Flint, Mich. – Feb. 18, 2014 – The N.E.W. Life Center, a Flint-based ministry focused on providing education and job training, has expanded its facility.

The community program is based out of the former St. Luke’s Catholic Church on Lawndale Avenue. N.E.W. Life Center founded N.E.W. Life Enterprises, a business that produces scrubs and hospital gowns for use in medical facilities along with other sewn items. The renovation and expansion will house work stations for the business’s seamstresses.

St. Luke’s is located in Flint’s Civic Park neighborhood, which is protected by state and federal restrictions as a historic area. Plans to build a new facility have been put on hold as Diplomat works with the city and state to determine if new construction can be permitted. With current demand for products from N.E.W. Life Enterprises resulting in a two-month backlog of orders, additional delays would have been problematic. Diplomat stepped in to fund the $10,000 project to renovate the facility’s 4,000 square foot gymnasium into useable workspace. 60 work stations have been built along with new light fixtures, electrical wiring and ceiling fans.

“The move to a bigger space will give hope to more women of securing a job. It also reminds us that we still have a strong mission that will move us to a larger vision for the women of Flint” stated Sister Carol Weber, co-founder of N.E.W. Life Center. “We are on our way to making the space large enough to hire more women and get them on their way to sustainability in their lives.”

The final stages of the renovation and moving process were completed Saturday, Feb. 15, by teams of volunteers from Diplomat and Siwek Construction.

Currently N.E.W. Life Enterprises employs 26 women in full-time positions. The additional space will allow the business to add 20 new jobs and increase work capacity. “Diplomat’s goal is to support the Sisters and NEW Life Enterprises,” stated Phil Hagerman, Diplomat CEO. “This enterprise is critically important not just to our city, but to the lives of these 46 women.”

The seamstresses employed by N.E.W. Life Enterprises are all graduates of the N.E.W. Life Center’s three-year educational program for women. Program participants learn life skills and employment training and, upon completion, are eligible to apply for a position with the business. The goal of the program is to give area women the tools they need to become self-sufficient providers for their families.

N.E.W. Life Enterprises is part of the Michigan Economic Development Corporations’ Community Ventures program. Community Ventures seeks to provide meaningful job opportunities for the structurally unemployed while improving safety and supporting economic growth in the state’s most challenged urban centers.

For more information about NEW Life Enterprises, please visit their website.

About N.E.W. Life Center

North End Women’s (NEW) Life Center was founded in 2008 by two Roman Catholic nuns, Sr. Carol Weber, O.P., and Sr. Judy Blake, CSJ. The Center is home to a variety of community outreach programs including GED preparation, life skills education and job training. More than 700 men and women have benefitted from programs through the N.E.W. Life Center.