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.
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48 thoughts on “Career Development Forum – Sept2023”
Within the local area, we refer individuals to call “211” and speak to someone about housing. “211” is the number that they can call to receive information related to multiple barriers like housing, food insecurity, mental health assistance, etc. Additionally, we refer clients to the Lancaster County Food Hub’s emergency shelter and food bank.
During the intake interview, we ask client’s a series of questions related to barriers to employment. Most of the time, client’s will self-disclose their need for housing, food, or other services. This will prompt the career navigator to refer them to the appropriate resources. As the Behavioral Health Advocate, I will meet with the client to help understand their barriers and refer them to local resources as needed. Like the chapter states, we are helping individuals defeat their barriers to employment so that they can obtain employment in the future. These ideas go hand in hand, so it’s our job to help them break down these barriers.
Yes, I agreed Willow, 211 is Tenfold and they provide housing assistance and other supporting services. They also have a shelter called Transitional Living Center.
211 is a great resource! We have an excellent pamphlet that provides local agencies’ names and phone numbers broken down into categories.
211 links you to it all! Crazy of me not to mention it!
Yes, as Willow mentioned, 211 United Way of Pa. connects families facing many challenges to resources that can provide help. 211 has increased the resources in a range of services in all aspects.
Yes! We also have 211 as a resource and they are considered to be the best way to connect people in our rural area with the immediate resources they need.
211 is such an amazing resource! My place of employment has many resources available, but when we cannot help with something we refer to 211.
We also use the 211 connection a lot when someone is looking at housing, food, and other barriers related to living and surviving. I did forget to mention that in my post earlier. I have a group I call the community Resource Group who I meet with four times a year and this helps me get connected to agencies who do other things for people, the lady from 211 is always there. I agree 100% that we are all here to help individuals defeat their barriers to employment so that they can obtain employment in the future. It is also nice to have so many outside resources to contact for that help. It is very important to get to know as many outside resources as you can. I enjoy connecting with them so I can keep up on what they can help with.
1. To whom in your local area do you refer them for this assistance?
I’ll suggest applying to the County Assistance Office (CAO) to get food stamps, also for a quick meal to go to Water Street where they provide cooked food and the possibility of providing immediate shelter – all depending on the circumstances and values of the person. On housing I’ll suggest applying to Tenfold/Transitional Living Center for temporary housing and supporting services. If this has to do with Domestic Violence, then a referral could be done to assist the client thru the Clear House, YMCA or the CAP organization.
When I was a Case Manager, the best way to found out about a client’s barriers was thru a form I help create with the most common barriers that was part of my intake with a client one on one after the client had a general orientation for workforce services.
The best technique that worked well for me was to build trust and listening, so clients trust me with their concerns and knew I’ll assisted them. If the client(s) didn’t return to the program, it told me they solved their issues. Some clients later on called me to let me know they were doing well.
Hi Eunice! I agree, all of those resources are great. It’s important to identify barriers to ensure a client can trust us with their concerns. Additionally, we should know of various resources to give to clients to ensure their needs are met.
I always appreciate when clients call to let me know how they are doing or to ask for additional assistance. I stress that we are always here for our students even after they leave the program.
I agree with your recommendation. It is very similar to what we suggest where I work at CareerLink. It is also very important to build their trust. I feel this helps with the relationship and their long term goals.
1. Our agency refers clients in need of food and clothing to the following agencies: Helping Harvest, Kennedy House, Soup Kitchen & Food Pantry, New Journey Community Outreach, City Light Ministry, The Salvation Army, and Spring Valley Church of God among others. We refer clients in need of housing to the following agencies: Hope Rescue Mission, Opportunity House, Family Promise, Mary’s Shelter, SafeBerks, Habitat for Humanity, and New Pearson Ministries among others. Calling 211 is also a great resource for ER Shelter, Housing Programs, Transportation Services, Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services, Clothing and Food, Wellness Services, Education and Employment, Rent &Utility Assistance, and Children and Youth Services, Information & Referral, and Resources for Veterans.
2. The best way for us to find out about our clients’ barriers is through a form they fill out during the intake process. Once we discover a need, our case manager schedules an appointment with the client or visits them at their next class. We then provide a packet with information to help our clients find agencies in our community that can help with their specific needs. We also provide emergency food for our clients as soon as possible.
