Work for workers: Program to connect unemployed, underemployed with work projects
SHEPHERDSTOWN — As businesses have had to close or limit their hours, due to the spread of the coronavirus, many of them have been forced to make budget cuts by eliminating jobs or decreasing employee work hours.
For the many people who have been effected by these cutbacks, making ends meet for themselves and their families will become increasingly difficult throughout the remainder of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many workers do not have enough money saved up to help them through the possible months this pandemic may last, and need to be able to work to make up the difference.
Local businesswoman and artist Annie Wisecarver is organizing a Work for Workers program, to connect skilled workers with people who need odd jobs done outside of their living space. According to Shepherdstown Visitors Center Director Marianne Davis, the idea took form in the minds of the Shepherdstown Shares leaders, but needed a leader like Wisecarver to make it happen.
“Annie has raised her hand and agreed to coordinate all of the clients with the workers. She’s doing a wonderful job — she’s another example of someone who heard of Shepherdstown Shares and raised her hand and said, “How can I help?” Davis said. “It’s already working really well, and we’ve set up eight or 10 people already, and it’s been in operation for one day. I’m so pleased!”
Davis explained that the operation needs both skilled workers whose work has been deemed essential by the government, such as gardeners, painters, carpenters and plumbers, and clients with non-contact jobs, for the Work for Workers program to make a difference in the economic welfare of the community. Two applications are available by messaging Davis on Facebook. The first application is limited to independent contractors who live in the 25443 zip code, and gives room for the applicant “to provide information about their skills and what kind of tools they have to get done the job.” The second application is for potential clients, who do not need to live in the 25443 zip code, to list the job they need completed.
“We’re perfectly happy to take applications from clients who are outside of 25443. So far, we have several clients in Martinsburg and one in Sharpsburg,” Davis said, mentioning clients will be able to screen workers through looking at their applications, before hiring them.
“We’re trying to hook up independent contractors with the people who need them. It’s up to the user to determine if a contractor is a good fit,” Davis said. “I think we are being reminded right now of how much we need each other. I think we might be reminded of our shared humanity through all of this.”
For more information, contact Davis on Facebook.