Career Development Forum – February 2022

Instructions:  A customer makes an appointment with you to find work. The individual needs assistance with housing and meals.

Answer these questions:

1. To whom in your local area do you refer them for this assistance?

2. What techniques have you found especially helpful to use in an intake interview to discover barriers that a customer might be facing? Describe 1-2 techniques you use that work well for you.

Make one original post and then respond to 1 team member’s post. You will make a total of two posts. For your original post, responds in a paragraph or two for the 2 questions. For your 2nd post, respond in several sentences.

Remember that our learning group works in a full value environment: We treat our colleagues with respect and professionalism. Our comments should reflect this culture.

19 thoughts on “Career Development Forum – February 2022”

  1. alcontreras says:

    If an individual needs assistance with housing and meals I would refer to them to organizations that are near Davis, CA. For example, the Yolo County Food Bank, The Meals Program, ASUCD Pantry would be a great resources for food. In addition, if they needed help with housing I would refer them to the Davis Community Meals and Housing (they also help with meals), HEART of Davis, and Yolo Crisis Nursery if they have small children. You learn the most about someone and you feel the most comfortable disclosing information to people when you trust them. I’ve learned that it is really important for client or anyone you are working with to trust you. Being honest, caring, and genuine helps build a rapport between yourself and the person you are assisting. That level of comfort will help discover the barriers they may be facing.

    1. bwortmann says:

      I appreciate your comment about food! So many times our client’s needs aren’t employment or career development and we need to be aware that they may be much lower on Maslow’s hierarchy on the day that we see them. I’m trained as a research historian but when I started in schools as a college access advisor, I never expected to use research skills to find food pantries all over the west side of Cleveland so often.

    2. fabian says:

      Yes! I completely agree that trust is essential in trying to build a relationship with a client. If they can’t trust us then they won’t talk, we wont be able to know what they need, and it makes it a lot harder to help them. I also think that in order to build trust one needs to be honest and caring. It’s all part of creating an environment that is conducive to positive change making. I am wondering about the ASUCD pantry. Do they only serve UC Davis students? Thank you for listing out those organizations in Davis.

  2. bwortmann says:

    There are a few ways to address housing instability in Cleveland. CHN, which used to be Cleveland Housing Network but they’ve expanded past the city, is the best one-stop for people facing problems coming soon, but not immediate. Everyone in the ecosystem refers to another shelter as “2100” because that’s the shelter’s address. If they’re literally on the street, 2100 is the best option for an intake. Affordable housing is really hard to find right now, so even 2100 might not be able to help. Calling 2-1-1 from the United Way is a one stop shopping way to get help too. When I worked in schools, Cleveland had dedicated homelessness/at-risk liaisons due to the high need of our students, so working in schools it was best to refer students to the liaisons if this issue came up — both because we weren’t equipped to help, but also because they knew the resources better.

    The best tools for intakes and discovering barriers is asking questions and listening. The right question can uncover a lot about the client’s situation and can lead to a lot more relevant information. It could be based on their tone or that they seemed to leave a thought dangling, but listening to that thought trail off and probing with a question can help get the full picture of a client’s situation.

    1. alejandra.lopez says:

      Hi Bryan! I completely agree that it is important to be a good listener to understand what our clients are actually saying, but to also see what they are not saying in order to ask those probing questions. I also agree that it is super important to refer clients to people who know community resources if we don’t know them too well.

    2. sabrina.leonard says:

      That is really cool to know that 2-1-1 is also in your area! I actually just put that in my post! I have enjoyed your knowledge of Ohio Bryan!! I agree with the asking questions and just listening to the trailing thoughts that they disclose. The more information the better to really be able to address the barriers in totality.

  3. fabian says:

    1. If a client came looking for housing I and meals I would refer them to Empower Yolo because they have an entire department that helps house folk that are either homeless or are at risk of being homeless. While at Empower Yolo, they would be referred to variety of partners that the agency has that provides meals, groceries, etc. Another agency that I would refer them to would be the Yolo Food Bank which can provide a variety of options for clients to receive meals and food items.

