I received a telemarketing call last Wednesday from the St. Paul Jewish Federation. Times are tough, the caller, Nicole, said, clearly reading off a prepared script. Families need help with job training and other support services.
I interrupted her and asked a question: what job training and other similar programs does the Federation have?
Nicole responded by listing agencies the Federation funds. She appeared to be reciting them alphabetically. I stopped her after Bais Yaakov.
I know the Federation (partially) funds these agencies, but what specific job training or related programs does the Federation fund?
She said she didn't know, because this was the telemarketing center, she said, and we wouldn't know that. I asked for a supervisor.
William Davis told me that the telemarketing center he supervises is contracted by the Federation. (However, it is the Federation's identification and phone number that displayed in my caller ID.)
I asked Davis about job training or related programs. He knew the Federation (partially) funds the Jewish Family Service, and he thought it would have job training programs.
I told him that the last time I checked, the JFS did not.
He offered to have someone from the Federation get back to me in a day or two.
I declined, telling him that I would call myself to get the information.
But I asked Davis who wrote the script his telemarketers were reading, the script that spoke of job training programs and the need to help families with that type of relief.
He told me the script was approved by and came from the client – the Federation itself.
I hung up and called the JFS. "Do you have any job training programs?" I asked.
"I think that in our Employment Services might send people [to other agencies] to job training, but they don't train them here."
I asked her if she meant that JFS would send people to other agencies, non-Jewish agencies, to get job training.
She didn't want to say with certainty, but she thought that the Minneapolis Jewish Family and Children's Service and its (Minneapolis) Jewish Vocational Services might have in-house job training. Both of those agencies are funded (in part) by the Minneapolis Jewish Federation, not St. Paul's Federation. The Jewish Family and Children's Service of Minneapolis and the Jewish Vocational Services of Minneapolis share the same suburban Minneapolis address. The same person answers the phone at both numbers. And neither has job training.
The Jewish Federation of Greater St. Paul has the following page on its website. Note that there is no job training mentioned and no referral to Minneapolis agencies. And also note that almost all assistance given is referred out of agency (largely to non-Jewish nonprofits):
Resources for managing these difficult times
Uncertainty is all around us; the impact can be challenging. Jewish Family Service of St. Paul, a Jewish Federation of Greater St. Paul beneficiary agency, is dedicated to helping you find the tools and means to navigate through the turbulence. Call JFS for:
Brush up your resume, your job hunting skills, your on-line job search capabilities, your interview savvy with the support of our Employment Services staff. Use the equipment and internet access in the job resource room, available 9:00-4:00 Monday through Friday. Schedule a consultation with an Employment counselor, or join a job club or a professional networking meeting. Get connected with a community volunteer experience to enhance your resume and skills. Attend job fairs with local employers actively seeking new hires.
For information or an appointment, contact Estrella Flores or Mollie Burstein Ostrow at 651-698-0767, or email email@example.com
Aid is available for such things as avoiding eviction, overdue utility bills, medical needs, job or medical related transportation, and other immediate financial issues. A screening will help you review your needs and learn the resources available to meet them. Both JFS Financial Assistance funds—including grants, loans and connection with the Jewish Free Loan Program—as well as other community resources may help you past the immediate issues and allow you to concentrate on moving ahead.
For information or an appointment, contact Anita Dinerstein at 651-698-0767 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Uncertainty highlights stress. Usual ways of managing pressure feel insufficient. Meet with a JFS counselor to develop additional ways of coping with stress to supplement those you already have. Learn, too, how to help your children manage their stress.
For information, contact Mitchell Wittenberg or Marjorie Sigel at 651-698-0767, or email email@example.com
The form of your retirement years seemed so clear. Suddenly things have changed. Determine what resources may help you weather the economy; find resources to augment and bolster your plans. Learn about options and community resources for yourself or for other elders in your family and circle.
For information, contact Chris Rosenthal at 651-698-0767 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Information and Referral
No one organization does it all. For help in locating other community resources to round out your “survival kit,” talk to any of the JFS staff noted above. Together you can assess the circumstances and determine the additional contacts to make. JFS staff can also help with making and maximizing those connections.
As I've written many times previously, these Jewish agencies do not really provide much in the way of actual services to the Jewish poor, and they greatly inflate the value of the programs they do have – almost all of which involve referrals to county, state or federal agencies or to non-Jewish charities.
But the Jewish Federations often intentionally misrepresent what they fund and what Jewish agencies actually do in order to fundraise – as this St. Paul Federation telemarketing call shows.
It is a sick bait and switch con, and the losers are the Jewish poor and unemployed – along with the donors who are misled into thinking they are actually helping them.