3. Providing a safe and comfortable environment for our clients is the best way to have them talk about their needs. If the client feels like you are a trustworthy person, they will talk to you about their barriers and will be open to receiving help from you.
It is refreshing to see that you have a such a large number of resources for food, clothing and other needs. However, I imagine that the variety of resources might be overwhelming to some clients. I’m guessing that you may be pressed at times to narrow down the choices for your clients.
thank you for sharing all the amazing resources our community have to assist the needy families or individuals.
I agree you with regarding providing safety and comfortable environment for the clients to be able to share all their needs, without feeling any shame or discomfort.
1. I may refer students in need of food to Helping Harvest, Kennedy House, Soup Kitchen & Food Pantry, New Journey Community Outreach, City Light Ministry, The Salvation Army, and Spring Valley Church of God. I also provide emergency food that I obtain from the New Journey Community Outreach program and will deliver the donation to the student’s home. Berks Coalition to End Homelessness will also provide a bag of emergency food to anyone in need. I refer clients in need of housing to the following agencies: Hope Rescue Mission, Opportunity House, Family Promise, Mary’s Shelter, SafeBerks, Habitat for Humanity, and New Person Ministries depending on the client’s needs and situation. Berks Coalition to End Homelessness is the lead agency for PA-506 and is responsible for the oversight of all Continuum of Care (CoC) policies, procedures, and CoC project funding decisions.
2. Our students complete a learning readiness survey during orientation. I meet with the student to help provide information and provide a warm hand-off to outside programs and providers.
3. Our staff makes our students feel comfortable and secure in the orientation. As relationships develop, students that were hesitant to share their needs initially will express their needs after they feel safe. I speak with the student in a separate private area.
1. My organization does not make local referrals since we provide treatment, education and vocational training to youth from across the state. The facilities that I work with are located in relatively rural areas and generally serve youth from urban areas. The youth’s Probation Officer in the community is their primary contact for any needs that they may have, including employment, food and housing. In addition to a Probation Officer, many of our youth return to communities with an “aftercare” agency. As local entities, these agencies are a tremendous resource for assisting in securing all kinds of other human services including the needs mentioned. Finally, as part of our facilities’ efforts to respond appropriately to youth regardless of their home community, we strongly encourage our youth to avail themselves of the resources of the CareerLink closest to their home. We provide and address and contact information, assist with setting up a CareerLink account and guide them through an initial job search near the time of discharge. Our youth are advised that CareerLinks are co-located with other frequently needed services such as nutritional assistance, housing and transportation.
2. There is no substitute for demonstrating genuine interest in the client. Open ended questions with plenty of follow-up questions about the daily challenges that they expect to face when returning to their community are priceless. Since most of our youth do not previously experience in the workforce, it is helpful to ask them how they will successfully navigate a workday with an emphasis on reliable transportation. While our youth generally can secure transportation for a single day or series of days, they frequently underestimate the planning required to get transportation to full-time employment or part-time employment with an erratic schedule.
1. To whom in your local area do you refer them for this assistance?
Housing and lack of food have been a increase barrier in all counties. Referring them to the Lancaster Homelessness Coalition web site provides a lot of resources. The County assistance office can assist with SNAP and emergency rent assistance. Food Hub is also a resource to refer a client, they help with both food and shelter. YWCA provides homelessness service. World Church Services (WCS) Refugees services for families entering the US facing homelessness. Community Action provides financial literacy they help improve your knowledge and personal financial management. Additionally, TENFOLD is a great resource to increase knowledge about how to understand housing rights, overcome barriers to housing, and identifying housing options. And as Willow mentioned 211 provides resources to food banks and housing and much more.
I really appreciate your comprehensive understanding of local agencies aimed at addressing homelessness in our community. Your outlining of local resources includes refugee services as well as housing rights which really highlights the complexity of the general term “homelessness.” Your reference to various agencies aimed at serving unique and specific housing needs matches the complexity of the challenge of housing. Thank you for sharing!
Before referring the customer to any resources, I do an assessment to get more information about the customer to be able to help more. For example, if I find out the customer is a single mom, I would be referring somewhere specific for single women. Once I collect the information, I try to refer them to resources that could be the most beneficial near them.
