Abell Salutes: The Caroline Center

Salutes / Workforce Development

Preparing women for jobs by preparing them for life.

The Caroline Center is unique among job placement centers. Its ultimate mission, in common with many job placement programs, is to open the doors to the marketplace for disadvantaged women and to provide them with marketable skills. But the Caroline Center teaches its students to expect more of themselves, of their work, of their lives, their present and their future. The center gets into their lives earlier and remains in them longer.

Sister Pat McLaughlin, director of the center, says, “We believe that giving a woman a marketplace skill is only part of the picture in the business of successfully employing the disadvantaged. More than job placement, we work one on one to enhance the client’s self esteem. We’re like a family, helping a family member through the obstacles of life by providing childcare, remedial reading, free clothing appropriate to the professional world, and the services of a social worker, a pastoral counselor, and caring alumni. We provide this support for as long as we feel it takes to keep clients functioning, to get them on their feet and keep them there, in the marketplace and in the home.”

With help from a $100,000 grant from The Abell Foundation, the center’s results are confirming the program’s promise. Of the 269 women admitted into the program, 83 are now gainfully employed, and 53 are in the program’s educational system and on the way to becoming candidates for employment. Typical employment situations include: remittance clerk at First National Bank; Parent Education Recruiter, Johns Hopkins
University; clerk at Ferris Baker Watts; Patient Care Advocate at Sinai Hospital. About 133 candidates, or 50%, left the program on their own or were asked to leave.

The Abell Foundation salutes the Caroline Center and its director, Sister Pat McLaughlin, for creating and maintaining a program that provides employment and family support for many who, without the Caroline Center, would have prospects for neither.