The First Thing that needs changin'

Below is a slightly modified message that I sent to a friend and sweetheart of mine who works for the U.S. Dept. of Labor. I figured that since parts of my message apply to the fight against poverty, homelessness and corporate greed, I would send this modified message to others. I therefore modified the message, removing the parts that only pertained to her and forwarded it to others. Below my message is her response. She has stated some very interesting and intelligent insights into "The First Thing That Needs Changin'"


From: Eric Sheptock
Date: Thursday, November 6, 2008, 3:38 PM

Many of the homeless have asked me to help them to get jobs. They don't just want a hand-out. They also want a hand up. As it turns out, DC has a terrible workforce development dilemma. There is supposedly a large job market in the city. However, most jobs require a high level of skill. There are not enough people in the city with those skills. Therefore, employers look elsewhere for employees. In the meantime, many DC residents remain unemployed.

As if this isn't enough, DC Government has tried without any measurable success to solve the problem. I've listened to the Council discuss the matter during legislative sessions. I've yet to see any action. In your infinite wisdom and your position in the seat of power at the Labor Dept., what would you suggest? Would YOUR (U.S.) government like to work with OUR (DC) government on this issue?

I have some good news too. I've learned from a DC Government employee as well as a shelter employee that I have both government employees and shelter employees running scared. As I attended the Halloween hearing I sensed that the several government employees present were a little uptight when they saw me.

On Monday evening I ran into the Homeless services coordinator for DHS. She explained to me how that my e-mails are forwarded to her and she is made to investigate all of my allegations, as I send complaints about any homeless services. As it turns out, when I met her she was on her way to the MLK Library to check out something that I'd e-mailed about the shuttle bus that takes homeless men from the library to the shelter.

Later that same day, a shelter employee told me about a recent staff meeting. He told me that his boss had said,"Whatever you do, don't upset that man (Eric Sheptock). If you do, he'll e-mail somebody and they'll be out here investigating us." He also told me that the homeless services coordinator had called the shelter to see if anyone was being denied shelter. This was in response to an e-mail of mine.

It is good to know that I can keep them on the go like that. They will have to take good care of the homeless from here on out. Better yet, they'll need to end homelessness in the District. I'll keep cracking the whip on the powers that be and possibly make them the powers that flee. Some people in DC Government don't like me; but, I don't care. I'm not in a popularity contest. I'm trying to make sure that people are treated properly.


And here is her response.....
Hi Eric!

Thanks for the kind words--and you can keep my company an-ty-time :) at Xxxxx Xxxxxx! Its mutual!

I do remember that in the past, grants were given in support of employment and training projects to ease homelessness in the District. If my memory serves me correctly, that was during a democratic administration, for certainly those things have been more or less just that: a thing of the past for the past 8 years.

Now there's hope! we's got ourselves a new sheriff in town and I would say that is THE THING that can and will make all the difference in forging new initiatives and partnerships. and so I will say that I see no reason the two governments can't once again work together--and when I say that I mean in a way that they 'come together' in meaningful ways outside of the normal monies that now go to the city for unemployment insurance, training and retraining, counseling and other re-employment services... those of course are 'standard' under the Workforce Investment Act and administered through the D.C. Department of Employment Services.

The point you make about skills is a good one--we not only have seen, and will continue to see as it is now a global, resource issue--manufacturing jobs and jobs in other sectors disappear: we see workers and employers struggle with a new market that is on a 'world stage'... different skills are needed and the world is indeed flat. Innovation and new ways of doing businesses have all but paralyzed regional economies throughout the U.S.

Inasmuch as we are transitioning to the new government, I am hopeful that we can come together. It will take some time for 'the new kids on the block' (thank GOD they're back!) to settle down and craft and communicate to us their agenda for this agency. and now I can begin to ask questions about what we will do, right here, at home in D.C. and in our surrounding juridictions, although I do believe that our attention is best focused in the District, for starters. I will ask and promise to keep asking until 'somethin' shakes out!'... I know these folks will have a lot of work to do... and we can prevail upon them with one more thing 'on the list' that needs doin.'

I'm THRILLED that 'they' know you are keeping a watchful eye and that you won't hesitate to step up and speak out--that in and of itself is a blessing and most of all injects accountability where there was none; where folks could [did] get away with their dirty deeds 'cause they thought no one was looking. mayhaps no one was, until you. what a blessing and an impact--that's one of the special ways in which GOD puts you to work.

they don't like you because you make things uncomfortable for those who would otherwise come to work and punch their tickets--they don't like you because you stand for making a difference and for changin' what needs changin'...

see you soon; blessings on your day, my dear!!!


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