    2. A technique that I use that helps in an intake interview is to be able to ask questions that help them talk more about their situation. The more we have them talk the more information we will have to understand their context. In being able to ask the appropriate questions I would refer to specific questions on the questionnaire and have them elaborate more in the hope to get more clarity. The second technique that I would use would be creating a trusting and caring space for the client. If they trust me and feel safe, they are more likely to open up, and be willing to use the services that we offer, and hopefully that will make them feel less stress and more empowered to continue to make changes in their life.

    1. keenya.powell says:

      I completely agree with you and creating a safe and trusting environment for your client. If you can show empathy and understanding by not interrupting when they are speaking, giving eye contact (when appropriate) and even finding some common interest that you can discuss with them. Can all create that atmosphere of caring.

    2. tou.thao says:

      Empower Yolo is a wonderful organization that serves as a one stop shop to assist the people of Yolo County. I to believe that just having a regular conversation can reveal a lot of information about the individual’s barrier(s). With having conversation with an individual you can start to build trust and respect it will lead to the student elaborating more on their barriers which can allow you or other service provider assist the individual more effectively.

    3. princess.walton says:

      I agree with you, fabian. By letting them talk and knowing it is a safe environment to do so is a great way to get the details you need to best help them. I found that sometimes I have to ask follow up questions or clarifying questions to better assist. Sometimes students ask questions but really dont know what they are needing, so it is up to us to be sure that we are listening carefully.

  4. lizbeth says:

    If a client came looking for housing and meals, I would refer them to our Empower Yolo office we have a different department that can help with housing assistance this could be for individuals that are homeless or are at risk of being homeless or in general that need rent assistance. Empower Yolo can also provide clients with food referrals to one of our community partners The Yolo Food Bank where they can provide them with groceries and household items needed. Another agency that I would refer them to would be to Fourth and Hope where clients can receive worm meals daylily throughout the day.

    The technique that works for us is an intake interview where we ask questions to understand the client’s situation and to better serve them. One other technique that we offer would also be to assign the client with an advocate (case manager) that will continue to have one on one conversations and help clients with making sure they have transportation or a way to obtain the resources they came looking for.

  5. keenya.powell says:

    1. To whom in your local area do you refer them for this assistance?
    a. If I was working with a client that needed assistance finding housing and food I would give them the contact information to the Sacramento Food Bank, Health and Human Services and SHRA – Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency. These agencies specialize in working with individuals and families that need housing and food assistance. I would also find out if they were ever in the military or are of Native American decent. They may be eligible for services from other organizations that are specific to these two categories.
    2. What techniques have you found especially helpful to use in an intake interview to discover barriers that a customer might be facing?
    a. Paraphrasing
    b. Silence
    c. Open questions
    3. Describe 1-2 techniques you use that work well for you.
    a. Paraphrasing – Making sure that you have understood the initial information that the client has given to you is important. It can create trust by confirming to the client that you were giving them your full attention. The more the client trust you the more information about themselves they will reveal.
    b. Silence – Using silence as a tool takes practice. For me the best way to use it is to ask an open ended question and then tell the client that you are going to give them a moment to process and think about their answer.

    1. jwongchen says:

      Giving enough think time and silence–in a one-on-one conversation, and in the classroom, can be tough for me. I tend to feel and project that the space is awkward, so I fill it with a comment, even if it’s rephrasing what they said, instead of just sitting with their thoughts. Cueing them for the silence can help (them and me!). And giving them a written prompt and chance to think through their response might work.

  6. alejandra.lopez says:

    If a client came looking for a job and shared that they are in need of of housing and meal assistance I would:

    1. I would refer them to Empower Yolo for immediate housing and meal support. I would also refer them there because Empower Yolo helps families apply for CalFresh, CalWORKS, and other social services that they might qualify for.

    2. What techniques have you found especially helpful to use in an intake interview to discover barriers that a customer might be facing? Describe 1-2 techniques you use that work well for you.
    Techniques that have worked for me when working with customers have been active listening, paraphrasing, being knowledgable of community resources, observing body language. I also ask questions like, is there a specific area you would like to look for jobs (this is telling of transportation issues), how soon are you looking to be hired (usually they will share if there are any urgencies due to financial struggles).

