This year, the COVID-19 crisis turned our world upside-down. In the blink of an eye, schools shut down, offices closed, and anxiety grew over our uncertain future. By mid-April, the unemployment rate reached its highest level since the Great Depression as millions of Americans lost their jobs and the pandemic raged on. At JVS, our mission to empower individuals from diverse communities to find employment and build careers has remained steadfast.  

Our response to the crisis has focused on three primary areas: Helping our students continue to learn valuable skills amidst unprecedented times, improving our remote capacity so that we are equipped to deliver mission-critical services, and virtually matching clients with employers in need of quality candidates. Since mid-March, all of our services have transitioned to virtual platforms. From English For Advancement and Bridges to College classes, to one-one-one coaching that includes assistance navigating Unemployment Insurance and other public benefits, JVS has remained a strong partner to those we serve. In addition, we created our innovative Talent Match Portal, an online system connecting job seekers to employment opportunities from more than 60 Boston-area companies. Complete with personalized career coaching and live chat to assist clients through the job search process, it has become an invaluable tool to many. Since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, JVS has served over 3,600 individuals through remote services, and has placed 282 individuals in new jobs. 
While JVS has been able to offer remote services, our increasingly virtual world comes with its own obstacles. The unequal distribution of digital access by race and income, better known as the Digital Divide, has become more apparent than ever. Many of these barriers to access, such as not having a stable internet connection or access to a working computer, mirror the challenges that JVS has worked to overcome in the past. We are committed to bridging this divide by increasing technology access for those we serve, allowing them to continue their educational and professional development with JVS.

Currently we are in the pilot phase of our new Laptop Lending Library, which will provide computers, hotspot connections, and tech support. The average cost to provide this service to one student is $1,500. This bold initiative will create much needed stability for many of our students by helping them establish economic mobility for themselves and their families. Our goal by the end of 2020 is to have hundreds in circulation, ensuring that no one is prevented access to our services. We are grateful for your previous support, and we ask you to consider renewing or increasing your commitment to JVS. Your generous gift today can ensure that our community continues toward economic success as together we work to bridge the Digital Divide.

With Appreciation,
Jonathan Nierman
Chief Development Officer, JVS Boston