Deseret Industries (DI) is a thrift store and donation center owned and operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Most importantly, it is a job training facility. DI provides community members a place to donate and buy used items while funding job training services and programs for associates. “DI is about helping individuals gain confidence and job skills in a safe environment while earning a wage in our job training program,” says Daniel Holm, manager of retail operations.
Each year, DI employs thousands of associates in their job training program who are working to overcome employment challenges and achieve their career goals. “This training program changes lives. Individuals get personalized help in overcoming their barriers to gainful employment and receive additional education and skills training they can use for the rest of their lives,” says Daniel Holm.
At the beginning of their employment with DI, each associate enrolls in the “Ready for Work” program—a 13-week job skills training—and is paired with a qualified job coach. These coaches work side by side with associates, helping them set and fulfill career goals in their field of interest. In addition to this course, the job training program also includes on-site skills workshops, professional counseling, financial assistance for outside coursework and certifications, and individualized job search help. Each associate receives help personalized to their needs and goals. After completing the DI program, associates continue on to become CNAs, realtors, machinists, teachers, commercial truck drivers, and more.
With the help of the DI job training program, Lori overcame employment hardship. She had been homeless and addicted to drugs, and she had ended up in jail. She struggled to rebuild her life. “I saw myself as a felon and a failure, and it made finding a job very difficult. I felt hopeless, but DI gave me a chance when nobody else would,” says Lori.
While working at Deseret Industries, Lori participated in on-site job workshops and took classes at a local college. “At DI, not once did anyone treat me as a felon or a failure, but as a fellow human being,” she says.
Lori works as a full-time job coach at Deseret Industries, helping individuals like herself find confidence and success. Recently she also purchased a home. “I never would have expected it, but I went from homeless to homeowner in nine years,” says Lori proudly.
Likewise, Sudipa has created a better life for herself and her family with the help of DI. When Sudipa moved from Nepal to the United States, navigating a new culture while trying to support her growing family proved challenging. “It was like a whole new world [in the US]. It felt like we had to start over at life,” says Sudipa.
A friend introduced her to the DI job training program. With the help of Deseret Industries, Sudipa enrolled in dental assisting classes while also working in the store. Sudipa graduated at the top of her dental training program and quickly received a job as a dental assistant. “I love to do what I do. I am happy I can help support my family. Thank you, DI, for helping me to become independent again,” says Sudipa.
Latter-day Saint Charities, like Deseret Industries, believes that with the right support, individuals have the potential to create independent and self-reliant futures. When you shop or donate at Deseret Industries, you’re helping people in your community. If you or anyone you know could use help getting started in a new career, consider enrolling in the Deseret Industries job training program. Learn more at deseretindustries.org.