Career Development Forum – June 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.

37 thoughts on “Career Development Forum – June 2022”

  1. Mandolynwitnik says:

    United Way of Greater Cleveland
    Social services organization in Cleveland, Ohio
    Address: 1331 Euclid Ave, Cleveland, OH 44115
    Hours: 24hrs
    Closed ⋅ Opens 8:30AM Mon
    Phone: (216) 436-2100
    2. I found that letting a client know during intake that we have resources such as food, clothing and baby items if needed, will give them the courage to say so. We also have health and wellness sites for counseling. I just mention it. A client who needs help after we establish trust will tell me. During Covid we had a lot of clients asking for services.

    1. LORI says:

      I agree, establishing a connection with the client is key. I like the fact that you offer the services up front. This puts the ball in their court to receive the help if needed. Covid brought on a lot of issues that we have never had to deal with before. We did not see clients face to face during that time so it was more difficult to assess the needs of our clients.

    2. sbennett says:

      We found after Covid so many clients that needed resources but no clue where to start looking. It is awesome that you guys start off giving out resource information. Even if they do not need the resources, it is still nice to let them know, because they may have family or friends that need the resources, and not sure where they need to go.

    3. tyhoward says:

      I agree with you technique letting the participant know upfront what resource you offer. You would be amazed at their reaction, and they will also be a marketer for you and your program. I have found that a lot of people is not familiar with what we offer and how we can help them in other areas.

    4. amoccia says:

      Yes, I think often you don’t know what the client needs or they don’t divulge it to you right away. Being able to bring all the resources up regardless of if you think they need the service or not may spark something in them and they will reach out for the help.

    5. Cmatney says:

      I like that you encourage your client’s in the “intake process”. That initial client interview, getting to know what there interests and needs, definitely will help this client, and give us a better understanding on how we will be able to better assist them. We have several assistance programs in our County as well. We, also utilize Public Assistance with the Human Resource Agency, and they provide shelter assistance, client can receive a monthly income for food and there is also, cash aide.
      We too had many clients that needed resources when Covid broke out. We utilized telephone services, and still had a small amount of in person appointments. It was difficult, but we worked on making it possible to still provide our WIOA/Worknet services. Since we have a grant specifically for the Homeless, outsourcing was not an obstacle during Covid.

  2. LORI says:

    We only have a couple of local options for housing and food assistance. OATH is a group that helps people with temporary housing and food. We have a few churches that provide food bags each week and some offer hotel vouchers. Being a small town there just aren’t a lot of options for people in need of housing or food. The intake questionnaire we use asks specifically if there is a housing or other need. I would hope clients would answer this honestly if they truly needed assistance. I think this goes back to basic respect and trust with a client. If the client feels we can be trusted they will be more likely to share the needs they have.

    1. eric.blair says:

      I agree Lori! By getting to know the client during the intake and asking specific questions related to potential needs, it make it a lot clearer the needs of the client. Trust is very important, especially without any judgement and with open understanding of the situation.

  3. eric.blair says:

    1) The organization that I work for has a housing department and a weekly food distribution. So we are usually able to refer to coworkers internally for supports in these areas. We are also in close contact with HHSA and other local organizations to provide additional resources as needed.

    2) During the intake process we will mention the services that are offered by our organization as well as the fact that we may be able to locate what they need if we don’t have direct access ourselves. We will share resources as they arise to make clients aware of what is available.

    1. bhoward says:

      Thanks for sharing! It sounds like your office does a good job of talking to people and finding out their needs. It is so helpful that you are able to talk with your coworkers and find local resources within your community. The intake interviews is so important in getting to know the participants and their needs. It is a great way to start helping them in their journey.

    2. Mandolynwitnik says:

      I am grateful to have inhouse resources as well. Having relationships with local agencies is something our resource case manager tries to keep up with. Having a go to especially for a client is crisis helps me know I really have done my best.

      1. shirleydaviswioa says:

        These are some great added resources that your company offers. It’s always good to let the students know that you there for them. Once they realize that you care they open up more and that’s certainly a better line for communication.

    3. saporras says:

      Hi Eric,

      That’s awesome that you have everything in one spot for the clients. In my previous job we had something related to that, Instead of housing we would pay their rent, utilities and request a check for our local grocery store so the client can purchase food. We also had once a month food distribution’s and we would handout more than 150 bags especially during the pandemic when everyone was working from home. I also was able to provide all the resources in spot for the client from temporary assistance to vocational training and even immigration services all under one roof.