For housing, it depends if they are looking for a home, or assistance to pay their rent. First, I would share shelter homes contacts with them, refer them to social service near them. Last, I would share couple of website addresses with and show them how to search for a home online. If they need rent assistance, I will refer to social service near them where they could help them apply for rent assistance in their county.
For food assistance, I would share with them and connect them with the food banks in the area, or any organization that could assist them with that. Then I would refer them to social services in their area to apply for food stamps. During my initial assessment I would figure out if the are unemployed and try to connect them with a good job opportunity.
The initial assessment is very helpful technique. In the assessment I could find out why they are struggling with housing and meals. It could be because they are unemployed, not well paid in a current job, just left an abusive home, or anything else. The customer comes in because they need assistance with housing and meals and possibly could leave with the solution that caused this need.
Reading over your entry made me think about how we, as helping professionals, in my opinion go above and beyond to help meet the needs of the participants we serve. We give, we refer, we request, we do almost anything it takes to meet their needs and ensure that they are in a space to receive the services we have available to provide. It’s great that we have the connections, knowledge and capabilities to do so, but the best thing we can honestly do for our clients is to simply provide them with the tools they need to be self-sufficient. What that could look like in Lancaster County would be to provide an individual with the number and website for 211. This vital resource connects you with community services to meet almost any need you have from housing, t food insecurity, to mental health needs and so much more. Once we do that, participants should then take it upon themselves to connect and locate the resources that could best meet their needs. Doing everything for someone is an easy way to keep them dependent on others for the answer, whereas, holding them accountable and responsible for meeting their own needs will foster more of a sense of self-sufficiency.
We have many different resources and groups that we work closely with in our area. Depending on the situation we will refer participants to Center for Community Actions, County Assistance Office, or to the Mifflin Juniata Human Services link for our County. As a Workforce Specialist we can identify certain barriers during the intake process. We have each participant fill out a Family Needs Assessment Form. This will show us where the participant is with their housing, transportation, food, and utilities and show us where the need is for help. I find that in most cases, my participants will reach out to me for help when a need would arise, and I am able to then refer them to the different resources that we have available. The relationship that I have my participant is very important so that they feel they can trust me and can reach out to me with any issues.
I appreciate that you establish the relationship with the participants so you can create a safe environment to get them to share what keeps them from their next employment goal.
I love that you center relationship building in your work to increase access. Allyship with clients can remove feelings of embarrassment towards feelings of empowerment. Relationships are the key to changing lives, awesome job!
Megan thank you for mentioning Allyship. When I saw your response, I had to investigate Allyship further. Additionally, I fully stand behind your comment that “Relationships are the key to changing lives”. In my experience with working with clients and even in my own personal life, building a relationship in which the other person knows they can trust you with their confidences and your follow-through is there gives a foundation for growth. When the other person in the relationship knows that you are invested in the connection and you aren’t just going through the motions, they feel more relaxed by the trust they have in you and can aim forward to success!
During our intake process clients are screened for barriers in the development of a personalized employment plan. Career Navigators introduce their role to clients at this time as well as being a support in addressing barriers that impact securing employment and training, such as housing and food security. When barriers regarding basic needs such as housing and food are identified, clients are provided with layers of support including direct referrals to local agencies such as Water Street Mission, Lancaster Food Hub and Community Action Partnership. Clients are also made aware of the “211” hotline for accessing local agencies and resources. In addition to provision of emergency services, Career Navigators follow up with clients and community partners in their process of securing resources, ensuring that connection to services is made.
The techniques that I use while conducting intakes to screen for potential barriers around basic needs include my Helping Skills, where I leverage compassionate listening skills and both open and closed ended questions to draw out a client’s story to gain understanding of a client’s circumstances. It is really important for me that a client leaves feeling hope, which entails identifying needs and supports, clear and timely action steps and follow up. Mapping out how barrier identification is part of the process of goal achievement helps cultivate a positive mind set.
It sounds like Career Navigators has a nice approach. Likewise, it is neat to hear about the 211 call as that is new to me. Referencing the Helping Skills is a great reminder for those foundational pieces when working with everyone. Collectively, it is a good process for mapping out solutions to resolve the needs of the individuals served.
