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A Wider Circle Expands with Jobs Center

Silver Spring-based nonprofit will now offer job training and interview clothes for people in need.

A Wider Circle, a Silver Spring-based nonprofit that provides furniture and adult education programs to people who are homeless, is now offering job training and interview clothes to its clients. The Center for Professional Development opened at 9153 Brookville Road on Feb. 16. 

“You can not get out of poverty without a job,” Mark Bergel, executive director of the nonprofit, said in a statement. “For those who are not fortunate enough to receive the type of support and guidance necessary to secure sustainable, long-term employment, the new center aims to provide that."

The center helps jobseekers look for jobs, receive technology and computer training and access to professional interview and work clothes. 

A Wider Circle is looking for community members to support the new program with clothing donations, teaching classes on interview skills and resume writing or by working with clients one-on-one to provide support and advice during the job seeking process and beyond. 

Learn more about A Wider Circle and the Center for Professional Development online: www.awidercircle.org.

Karen B February 22, 2013 at 07:31 PM
This sounds like a noble organization, but its location makes me extremely nervous. It is directly across the street from Woodlin Elementary School, and having seen homeless people gather in that alley, I can't help but worry about the safety of the children. With 66% of homeless persons self-reporting substance abuse and/or mental illness, I am concerned for the safety of the children who attend Woodlin(including my own next fall). Has anyone at Woodlin Elementary, A Wider Circle, or the community addressed this issue?
Keisha Johnson June 25, 2013 at 07:23 PM
If only this organization was as noble as the claims made by Mark Bergel. I personally experienced the job training program directed by Marian Cooper. She's in the position of having to interact with people from different cultures, financial levels, and educational backgrounds. Unfortunately, her communication skills are very poor. Some days she put on a fake nice person face, but her natural ugly behavior is never far behind. She's not capable of expressing herself properly without speaking down to someone who may be having a hard time in the current economy and trying to become re-employed. Marian will use people struggles as ammunition to be rude and callous to you. When these concerns were presented to Mark Bergel, he brushed it off as a misunderstanding and her passion. If you're an educated and skilled adult who is looking to re-enter the workforce, I would suggest using a reputable government job training program as Wider Circle is not equipped to help people who are educated and have advanced employment needs. Wider Circle accepts anybody off the street who wants to volunteer for the job training program (no certification, training, or background check necessary). Being that Marian Cooper does not run the program well, there's always confusion, self imposed intentions, and unnecessary stress.

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