  4. bhoward says:

    In our area, we have Action Pact, the housing authority and the family services offices to refer people to. Our Regional Commission office offers a program like ‘meals on wheels’ that delivers meals to people in need. Also, we have a transportation service that serves people in our counties. We can refer several churches who serve meals thru out the week. So, we can provide people with the resources and information for the help they need.
    The intake interview is important because we are able to listen, learn and guide a person as they come into our office. This process helps us to find out what they are looking for. Whether looking for a homeless shelter, a local training center, financial assistance with school expenses or access to job leads, we work to find the assistance they need.
    Typically, our offices assist people who have enrolled in school and need extra help with school expenses. As for referring them, sometimes a person is looking for a certain school or training center and we will help them find that place and what might be a good fit for them. If they are needing assistance with housing, food, transportation, child care, or job leads, we provide them with local centers in our area that are able to help. We work with each individual to see how best to help.
    Techniques that work well for our agency are the support services offered to participants enrolled in occupational training. Whether they are enrolled in GED training or nursing school at a college, participants are provided with extra money to help cover transportation, child care, tuition, fees, books, uniforms or tools, etc. I feel that this support gives a little boost while they are obtaining a GED and/or College/Technical school degree/certification. Along with the financial support, they are also given guidance and counseling from our case managers. By talking to the participants and working with them, case managers are able to encourage them toward their goals of finding what they need and hopefully toward a desired job.

  5. shirleydaviswioa says:

    Living in a small area our resources are limited, for employment would refer the customer out to Labor Finder and Team Temp for some quick job leads. For housing I would refer the customer to local public housing agency for free or reduce rent. Locally there is an organization that gives out boxes of food Called Pierce County Food Pantry that gives out 50 pounds of food every 2 weeks. Personally, I just hope that my students will reach out if they are need.

    1. sbennett says:

      Yes Shirley, Team Temps is always something I will suggest to individuals looking for a job and wanting a quick turn around for start time.

  6. sbennett says:

    1. To whom in your local area do you refer them for this assistance?
    We have a new program OATH-Okefenokee Alliance for The Homeless. I would refer people to for food and home needs. They share a lot of resources on their Facebook page that they have going on. They do clothes consignment’s, they take in donations that can potentially help individuals repurchase a birth certificate to start over in our area, they can donate money towards turning lights on in a new place, and they have even helped someone travel back home that was stranded in our area. This program collaborates with local churches also to help with food and donations.
    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.
    As a program assistant I do not directly speak with costumers much, however, if I was to need to take intake application with a participant, I would start off with the services and support we offer the clients. Once they know what services we offer, and that we can assist with transportation and child care, I would then further continue with the application process asking the questions needed. Being open and honest with the client for them to gain your trust and make them feel like they can talk to you is very important.

    1. fmking says:

      I was not aware of the OATH program. It seem to be a good resource and I will definitely have to look into this program. It is always good to have resources that will assist with food and housing especially after the COVID pandemic.

  7. fmking says:

    Unfortunately, due to its rural location, Ware County lacks many resources. For food, however, I would refer the client to Concerted Services. They provide assistance to families who are having difficulty providing food for their families as well as paying their rent and utility bills. I would also refer them to Housing Authority, which helps low-income families find affordable housing. If they are homeless, they may be eligible for food stamps. As a result, I would direct them to the Department of Family and Children Services.
    I believe that the best way to identify a customer barrier is for me to listen to the client and look them in the eyes when they are speaking to me. This will help to establish a rapport and make them feel at ease talking and opening up to me. I also pay attention to their body language when they speak to me, because certain subjects tend to make them react in a certain way when they are sensitive. To gather more information, I simply ask open-ended questions.

    1. lifecoachleanne says:

      Living and working in rural area’s difficult because there are limited resources. I have noticed there is a difference in “urban poor” and “rural poor” scenarios. Manytimes the rural poor go under served because of lack of resources.
      I have seen where several communities/counties may partner together to share resources and serve the needs of their community. I also see more non governmental agencies stepping up to assist in meeting the needs. Different community agencies, school systems, and local religious organizations tend to fill in the gaps where local government services can’t meet needs.

  8. tyhoward says:

    If I had a customer that need assistance with housing and meals I would connect them with two of our following partners:
    LAMP (Lowndes Associated Ministries to People Inc.)- Homeless Shelter and Outreach
    South GA Partnership to End Homelessness
    These two resources will not only help with housing and food they will also assist with clothing, and paying bills. I am able to contact both entities 24/7 and they are both located here in Valdosta, GA (Lowndes County). They respond quickly when I contact them. During the intake process is when I try to establish a relationship with the participant to seek what are some of their barrier and what services they may need. Once that is establish I explain our services we offer and the resources that we have for them to us. I am finding that when those relationships are established they open up more and express what they need other than their GED.

