Wilmington back to work

 (Nichelle Polston/WHYY)

(Nichelle Polston/WHYY)

Community groups and city officials are working together in an effort to get jobs for unemployed Wilmington residents.

On Thursday, the Bayard Square Neighborhood Association, Westside Grows Together and City Council members Sherry Dorsey Walker and Robert Williams hosted a career orientation for residents in Wilmington’s West End neighborhood.

Representatives of Local Union 55 were invited to speak to men and women interested in construction and carpentry.

“There’s a lot of construction going on in Wilmington, and if they’re willing to join the fight, we will be right alongside them trying to get a livable wage so people can support their families,” said Martinique Costa, an organizer for Local 55.

West End resident Mark Johnson was among the crowd. He’s been searching for work for over a year.

“I’ve been working since I was 14 years old, I’m 45 years old now, I’m not used to not having a job,” Johnson said.

Johnson attributed the lack of local jobs to city crime. In fact,on Thursday evening, two shootings were reported. Shortly after 6 p.m. a 24-year-old man was shot in the chest in the Trinity Vicinity section of Wilmington. In a separate incident that occurred shortly thereafter, a 25-year-old woman was shot in the leg as she walked down the 2700 Block of Bowers Street.

“If more people get to work, it could cut back on crimes happening in the city,” Johnson said.

Meanwhile, unemployed 20-year-old Daniel Cooper said that although his two-year job search hasn’t produced any positive results just yet, he found the session very informative.

“I plan on following up on everything they want me to do so I can put myself in a better situation,” Cooper said.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.