Some organizations in the area that can offer assistance to Indvidual’s who need it are, the Water Street Mission which is a well-established organization that provides shelter, meals, and various support services to individuals experiencing homelessness. They offer emergency shelter, transitional housing, and long-term recovery programs to help individuals regain stability in their lives. The Lancaster County Coalition to End Homelessness is a collaborative effort involving various organizations, service providers, and community members working together to address homelessness in the area. They coordinate resources, advocate for policy changes, and provide support services to help individuals and families experiencing homelessness find sustainable housing solutions. The Food Hub at Central Market is a program that operates within the Lancaster Central Market. It aims to reduce food waste and address food insecurity by collecting surplus food from vendors and distributing it to local organizations and individuals in need. They work with partner agencies to ensure that surplus food reaches those who are experiencing hunger.
During the intake interview, we typically ask the client some questions related to their barriers in relation to employment. Most of the time, client’s will self-tell us about their need for housing, food, or other services. The most effective technique for these kinds of situations is to build trust so that the client feels comfortable sharing and with that information we can help them to the best of our ability.
We have various locations for meals or food such as New Hope Ministries, the local soup kitchen at St. Francis, The Salvation Army, Mid-west Food Bank, etc. For both, I know Catholic Charities with take families in for a short period of time for folks that are actively looking for jobs and will provide transportation.
How you facilitate the conversation and interaction is important. Creating a safe place and a comfortable environment is key. Because individuals sometimes are not open to sharing out at the onset, we have used questionnaires or surveys that help get to various barriers. Many feel more comfortable with writing things out and or checking boxes to tell their story. At times, it necessary to ask leading questions. When in person, having materials out, such as brochures, flyers or pamphlets that direct their attention to how their needs can be fulfilled could be a successful approach as they may want to figure it out on their own.
Interestingly enough, with our one business client who owns real estate properties, they offer housing for individuals who work for them at a discount who truly need it.
Those are great locations for meals and we have similar ones in Reading. I agree with you 100% in that making a client feel safe and comfortable is critical key in establishing and building strong rapport with that individual. Our CAO will most times include the barriers which may require more attention such as no childcare or transportation but the student is set to begin classes in a month. We meet with our student one week after the original intake to complete comprehensive household assessment. At first, I thought it would too intrusive especially since I only met with the student once and now I am telling them to come back to answer some personal questions about substance use; criminal backgrounds, mental illness, and family/domestic violence. To my surprise the majority of my students answer all the questions openly and honestly. When you said you ask leading questions…what type of questions do you ask them during an intake?
Lancaster does not have the greatest resources to assist individuals with housing. In order to receive rental assistance or subsidized rent, one most often must face long waitlist. Additionally, if one is without a home, but is couch surfing, they are more than likely not going to be able to get assistance since they are not residing on the street or in their car.
The Water Street Rescue Mission might be the best bet for an individual who needs housing. There, they provide temporary shelter which could be nightly or short-term. One of the goals of the program is for individuals to receive the support they need to be able to be self-sufficient and able to sustain their own housing. In addition to this, if you are approved for the program, Tenfold, or the Transitional Living Center are other services that can assist individuals who meet their definition of homeless. There are also other temporary night shelters during the winter months, and population specific shelters for DV survivors or women with children.
On the contrary, there are endless resources available to assist with meals. Nearly every church known to man offers a hot meal throughout the day and there are food pantries such as the Lancaster County Food Hub that provides food to individuals in need. If someone is not aware of SNAP, I could also assist them with completing an application to see if they qualify for food stamps to supplement their meals.
To my knowledge in working with youth, we do not so enough to assess barriers in individuals. Something that could be useful would be a form that could be created to see if they have any needs. This form could assess for things such as transportation, food, MH care, shelter, etc. Additionally, having a conversation with participants during intake and throughout the duration of services about their needs could help ensure that their needs are adequately met with the use of community referrals.
One thing I currently do with the participants I work with is to engage in conversation. Any time I hear of a need, I do my best to diligently make referrals to services that can meet their needs.
I agree with you that Lancaster faces a shortage of resources for those who are in need of housing. I also like your idea about creating a form which will allow us to identify the needs of the participants.
I too agree that the housing issue has become more of an issue. I like your idea of a form to help with assessing the barriers they are facing. I think something more in-depth for all teams could prove to be beneficial as well as brainstorming together to meet the needs.