    1. amoccia says:

      I believe that as well-Relationship is really the Key. You can’t make progress with someone if you don’t care about them first. It is wonderful that you have a Shelter with such quick resp0nse time. Sometimes these issues are critical. Yes, finding out they are missing the GED is the easy part, because it is a yes or no answer; it is the other items that are difficult to assess.

    2. kyang says:

      I like how you use the intake process to build rapport with your clients. Do you do your own intake or is it assigned for someone else to do it? At our main center, we have Intake and Referral Specialists who do the intake and eligibility portion with the potential clients. They may or may not relay important information to us as case managers, so I still find it important and necessary to have my own discussion with potential clients as well. As my current office, I do my own intake and eligibility so I am able to dwell into those areas more with clients if they are willing to open up to me.

  9. amoccia says:

    I work at an AJCC and we have many excellent Program Assistants that have resources that we provide to the clients. As customers come into the center they are introduced to our program and we see if they are most interested in finding a job. We have them watch an orientation video, and fill out a packet. Our Counselor of the Day does an initial brief interview, to go over items in their packet to see if they have immediate needs to address: mental health, homelessness, hunger, general assistance, and other needs. We refer our customers to shelters like the Salvation Army, Ready to Work, and St. Mary’s if they need immediate shelter and they are willing to go. We have several food banks like Oasis, Bread of Life, and St. Mary’s. In Stockton we are facing a homelessness crisis and there are many programs that address needs; however, our partners like Department of Rehabilitation (who have a desk in our center) provide the most significant support.

    As mentioned we have them fill out a packet, fill out CalJOBS (our online application for WIOA and Wagner Peyser programs). This interaction helps determine how computer literate an individual is and if there are any language barriers. Once a customer moves on in the process they take online assessments, participate in an interview, and create their IEP with the Case Manager.

    Engaging the customer in conversation is one of the best ways to find out how they are and what they need. We also do our best to find them someone at the center they can “relate” too. Following up and keeping your promises is so important; call back when you say you are going to, and provide the information you said you would. People need to trust you so you can help them.

    1. jcunningham0404 says:

      Following up and keeping your word to clients is also significant in developing the trust necessary to assist in breaking down or addressing those barriers. referrals to other agencies that provide the needed service are appropriate, however, unless it is necessary, I wait until after our initial contact to coordinate that support.

  10. jcunningham0404 says:

    Our agency partners with several local CBOs and government agencies that offer housing services. Depending on the specific need of the client I would make the referral to the appropriate agency (mother with children, returning citizen, displaced worker, single man). For food needs, our agency does a benefits screen for eligibility for county services (Cal Fresh, TANF) to get clients that support immediately. We refer them out to local food markets, churches, and CBOs that either provide free food (giveaways) or hot meals (depending on their need. The techniques that we use are initiated in the intake process. It is a thorough and comprehensive system to assess for barriers. Additionally, we use probing questions that are asked after a relationship of trust has been built, to obtain information that may have been withheld in the intake process because of guilt or shame. Lastly, we use incentives (gift cards) or pay for services as a way to encourage clients to be proactive in achieving their goals (i.e. obtaining a driver’s license or ID card).

    1. vicente.jimenez says:

      Sounds like you have great partner agencies to help you assist your clients. I like the fact that you have gift cards as an incentive for clients. We have them as well, but we don’t have a lot, but they are always helpful.

  11. vicente.jimenez says:

    1. I am very fortunate to work for an organization that offers assistance with housing. So I would do a referral or a warm hand off to our housing program. We also offer an emergency food bag so I could give them non-perishable foods. We also have a food drive where our community has access to fresh food and vegetables.

    2. Asking more open ended questions during the intake. Summarizing or Paraphrasing what the conversation of clients.

    3. Definitely one of the techniques that work well for me is asking open-ended questions. When asking open ended questions during the intake or the initial meetings and even throughout the time you are working with the client you are able to get more information from the client so you can better help them. Which brings me to the second technique to take a multicultural approach when working with a client. For example, now that you’ve asked open-ended questions having some information to go off of like gender age Ethnicity What generation in the workplace. It will enable you to have a better understanding of the client to help them in the workplace.

    1. martha.avila says:

      Hello Vicente,
      It is nice that you have worked for an organization and to be able to continue to work with them thru referrals is great. I believe that anything that will help to provide setvies and assist a client is always our number one goal. Asking questions is a must because you never know when you will end up with a person who is shy to ask for help or even let you know their needs.

