Joseph Francis Responds to Donna R’s Letter to the Editor on Poverty in Cornwall Ontario & 100 Letter Entry!

joseph francis(this Letter to the Editor has also been entered into our 100 Letter Contest about how amazing Cornwall Ontario is.  
To learn more about our contest and how to enter click below at the bottom.)
First off kudos to Donna R for stepping up and inspiring my rant which reaches out to those who do not understand and those who can make a difference.
What so many people who read will not be able to understand is how many people this happens to effect! My family has dealt with this for almost my whole life. No money to make money! I am willing to bet most of you also have family who are struggling to get by and you may not know it.
It’s like an endless pit which drains your happiness and leads you to stress, frustration, depression and a very real feeling of helplessness.
People need HELP! If there is anyone in government who can help I implore you to do more especially in pushing for funding for Job Zone! I am the perfect example of the potential waiting to be unlocked. I was funded through Job Zone to become a professional truck driver. I am currently employed for a local trucking company in South Mountain.
The owner of the company realized how much help I needed when I told him I could not afford to meet with him in person to interview and that I did not have a car. He reached out by driving 45 minutes to Cornwall and meeting with me! Without my AZ license this would not be possible.
I am now employed and generating tax revenue and doing my part as a working cog in the system.
Most people will not get this opportunity however, including a few people I know personally who are being turned away by Job Zone… Maybe it’s a lack of funding or discrimination due to age and gender but whatever the reason it shouldn’t be like this.
Also the RIDICULOUS prerequisites to get funded by the government for training NEED TO GO!
The biggest one is the fact your essentially not allowed to make money when trying to get funding. You read that right. If you want to do second career you have to be the poorest of the poor. Unless your living with family with no job and not enough money to take care of yourself then and only then do they take a chance on you.
If you look at the amount mentioned by Donna ” $606 per month” and you take that “investment” by social assistance and tally it up it equals $7272 per year. My training cost less than $6500 as I went through C & C Professional Truck Training. I am now employed and over a year I will generate more than $50000 in gross pay.
Many of these so-called “welfare bums” are so poor they can’t afford to change their situation! When you have a random directionless resume with no training or certificates or diplomas NO COMPANY will look at you unless it is to look down on you much like society already does.
With services like Job Zone you get a chance. I am hard worker but no one would give me a chance. My training opened so many doors that are changing my life and I am going to help my family because the government and this city will not give them the opportunity that I got.
My fellow Canadians City of Cornwall. Province of Ontario… The greatest country on the planet Canada. I dare you to read this and to do something about it. Step up and help YOUR PEOPLE.  An investment in YOUR PEOPLE will return to the city, provincial and federal governments coffers 100 fold what they invest in the “system” now. Rather than pay people to struggle and skim by on the bare minimum why not make a bigger investment for the long term benefit.
YOUR PEOPLE are a small risk investment. Let me explain in a way that those who have money can understand… Much like a struggling company like Research in Motion… in September a measly $6.00 a stock… Today $17.54. If you invested $600(100 shares) in September those shares would be worth $1754 today.
Job Zone invested $6500 in me. I am 23 years old and now worth roughly $50,000 a YEAR. Do the math, If 100 shares of stock in me was worth $6500 that is $65 a share. At 50,000 a year those shares are now worth $500 a piece. For retirement I will likely have to work until I am 65 for example. 42 years of working at $50,000 a year is $2.1 MILLION. That’s not including the fact I will get raises and bonuses.
Now investing in a 40+ year old person may not generate the same… However if a 45 year old works until they are 65 at $50,000 a year they will generate $1 million dollars!
Have I made my case or does the Canadian government need a power point presentation in a room full of suits? All of which have no idea what it’s like to live in poverty. Will they make a difference? Probably not but The 99% need a fighting chance, something they do not have in today’s society.
So many of these “welfare bums” will meet you halfway if your willing to truly help them so what’s stopping you? We are your struggling Blackberry manufacturer. Do you take a relatively small risk on our product striking gold? Or do you continue funnel minimal cash into small businesses that you know are not going to thrive in the long run without a bigger investment? We are your Ford, General Motors manufacturer but the difference is we are not asking for a 300 billion bail out so we can continue to charge the people $35000 a car. We are asking for a minor investment in education and training so that we may live better lives and do our part to generate tax revenue rather than drain it.
As a politician if you want votes maybe this is your legacy, As a person who looks down on the less fortunate maybe you should look in the mirror and ask yourself what you would do if you were in this position. It’s never going to be the simple solutions like many on the outside think. Having tasted the poor side most of my life and a little of the thriving side of things I will forever lend my voice to those who need it because I would hope and pray that if they had the chance they would do the same for me.
My name is Joseph Francis and I thank you for your time and thank you to Donna for standing up!
PS, Instead of clicking like on some stupid picture on Facebook try sharing stories like this that will make a difference in the lives of so many who truly need it.
(Comments and opinions of Editorials, Letters to the Editor, and comments from readers are purely their own and don’t necessarily reflect those of the owners of this site, their staff, or sponsors.)

