Area parishes will especially benefit from a recently hired director of human resources who began serving the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend in February. Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades selected Jonathan Harber to fill the newly created position.
One of Harber’s main responsibilities is to assist parishes, high schools and diocesan organizations as they recruit and hire employees. Harber said his first priority is to help the staff write job descriptions and effectively advertise those job openings in hopes of garnering a large pool of applicants in a timely fashion. He can then subsequently help staff formulate interview questions and assist with the vetting of candidates. Another of priority is to help parish priests in whatever way he can.
Other responsibilities Harber is taking on include helping with hiring paperwork, as well as keeping personnel files current. He will instruct parish staff, as needed, on how to conduct performance evaluations. He will soon begin giving presentations to parish business managers and pastors in the diocese about his vision, and answering questions.
Harber said there are roughly 3,000 diocesan employees and 81 parishes, so coordinating and standardizing human resource functions throughout the diocese is a big responsibility. There are currently a benefits coordinator and payroll coordinator in the business office; working with them has helped him learn a lot about his role, he added.
He reports directly to diocesan Chief Financial Officer Joe Ryan, who said the new position will help the diocese do a better job assisting parishes and schools with essential human resource functions. He added that Harber is a “fast learner and is doing a great job.”
Harber is a Fort Wayne native. He attended Queen of Angels and then Bishop Dwenger High School, graduating in 2004. He earned a Criminal Justice degree from IPFW in 2008. Harber worked for the Allen County Sheriff’s Department and the Allen County Jail before returning to school a few years later. In 2016 he earned a second bachelor’s degree in business administration with an emphasis on human resources. He accepted the position at the diocese shortly thereafter.
Harber said he is particularly enjoying the working atmosphere at the diocese. “The professionalism is higher here than anywhere I’ve ever worked before,” he noted. He also emphasized the uniqueness of the job, which allows him to combine his career with his Catholic faith on a daily basis, “it meant a lot to me to work for our diocese and to work for my faith. I basically work for God.”
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