When I used to work with the EARN Program, when a participant came to the office because they needed help with finding a job, and then presented additional needs. I would first ask what experience they had, and what job they were able to take. I would then ask if they knew what places around them that were hiring.
When it came to addressing the housing and meals, I would ask if they needed resources to assist with the housing and what agencies they had already tried. Often times, our participants were in the waiting list for housing. when appropriate we would make referrals to the food banks.
I would first ask them whether their need is immediate or on going. Understanding this is important because if their need is immediate I would refer them to places like a local food bank or the Water Street Mission, etc. which can help them meet their current physical needs. If their need is ongoing I would recommend them to attend workshops, meet with a Job Developer and/or Behavior Advocate; apply for work since we will be able to help them navigate the process of finding a job and building a career for the rest of their life.
A technique that I have found helpful to use during an intake interview is having the participant take an open-ended questions or assessment that will identify their needs. These are helpful because they allow us to narrow down the needs of participants with general questions. This then allows us to ask them questions that are more specific so that we will be able to understand their situation on a personal level when we meet again in-person. When in an in-person meeting, we could build relationships. People will be more receptive to our help when we are kind to them without any expectation of anything in return. This first technique of relationship building is helpful because it allows us to talk about things outside of work as well as helping them in their career needs.
I think asking the if their need is immediate or ongoing is a very important first step. If a customer is currently in crisis mood with an immediate need for housing or food, it an be difficult for them to focus on anything else, or being in the appropriate mindset to be looking for employment and putting their best foot forward. I also agree that open ended questions are the best way to identify an individual’s needs and help build a relationship, where they feel comfortable sharing. In-person meetings allow for more relationship building and open conversation that can allow for some breakthroughs in what the customer is experiencing and allows you to provide them with resources moving forward, meet the customer where they are, and offer support.
Reply to all
Thanks to all of you for willingness to help those in need of career assistance and overcoming barriers.
When meeting with participants that are looking for work, it is a great opportunity to identify other barriers in their life, such as housing and meals. In my local area, I would first refer the participant to 211. 211 is a number that they can easily connect with for information about local resources about housing and meals. 211 is kind of a one-stop shop for all your questions and needs about community resources. I would also connect individuals to Eightcap for housing needs as well at the Day Shelter at Isabella County Restoration House. As for food assistance, I would refer them to the Isabella County Soup Kitchen and Food Pantry.
The techniques that I have found helpful during an intake interview to discover barriers customers are facing is to first ask them open ended questions with follow up questions. Customers also complete a pre-registration form that asks them if they are receiving food assistance, if they are experiencing homelessness, or if they have any other barriers that they are currently experiencing. I think the questions in the pre-registration form as well as creating a safe space for customers to share what they are experiencing currently are the most helpful for me in helping individuals with barriers. Creating a safe space and letting the customer know that it is a safe space for them to share is the first step in identifying their barriers, as they will most likely feel more comfortable sharing.
When people ask for help, they are vulnerable and uncomfortable so when talking with a client about their needs, I use the helping skills, listening, paraphrasing, being approachable and non-judgmental.
Two techniques I find useful every time are being approachable and finding their strengths. I weave these into our conversation and after paraphrasing what they have told me I try to ask good questions to dig deeper to find out what they might not be telling me or help them think about what they might need beyond finding work.
Since we know that basic needs to be met before they can focus on any kind of career exploration or development, I would have this customer call 211. They are our local resource and serve as a “first contact”. 211 can refer them to the proper agencies, assist them with a huge range of services, let them know the most up to date places to go for food distributions and some of the documents they might need to gather to apply for housing and food supports.
Since many companies require a resume to apply for jobs, and if they are intimidated by writing a resume, ensure them that I am here to help, and we will figure it all out together.
Next, I would find out if they would like to enroll in one of our programs to provide them with more access to all of our supportive services such as rent, childcare stipends, transportation help if needed, etc.