  12. lifecoachleanne says:

    If a client of mine is needing assistance with housing and meals, I would refer to several different entities in the community. The United Way often has a list of community resources available. In fact, my local United Way has a document that has free clothing resources, counseling, child care resources in addition to housing and food. For food items, there are several local food banks, the WIC Office, and a long list of different churches that currently have food banks or offer free hot meals. There are seven different housing assistance entities listed – one in which is the Moline Housing Authority and the Rock Island Housing Authority. The Illinois Department of Public services is also a service that is available.

    Depending upon the urgency of the need, is depends upon who I might refer to. If housing is needed immediately, I may refer them to Project NOW. There are also several shelters in the area, depending upon the gender of the client, and/or if the client has children depends upon who I might refer them to. If there are any specific identifiers, this may also depend upon who I refer them to – there are specific agencies who work with veterans, those who work with domestic violence situations, those who work with substance abuse/addiction, and those with criminal records. Its helpful to know some of this information so they can be referred to the proper assistance.
    If it is just rent and utility assistance, then I would refer them to their specific township and give them the contact for the local energy company who offers assistance.

    I typically ask clients about short term and long term goals. And then asking a simple question “In setting these goals, is there anything that you can see may be an obstacle to achieving that goal? Anything that may cause a hiccup in the process?”
    You can also have a simple document for the client to fill out that asks about basic needs- a simple box to check that would allow you to inquire about during the initial interview/session. Approaching this topic with care and compassion, and being upfront with the client and letting them know that it is key to have basic needs met in order to focus on achieving their career goals. Even though a career move might help them meet these needs, the urgency of the matter will have an impact on the clients choice. It is helpful to understand a clients situation before just diving in. Some clients will not have a choice – or feel like they have the privilege to pick a “dream job”. They may have barriers that I am not aware of – and to just start talking dreams may cause more damage and will not be helpful in building trust with the client.

    I think it is helpful to allow clients to disclose what they feel comfortable disclosing. There are questions that you can ask that will get under the surface as some (maybe most) will not share everything on the first session. I do not believe that have to disclose everything the first time we meet – it all depends upon the nature/length of the commitment to which they are working with you.
    I have learned to ask “ Is there anything else that would be helpful for me to know about your current situation” as an easy way to open the door. If they don’t offer, I may ask open ended questions when talking about specific areas/situations that they bring up. For example, with a client who dropped out of college I simply ask “ Tell me a little bit about that time of your life, what was going on that contributed to you taking a break/not returning to school?” This asks for information without placing the blame, or making the client feel guilt/shame for not finishing but looks at it with a sense of understanding that Life happens. It’s helpful for them to be able to identify what was going on as a way to prevent it from happening again in the future (should they choose to return again). The same thing can be asked if a person was let go from a position, or left a position in any fashion.
    In general, I think it is good to be curious and open minded when working with clients. We can come in with preconceived ideas on a person’s situation. But we need to let the client tell their story so we can understand it from their perspective and not make assumptions as to why they are sitting in front of you wishing to receive services/support from you.

  13. saporras says:

    When it comes to our local resources to provide them with meals and housing, I usually use the emergency food banks in our area. The ones we contact are Bread of life, Second Harvest, St Mary’s dining hall. We usually have snacks, drinks for the clients when they come to our office from the donations we receive from our local food banks or items we personally have bought for clients to have here in the office in case of who might need it. When it comes to housing that a big one I wish had more resources too I just know a few ones like The Spot is a safe environment for young adults and The women center. Another one that has helped me too is the Gospel Rescue mission center and they shelter families for a few weeks up to 3 months.
    The techniques I use to discover the barriers that the client might have during the intake interview would be asking questions and setting goals for them. After the intake process I develop a ISS/OAS that allows me to set goals for the client to meet and if additional assistances are needed will request support services for the client.

  14. martha.avila says:

    In our comunity there is an organization called housing authority and there is also the womens center that can provide emergency housing assistance. There are also shelters but if there is noi need for emergency housing I refer them to the San Joaquin Housing Authority. For meals we have Oasis and Bread of life there is also The Second Harvest. I have been a volunteer with The second Harvest emergency food bank providing food to families in need. These are very rewarding organizations because the smile in the peoples faces was priceless. I felt really good to have been able to be a part of these distributions.

    1. lalonso says:

      Hi Martha,

      I enjoy volunteering for Second Harvest and the assistance they provide local families. The look on their faces is priceless! Especially, in today’s inflation, people are needing additional assistance with food and goods to make it through the day. These distributions are making a big difference in our community and family are able to eat full meals.

