We can't step out right now, but we can still StepUp.


When Kevin Wood left his family behind in Atlanta and came to Durham last December, he was, he said, "stepping out on faith" that he would find the job that would allow them to be reunited soon.

He didn't just step out, though: he stepped right on over to StepUp Durham, a non-profit program that helps people learn what they need to know to enter or re-enter the work force.

"I've been in electrical work for 25 years," Wood, 61, told me recently. "I knew that once the holidays ended I was going to find work. I have a lot of knowledge, but I don't know everything. StepUp helped me with what I didn't know."

Among the things the program helped him with, he said, were how to present himself for a job interview and "being able to do a resume. They took the time one-on-one to help me with that so I'd know what to say."

John Wroton, chairman of StepUp Durham's board of directors, said the training program lasts 28 hours over four days.

"They work on their resume, their interviewing skills," he said. "We have volunteers who come in and help them practice interviewing... It's very intensive. That's really key.

"Some of them, for whatever reasons, have gaps in their employment history. It's hard t