You hit it right on the head, people who come in are very vulnerable and sometimes hurting so listening, being approachable and non-judgmental is very important when working with everyone who comes through the door. Being friendly and approachable are the talent persons key ingredients at first. Got to make them trust in us. Very good information for all of us to follow. Treat everyone with respect and be non-judgmental
At GRCC we are lucky to have a DHHS case worker on staff that only works with our students. I can work with students on filling out the MI Bridges application and have their case added to the caseworker on staff. Through the application they can be evaluated for housing, food, utility, and child care assistance. If the student needed emergency housing we could work with some of our emergency shelter providers to see if there is an open bed for the evening or advocate for the student to receive an emergency grant that could cover a hotel for a few nights. We have a food pantry on campus that any student can use, but we also could refer the student to them to Feeding West Michigan and Community Food Club agencies.
I have found that having direct questions on the intake form or interview about basic needs are the best way to elicit response on insecurity. We question if students are worried about food, housing, transportation, legal, health or other basic needs. I think beyond gathering the data, providers need to be ready to provide the support. It’s helpful knowing the needs, but there is also the responsibility to support students to increase access. Sharing 10,000 resources can also be really overwhelming for someone. I find it best to share what I think might be relevant and then ask the student which ones feel like a top priority to begin using. I then try my best to make a warm handoff to that agency and follow up on the issue with the student.
” Sharing 10,000 resources can also be really overwhelming for someone.”
I agree, it can be overwhelming when I 1st started in this position I use to give out everything asap, but I realized people that are in need already have so much going on that have to do paper work for this agency and mdhhs and UIA then I need stuff from them. Now when I talk to people we get an overview of all their barriers and yes they are all important but now we take 1 thing at a time unless I know they are highly efficient and can handle multiple task at 1 time.
1. To whom in your local area do you refer them for this assistance?
For Housing for emergency we involve the VA because there are shelters that can always take in veterans. For more less emerency there is Oakland County Housing Authority, MDHHS, SSVF & HVRP. For food insecure than are many resources like Gleaners, Forgotten Harvest, but one I perfer for muy local area is a place called Farmington Cares. It is a food pantry design like a store so people that need the service dont feel like it is a charity. There are shelves and a check out but no payment. It helps a lot for single parents with small children they just think they are going to a regular store. I think this is a great concept.
Here is the link: https://caresfh.org/
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.
I have found it best to just build the relationship with the client and ask questions when the time arises. Getting a conversation going and having a client comfortable goes a long way to get them to open up. People do not want to show that they are struggling and I like to use my or other examples because everyone has probably been in a similar situation at one time or another.
I have limited contact with clients, given that I primarily work with businesses, but when I do help out at events, I am always amazed at how quickly the 211 booklets fly off the tables. It has made me aware of just how big the need really is. I have also been grateful for the meetings that have been provided to us to help us learn about the various resources in our County. The Food Hub is one that I refer to when/ if asked as well as The Water Street Mission and Church World Services. I desire to learn more about other agencies for wherever I am so I can be ready to offer some support.
One of the things I’m really excited about is the shift in focus at our office from not just finding a “career” for someone, but looking deeper and attempting to meet their physical and emotional needs. We are having a first ever event in the fall where we have a Resource Fair AND a Job Fair together. I believe this is a a great step in bringing the two needs together.
As my work as a Career Advisor working with individuals referred to us by DHHS for the PATH program, questions revolving around housing and food assistance do come up frequently. Part of our orientation with PATH participants involves them signing up for and filling out barriers and needs in TuaPATH, a program we use designed to assist with case management of our PATH participants. If housing needs arise, we refer them to the local Housing Commission, 2-1-1, MiBridges website, and single moms are referred to two local shelters we have in our area. I live in a rural area with very limited access to housing opportunities even for those who can afford it, unfortunately, so this has become a real issue to face for a lot of our participants. As our participants in PATH have also applied for Food Assistance when they apply for cash assistance (FIP), this is less of a barrier seen by me as a Career Advisor. However, we keep a list of local food pantries, churches and other organizations we can refer them to. If they have not applied for TANF, this is most definitely a step we focus on.
Techniques I use to connect with participants to access their barriers include having them fill out the Goals. Progress. Success. (GPS) Assessment in TuaPATH during orientation which allows a deeper understanding of the participant’s needs by having them rank their current situations in housing, childcare, personal well-being, family support, transportation, etc. Then, when I meet with them one-on-one, we go over their needs and barriers, allowing them a safe space to discuss their concerns. It is very important in the relationship building for them to feel heard and I give them my full attention. I also explain to them if I am taking notes on their intake form, it is only for my purpose to assist in remember the details later. I also try to emphasis that I recognize we have all needed help at times in our lives and I value my role in assisting them at this important step in their lives. By letting them know I see them as what they are, another human being asking for help, this can help break down any notations they may believe I have about their situation and remove any unnecessary shame they may be experiencing.
