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TEEM: Providing a network of invaluable support

BY KRIS STEELE Published: December 22, 2012

Life can be complicated, difficult and downright daunting when beginning the process of relocating, rebuilding or starting over. A number of factors must be considered, such as employment, housing, transportation and systems of support (to name just a few) in order to achieve a successful transition.

Research proves these potential obstacles are magnified when a person has a limited education, inadequate job skills and/or a troubled past. All too often, people in such scenarios experience multiple setbacks, leading to feelings of frustration, isolation and desperation that can spur poor decision-making, hindering their ability to pursue their desired life-change.

Breaking this cycle and improving the social and economic environment in Oklahoma are top priorities of our work at TEEM (The Education and Employment Ministry). TEEM is an interfaith nonprofit organization specializing in providing education, occupational training and job placement assistance to individuals in need of employment.

Equipping and empowering individuals with the proper skill set and knowledge to succeed makes a world of difference in decisions and life choices. By developing and honing skills necessary for self-sufficient living, the pathway out of poverty is far more easily traveled.

TEEM takes an inclusive approach by offering free services to anyone older than 18 who's willing to follow the guidelines of the program. Many variables prompt a person to join TEEM, such as the loss of a job, change in relationship, recovery from addition, relocation, or desire to pursue a different career.

Our organization also serves individuals who have been incarcerated. Oklahoma's high incarceration rates — No. 1 nationally in female incarceration and No. 3 in male incarceration — have state prisons busting at the seams. Oklahoma prisons routinely operate at or near capacity. This is an unsustainable trend, as proven by the Department of Corrections' recent announcement that the system is out of beds for female offenders.

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