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  1. Joseph, thank you so much for writing this wonderful letter and telling it like it is! I’m glad I inspired you to write it 🙂

    I’m so glad you were able to get your career started with the help of Jobzone and your employer’s willingness to take a chance on you; you’re off to a wonderful future and I wish you all the best!

    Jobzone won’t invest in Second Career for me, I’m ineligible. I have a new diploma, my two year accounting diploma acquired in the fall of 2011. I had previously taken the 3yr Business Administration Accounting program, I was missing one credit to get the diploma, by the time I inquired about finishing up that one last credit, some of my other courses had become out of date, it had only been four years since I had taken the program, but most computer programs change very fast. They advised me to take a specialized Excel program to get the 2 yr accounting diploma, which I completed. It hasn’t done me a whole lot of good as far as getting a job, but at least my education wasn’t a total waste! I have a piece of paper sitting in a file saying I’m qualified!

  2. Out of work in 1998… Job Zone and various government programs/agencies invested $10,000 dollars in me.

    Since then I have paid in excess of 110K in federal and provincial income tax, I’ve paid another 50K in property tax, I’ve spent about double that total at community businesses (so add sales tax to that), and my donations to local charities are in the thousands of dollars.

    Yes, education financing, and job counselling help …and in turn it helps the community.

  3. You can’t get down Donna! I had a very rough time at first finding work. No company in Cornwall was willing to take a chance on me because I didn’t have the customary “2 years experience” and the fact I am under-25 So I wrote to a big trucking magazine basically voicing my frustration at how all these companies need employees but are unwilling to take a chance and the editor wrote me back saying do not give up. I admit for a while I did. The company I work for now I never heard of until I found an ad online. Just keep applying and look at places that you wouldn’t normally think about. Keep your eyes peeled every day and you will find something.

    One day I just got incredibly frustrated by not having money to go out with friends or live a normal life like everyone should especially a 23 year old… so I started applying everywhere. Even places I knew I didn’t have the transportation to because I felt deep down that at some point something had to give. I got a call and my future boss came to Cornwall and the rest is history. The reason he came to Cornwall is because I had the right attitude. I had the desire and he picked up on my willingness to do whatever it took. Before he came to meet me I told him on the phone I would buy a car as soon as I possibly could and I told him I would not let him down.

    As far as Job Zone I really hope we can draw attention to this program as it can really be a game changer with the proper funding. As of now it’s absurd all the requirements they expect you to meet. You have to be suffering and that’s not right at all. No one should suffer and everyone should get a chance. Some will say life’s not fair that way but I refuse to believe that within this cities budget there is no room to help people.

    What the people who are not lucky enough to not be born into money go through is a systematic lack of desire to help people. They’ll help you survive barely and that’s as far as it goes for most people. So many are brought into this world with the odds already stacked against them and it’s sad really.

    If I have my way we will all have a fair chance and especially a fair chance to prove that they are at rock bottom and need help because in order to get help you have to be below rock bottom. It needs to change

  4. Simon is an even better example than myself! He is a product of the system further along and absolute proof that this works! The keys to success is opportunity and growth in just about everything.

  5. Well said Joseph!! And congratulations on your accomplishment

    I am happy they were able to help you, and I agree more funding is necessary and most definitely less of these requirements to become accepted.

