Phoenix Hometown Hires

Phoenix Hometown Hires came together in the Fall of 2015 by integrating Phoenix Employment Ministry and Hometown Hires.  Phoenix Employment Ministry was founded by Rev. Don Skinner in October 2002 after recognizing the need for an organization in Wilmington solely focused on assisting homeless individuals and others in need of employment. Hometown Hires originated as an initiative lead by Ben David, NHC District Attorney and Chip Mahan, CEO Live Oak Bank to help individuals find jobs and break the cycle of crime and poverty. PHH continues the common mission of both, providing employment opportunities, training and hope to men and women throughout Wilmington and the Cape Fear region.

Today, Phoenix Hometown Hires operates two programs, the Job Program and Life Skills Program that provide incentive driven stepped processes designed to move participants into employment in the short-term and measured stability over the longer term.

History & Timeline

2002 – Phoenix Employment Ministry (PEM) was founded by Rev. Don Skinner and other community members to focus on employment opportunities for the sheltered and nearly homeless. The first job was placed in December of 2002.

2003 – PEM made 24 job placements in its first full year of operation

2003-2012 – During its initial decade of work, PEM hosted monthly Jobs Weeks to train and partner with 10 job seekers a month. During the initial 10-year period 525 participants found work.

2012 – PEM embarked on a Major Donor Campaign to raise funds for new office space and program growth.

2013 – The Life Skills Program was started to support participants beyond a job. Program Directors were hired for both the Job and Life Skills Programs growing PEM to 3 Full Time and 2 Part Time employees.

2014 – The PEM Board of Directors approved a 5-year strategic plan with the goal off placing 250 people a year into jobs by 2020. PEM began utilizing space at First Baptist, St. James, and First Presbyterian to run Jobs Week and Life Skills. Hometown Hires was started as an initiative by Ben David the DA, Chip Mahan, CEO of Live Oak Bank, and the United Way.

2015 – PEM and Hometown Hires integrated operations and became Phoenix Hometown Hires (PHH). In July, Don Skinner resigned after 12 years with the organization and Will Rikard became Executive Director. Over 100 jobs were placed during the year for the first time in the organization’s history. In November PHH moved into newly renovated space on the 4th floor of the Harrelson Center. Children’s program launched to take on a family approach in Life Skills.

2016 – 310 people were served through the Job and Life Skills programs and 164 jobs were placed. PHH’s Full Time staff grew to 8 employees. The Life Skills program began operating out of First Presbyterian Church.

Since its founding, from 2002 to 2016, over 950 jobs have been placed.