  15. kyang says:

    1. I will refer them to local food banks and housing agencies in city they live in. For food banks in Stockton, I can refer them to places like: Emergency Food Bank, Salvation Army, Good Samaritan Training Center, Gospel Center Rescue Mission, St. Mary’s Dining Hall, Bread of Life, Catholic Charities, and more. For resources like housing, I can refer them to Central Valley Low Income Housing and Housing Authority of San Joaquin. I will provide them with the phone number, address, contact number, and the dates and times they are open.

    2. When clients fill out their pre-eligibility questionnaire packet, there are questions in there regarding to barriers that the client is currently facing. These questions go over things such as if they have problems with transportation, housing, are homeless, childcare, etc. During the intake & eligibility process, they go over these questions again during the actual filling out of the WIOA application. I have also found it helpful to have these conversations with potential clients when they come into the center for the first time. I may not get in depth answers depending on if they are willing to tell me, however, I am able to somewhat probe on potential barriers they may face. I can then refer them to community resources right there on the spot if needed.

    3. I really like to talk clients when they first come into the center inquiring about our services. This allows me to come up with potential problems they may face that may affect their ability to work full time or attend school full time. Aside from just referring them to food banks and housing resources, I also like to keep myself up to date with available resources in our community. If they have children, I would also refer them to apply for CalFresh. Pacific Gas and Electric also has a discount program to eligible households where they might be able to qualify for a reduction in their gas/electricity bill. Depending on who they use for their water, I will also refer them if I know the water company has discounts available. These other resources are important, because they can shift the way they use their money resource. For example, if they do not have to worry about food costs because they were able to get CalFresh (food stamps), they can now use that money for other important living costs. I find that resources such as calling 211, which is a community resource, can sometimes assist clients better. 211 is able to hone in on available resources in the actual area that the client lives in, because transportation may be a barrier. They also have more information such as the general assistance customers can expect to receive from places, as well as dates and times those places are open.

  16. Cmatney says:

    Client that are looking for employment, supportive services, is what Worknet can assist with and provide. The initial interview with the client is important to be able to assist with their needs. Locating barriers with clients, is already set as a guideline in our ISP (Intensive Service Packet). The ISP reviews and asks questions like are you receiving Public Assistance, when is the last time you were employed (possible referral, EDD), what services would you like to receive, etc. This allow us to help our clients interests and needs, when a client inquires about our services, and it allows me to come up with a plan best suited for them.
    I would offer our services for employment and OJT training opportunities, invite to Job Fairs we have every month, assist with online application, help with resume writing, and referrals for employers that we know are currently hiring. We have many outside resources that we offer are clients, for instance, for food and monetary assistance we encourage clients to apply for HSA/Public Assistance, or refer to shelters in the local area. HSA also can provide emergency assistance for temporary shelter to help those who are homeless.

  17. Cmatney says:

    I like that you encourage your client’s in the “intake process”. That initial client interview, getting to know what there interests and needs, definitely will help this client, and give us a better understanding on how we will be able to better assist them. We have several assistance programs in our County as well. We, also utilize Public Assistance with the Human Resource Agency, and they provide shelter assistance, client can receive a monthly income for food and there is also, cash aide.
    We too had many clients that needed resources when Covid broke out. We utilized telephone services, and still had a small amount of in person appointments. It was difficult, but we worked on making it possible to still provide our WIOA/Worknet services. Since we have a grant specifically for the Homeless, outsourcing was not an obstacle during Covid.

  18. lalonso says:

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

    For general assistance, I usually will refer my clients to Human Services Agency, California Human Development, Emergency Food Bank, Salvation Army, St. Mary’s Dining Hall, and Second Harvest, For housing, I will refer them to Housing Authority of San Joaquin.

    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.

    At San Joaquin County WorkNet, we do counselor of the day and speak with the clients before they turn the Intensive Services Packet. During this conversation, we are able to identify any barriers. This is one best opportunities to understand what the client needs, what they are seeking and how we can help them bridge the gap to full time employment. Clients often do not know about the resources available to them. Identify them early helps them get the assistance they need and ultimately obtaining employment.

    Secondly, when clients fill out their packet there is a section to identify any barriers or needs that they may have. These questions are designed to identify if they have issues with reliable transportation, need for food or shelter. Based on how they filled these questions, I will provide them with additional resources before they are enrolled in our program. Additionally, we will go over these barriers during the certification process to prevent anyone from falling through the cracks. Several clients have revealed additional information during the certification because they didn’t understand the questions in the Intensive Services Packet. I will encourage my clients to ask me for assist if they face any barriers and will ask them thought out our program if they need additional assistance.

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