    This is where we need to be the devils advocate and try to understand why funding is being cut to so many of these businesses.
    Why do we need so many businesses that offer the same services as Job Zone?
    How efficiently is it operated??
    Do such businesses tend to make money off of our/peoples unfortunate situations?

    I think there is not one of us that do not know they do in fact abuse a situation and over simplify what is required by the government and all done to maintain the industry itself.

    If you look at what St Lawrence College Cornwall offers for courses and what the education trend is now it all points to some form of social work. I am not saying Social work is a bad career choice, but both the education system and the industry are sustaining itself the way it is operated.
    How can the education system or places such as job zone predict what career choice is best for you if nobody can predict where the economy will be by days end.

  6. Good article Joseph, and I’m glad you found work. I’d like to point out at a few discrepancies though. For one, you mentioned your training only costed $6500, and therefore you claim you now have a tax-generating job, that will cover that. True. But you also have to consider that it costed way more than $6500 to train you. The taxpayers pay for JobZone’s buildings, their overhead/energy, their employees salaries, their equipment, the bureaucrats in charge, etc. Knowing how the Government operates (spends like there is no budget), I highly doubt they set up these centers cost efficiently.

    My sister and I have tried JobZone for years, to no avail. Like Donna mentioned, many people do not qualify for their training. Even though I have a dead-end, low-income job, it’s still a job, so JobZone can’t offer anything to me.

    The problem I was have with publically-funded institutions like JobZone, is that low-income earners like me, are being taxed more and more, to provide training to other people.

    Does no one else see the possibilities of getting Government out of our way? In the 1950’s North Americans could go to College, and graduate debt-free, by working part-time. Ever since the Government has started subsidizing education, costs have skyrocketed. Statistics show that low-income earners are the ones who are facing the brunt of the costs in tax hikes, while the high and middle income earners are the ones who are generally going to school.

    If I wasn’t so bogged down by taxes, I could save my own money quite easily, to be able to pay for training. Even at minimum wage, if you take away the income tax, and HST on most commodities, it’s totally manageable to save up for training, or anything. As far as schooling it’s simple: The Government guarantees loans for almost anyone who wants to go to school. This means that they are providing an artificial demand for a limited supply. Therefore the Universities and Colleges can charge outrageously inflated prices, because they know the Government will guarantee the loans of anyone who wants to go to school. Take away those guaranteed loans, and what happens? Prices drop; significantly, or all the Universities and Colleges would go out of business. When I went to College, I didn’t meet one person who wasn’t on OSAP. Very few people can actually afford these inflated tuition rates. This is why getting the Government out of the business, will benefit us all.

  7. @Joseph……You sound like a very determined young man.

    Joseph wrote: The reason he came to Cornwall is because I had the right attitude. I had the desire and he picked up on my willingness to do whatever it took.

    That alone speaks volumes Joseph and was the stepping stone to your success!!

  8. Productivity is essential in establishing a progressive society. Every investor expects to realize a positive return more often than not . A business person invests in themselves and their individual business to realize a profit . They plan to succeed . If an individual wishes to succeed than they must also plan . When an individual stumbles/stalls than a better system would reinvest in that person with the reasonable expectation that they be successful . This means endorsing those sectors which have jobs to offer and developing a new system which rewards employers for investing in people . A system that has specific time constraints for successfully moving the candidates towards complete self sufficiency . A system that is accountable to the taxpayer . A system that recognizes its duty to be successful . Joseph congratulations on your efforts and attitude, never embrace a sense of entitlement but do continue to want to make a difference and be productive !

  9. You can all say what you want about Job Zone, but it doesn’t help everyone. I’ve seen them trash my husband’s resume writing skills, but commend mine…btw, mine looks horrible compared to his! They won’t pay for our educations either, they wouldn’t even LOOK at me because I had a part-time job…oh…and let’s not even get into the language thing…let’s all face it people…here in Cornwall…if you don’t speak French…you’re not worth employing, even if you are the better educated person for the job! I was turned down for a receptionist job over a French speaking girl despite the fact that I had all of the clerical skills and she didn’t! My rant on this subject is done….

  10. What can I say Joseph. Your story is informatiive and I hope they hear you. Thanks it made me aware of…

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