    Make one original post and then respond to 1 team member’s post. You will make a total of two posts. For your original post, responds in a paragraph or two for the 2 questions. For your 2nd post, respond in several sentences.

    Remember that our learning group works in a full value environment: We treat our colleagues with respect and professionalism. Our comments should reflect this culture.

    1. alcontreras says:

      Hi Alejandra. I did not think about Empower Yolo, I totally forgot about that program. It was great that you brought it up because it is another great resource for your clients! I would agree that paraphrasing is a really important technique! You may understand it one way, however, to avoid any miscommunication, it important to paraphrase! Great post.

  7. tou.thao says:

    When there is an individual that requires additional assistance in housing or food security here at Highlands Community Charter & Technical School we have an Student Intervention Team that addresses these issues and guides the individual through our internal program and other housing programs that are available to them in their community. Our navigator works alongside the individual until they are in the program that will address their needs and periodically check in with them to ensure that they are receiving the services they need.
    I find that when trying to identify barriers to employment using open ended questions to allow the individual to just talk and get relaxed is essential to having the student open up. Sometimes the questions are not even directly related to the potential barriers but can reveal barriers and allow the barrier(s) to be addressed appropriately.

  8. sabrina.leonard says:

    This is the case more often than not when I meet with a student. I have a resource binder that I have created for this exact purpose. I have been able to build these resources by networking with local businesses and organizations to ensure that no student has to learn hungry. If your hungry you cant retain knowledge. I learned that the hard way. For housing, I happen to be married to a housing specialist that works for a local Non-Profit agency which runs majority of the homeless shelters in Sacramento County (So I kind-of have an “in”). If that falls through I refer the student to 2-1-1 and sit with them through the process for phone screening. There are a multitude of food banks located within a 5 block radius of the school and I know of a few Churches nearby that serve hot meals. I also keep snacks under my desk, Lol.

    I am open with students about my personal life experiences and that I too was a student of Highlands at one point & I’ve had my fair share of being unsheltered and hungry. It seems to ease their tension around disclosing barriers. I usually ask open ended questions to get to know their situation in more detail, so that I can appropriately assist with their needs. I love helping others with the vast amount of resources I have in my tool box.

  9. princess.walton says:

    Highlands Community Charter and Technical Schools is located in the heart of Del Paso Heights. Being a high school we are required to have a Homeless Coordinator. This is commonly known as a wrap around service. We call this team the Student Intervention team which offers transportations, housing, food, and expungement resources/help to students. We have Lao Family and Asian Resources as partners, among others that have allowed us to provide food to our community. 211 is also a great resource, but because they provide direct support and follow up we typically just refer to them. Workforce works closely with them as typically if students need housing they likely need a job or a better paying job to obtain this housing. When we speak with our students and alumni we ask questions about their current situation by asking open ended questions to hear if they are ready to work or if they have all other barriers or possible barriers addressed. We refer to that department accordingly.

    Some of the techniques that are used to understand the needs of the student and to build a helping relationship are to let them know through listening that they can trust its a safe place. Reassure them they have come to the right place by addressing a plan of action based on the questions I have asked and what was stated by the student. During the initial contact with them I will also let me know they have a support system, what to expect while working with me, and expectations of them. We will have a small “to do” list and have made a few SMART goals for them to achieve. This action plan allows us to develop a helping relationship and ensure they are successful.

  10. jwongchen says:

    If a client needed emergent help with housing and meals, I would refer them and their family to Empower Yolo and STEAC–shortterm emergency assistance committee. And if they had young children in their family, also to Yolo Crisis Nursery. Davis Community Meals and Housing is a resource, although a bit limited (a meal is provided 3 days/week, and they have one transitional housing site and one family housing site). HEART of Davis can help with housing, particularly during the winter. Food is also distributed through the Yolo County Food Bank, and residents of Davis also crowdsource food in community freedges, offer free meals through Foods Not Bombs and Davis Night Market.

    Techniques I would use for an intake interview to discover barriers may include a written questionnaire with many topics (including support service needs), then a conversation follow up with open ended questions and clarifying questions. Techniques that work best for me are SOLER attending skills, then reflecting back what they said, to ensure I have synthesized and understood correctly. It’s critical that clients feel heard and in a trustworthy dynamic.

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