“Bus, bus, magic bus.” Those The Who lyrics might just be sung by people leaving the Fifth Third Financial Empowerment Mobile, or eBus. The 40-foot, self-contained eBus partners with local community organizations to help people in low- and moderate-income areas who often are underserved by banks with their financial issues as well as help them find jobs.
The eBus offers access to a Job Seeker Toolkit. It’s an online multimedia program that teaches valuable skills in job hunting. Among the things taught are how to create an effective resume, develop eye catching cover letters and create a detailed marketing plan. In addition, it offers training and preparation for interviews, assesses the direction of a person’s career and transferable skills, helps develop a personal brand and shows how to use social media effectively. The eBus also offers free access to NextJob’s proprietary job search and training software.
“The mission of our Financial Empowerment Mobiles is to take quality financial services directly to people and empower them to take control of their financial future,” said Byna Elliott, senior vice president and director of community and economic development, Fifth Third Bank Eastern Michigan. “Certainly helping people find jobs is foundational to that. Offering the Job Seeker’s Toolkit onboard our buses is a special access pass for people in underserved neighborhoods—frankly, for those who may benefit most.”
A credit check and meetings with financial planners are ever present on the bus. Those planners share information and resources about homeownership, financial literacy, credit scores, money management, budgeting… the list goes on and on.
“I love what I do,” said Loretta Humphrey, eBus events coordinator for the past four years. “We had a lady in Port Huron who drove down from Lansing. She was scared and didn’t have a lot of gas. She was sitting in her truck crying. She didn’t know what she was doing. But she was so relieved. We were so proud we helped her.”
Humphrey followed this up by beaming about how great it was to be put faces with the programs.
While financial help was the origin of the bus that is not the only aid it provides. Just outside of the bus was Mobile Dentist. It provided free cleaning and exams for anyone under age 18 who showed up and had a parent with them to sign the permission waiver.
New this year is a partnership with the Steve Harvey Mentoring Program for Young Men. It offers a two-day, two-night interactive weekend program designed to share and teach the principles of manhood to young men. The goal of this program is to break the misguided traits of manhood and introduce role models who provide positive example of manhood and create a generation of men who are emotionally, socially and economically strong. One hundred and twenty young men ages 13-18 from homes without fathers are selected to attend the camp based on essays about what it is like to grow up without a father and how they think the Steve Harvey Mentoring Weekend camp can change their lives.
During the eBus visit they helped eligible young men fill out an application and write the essay for an upcoming weekend. The weekend is August 27-29 at Northwest Activities and will focus on coaching and esteem building.
DTE Energy was also on hand to offer free energy home consultations.
The bus leaves metro Detroit on September 2. The next scheduled stop will be on Wednesday, August 28 from 10 am-3pm at Samaritan Center/U SNAP BAC 5555 Conner, Detroit 48207.
Photos by Damon Trestain