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Vocational Development

A Foundation for the Future

Vocational Development at City Union Mission, also known as “Mission Works”, is an integrated, essential part of our long-term programming. It is founded on a Theology of Work curriculum which describes the high, biblical view of vocation and the essential character traits to pursue it successfully.

Program participants begin by considering their giftings and interests as the concept of vocation (calling) is built in their lives. From these exploratory beginnings, an educational and training plan is pursued.

Mission Works is focused on successful, long-term outcomes where participants become contributors to their families, communities and churches through their work. Enduring vocational success is our vision for the successful, lifelong pursuit of God honoring work.

Mission Works has four areas all contributing to comprehensive work readiness.

Here we build the moral, spiritual, technical, educational, and strategic views of work required for our ambitious outcome goals.

computer literacy classes

Adult Education

Education is a basis for both career success and life transformation. Program participants have often experienced failing school systems, leaving significant deficiencies in literacy and numeracy. A customized learning plan is created for each participant to meet their educational needs as indicated by an adult educational assessment (CASAS). One-on-one tutoring is offered from staff and volunteer resources. The 25% of participants without a high school education are offered a path to high school equivalency via HiSET (GED) test preparation. Educational curriculum also includes cultural events such as sacred poetry, museum tours, and musical concerts and life skills such as personal finances, digital literacy, and car ownership. Our vision is to equip life-long learners who pursue God as the beginning of wisdom, truth, and beauty.

building contracting school

Vocational Training

Technical training programs are made available across specialized organizations, community colleges and corporate partners. There is no limit to the possible trainings which can be pursued within the limits of prudent planning. Building trades, welding, manufacturing, warehousing, culinary, transportation, barbering, IT and technology are a few of the possibilities our participants pursue.

work detail

Practiced Work

Successful work requires many tacit skills and behaviors which are only acquired with experience. “WorkStations” is an experiential work opportunity within City Union Mission and its City Thrift stores. Here participants practice soft skills while re-establishing a work week (work-shift) schedule. Many of the positions also offer vocational training in retail, maintenance, culinary, warehouse, cleaning, and social services. Coaching and evaluation are provided to each participant from Mission staff. Work-virtues are imparted through a Theology of Work curriculum.

adult classes

Career Development

Reentering the workplace is especially difficult for those who have experienced homelessness, substance use addictions, or are justice-involved. We help them develop an attainable career trajectory, supporting participants with resume building, job applications, and interviewing. Career development extends beyond their programming time as ongoing services are offered to alumni (program graduates).

businesses donating to local charity, donor advised funds


Mission Works is an ambitious programming element that seeks to address some of the core drivers of homelessness and intergenerational poverty. To achieve our outcomes, we rely heavily on partners of various kinds: 1. individuals, 2. corporations, and 3. nonprofits. Please contact us if you or your organization wish to explore a partnership in this regard.

"Now I'm ready to get out and experience my new life... to get a job and enjoy my life with God."

-Mark, a participant in our long-term program

Vocational training

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