Employment Mentors: A Guide for Bishops
Bishops and branch presidents can help individuals achieve career self-reliance by referring them to Church welfare operations such as Employment Centers (ERC) and Deseret Industries (DI). There, they may receive individualized coaching and vocational counseling. These services are known as Development Counseling Services.
For regions where these services are less accessible, priesthood leaders can give needed career support by assigning employment mentors within the ward.
What is an employment mentor?
A mentor is someone who can act as a resource for bishops in helping members find suitable employment and build a successful career. A mentor relationship should extend beyond the job search and be part of the person's support team. They build relationships with the person in need of mentoring. A mentor is someone who is caring, empathetic, and relates to people well.
Contact the nearest ERC or DI to discuss unemployed or underemployed individuals in need of career self-reliance. After consultation with staff, you may authorize Development Counseling Services, if appropriate. Consider setting aside time during ward council to discuss the needs of unemployed or underemployed members. (Refer to the Ministering Resources: Employment for more information).
Who needs a mentor?
There are some members of your ward and stake who you will refer to Deseret Industries or Development Counseling Services. As part of their employment training, it is recommended that you assign a member of your ward or branch as a welfare specialist, to serve as an employment mentor. The mentor will participate in regular planning and reporting meetings in conjunction with development services. As ERC or DI staff work with the referred individual, his or her employment mentor participates with them in regular planning and reporting meetings and in other activities (Refer to the brochure How to Be an Employment Mentor: A Guide for Your Success for more information on an employment mentor's responsibilities.
There are other members of your ward and stake who are seeking employment but are not utilizing DI or Development Counseling Services. These members can also benefit greatly from mentoring, but in these cases, mentors can be identified by assignment, rather than calling. This mentor could be the ward employment specialist or a home or visiting teacher.
When you or one of your counselors extends the assignment to a mentor, please be sure to do the following:
- Provide the employment mentor with the brochure: How to Be an Employment Mentor: A Guide for Your Success brochure.
- Provide appropriate background information on the individual they will be working with, such as pertinent social, vocational, economic, and contact information, as well as any goals already set or assignments made.
- Establish expectations with the mentor. For example, determine how and when the mentor is to report back to the bishopric or branch presidency, and explain that the duration of a mentor's service is determined by the individual's progress.
- If the mentor is assigned to work with someone in Development Counseling Services, inform ERC or DI staff once the mentor has been assigned.