I am the Coordinator for the Senior Community Service Employment Program. It is funded by a grant from the Department of Labor. Within this grant we are allowed to provide Supportive Services. These services include, housing, food, clothing, consumers bills, transportation, health equipment to name a few. These cannot be ongoing services, so if the need is to be continued, I refer them to Region VII Area on Agency on Aging. Region VII offers many resources to help the Senior communities.
I utilize assessments and questionnaires to determine employment barriers and needs. I also inform them of the Supportive Services that the program can assist with. This usually brings up the conversation of what they need assistance with.
1. I tend to refer most of my clients looking for housing and meals to the DHHS office across the street. We do not have a homeless shelter or senior center in our town. I also give them contacts to the Catholic and Lutheran churches in town. I will refer them to the Alger/Marquette community action center for more help in that area. We also have a food bank that anyone can go to and get food for their family. It is open from 8 am to 5 pm daily and run by volunteers from the community. Our services are limited here but there are some agencies that can help. The sheriff’s department does give out motel vouchers but I believe it is for only two night stay. St, Vincent Depaul has a small food pantry along with the availability to help low income people with heating and electric needs if qualified.
2. Of course the face to face meeting is the best for me. I have had people just call and ask what jobs are available in the area which limits me in seeing what I really need to know. Finding out what there background is, experiences, education and type of work they are looking for is an important start. If you can get them to open up then your on your way. Sometimes it is like pulling teeth. I try to get a feel for them and what they really need. Once you get into a good conversation you can ask things like do you have good transportation, day care needs, jobs that fit there time line-morning, afternoon, or nights, part-time or full-time. If they still seem quite interested in help, I have them do the ONET assessment which is short and direct and I also go over the pure Michigan Talent connect site to see what is available and go through that with them. Once you have a good sense of there situation we can start angling towards certain openings in the area. I try not to force them into positions but to let me know what they think is the best fit for them, then go from there.
3. Techniques I use are basic, greet them with a smile, offer your help and see what they need today. Be honest and forthcoming and ask questions to get answers. Some come around easy and some it takes time for them to open up. Creating a comfortable atmosphere and getting their trust in you is important. You have to show sincerity and interest in there situation and listen to them carefully. You don’t just want to jump into one job or area when you may find they have interest, experience, or desire to do another. I like to one on one meeting just to get things rolling with them, being honest and helpful is the first step to getting them to open up. It is not an easy task at times to pin point what would be best for them until you get their whole story. My biggest challenge is the type of jobs available in the area and quality of those jobs. You have to decide once you get to know them what would be a good fit.
I also like to use the ONET assessment tool to get an idea of there interests directly from them. This is not an exact science I tell them so I go over the outcome in each category to see how they feel about the results. Some may not agree with all the results but it does give us a good idea of what to look for in employment if that is available in the area. This usually brings out some good conversation. It open things up and creates a little comfortable feeling in the meeting. You let them discuss what they think about the outcome then give your opinion. It is a good back and forth conversation piece as long as you can keep it directed at employment.
We have a number of food banks in the Reading area including various church food panties that offer food to anyone in need on specific days. RACC has its own food pantry on-campus which students can utilize. It is open every day which makes it quite convenient. Helping Harvest tends to come to our campus on specific Saturdays; however, they also have a location where individuals can call and go pick up food.
I think establishing a safe place and making a student comfortable vital in starting a good and working dialogue. I try to keep my Intake interviews as informal yet professional as possible. I can usually observe a personal well-enough to determine if they are shy, anti-social, and/or just the opposite, outgoing and talkative. I tend to speak first because I find that helps my student to feel more relaxed and more likely to engage in a conversation with me. Everyone has story so I like to let the student tell me one. Once they begin speaking, it only takes one thing which I can relate to with him/her and I run with it. In regards to barriers, we generally receive forms which sometimes indicate what types of barriers the student may have whether needing child care; transportation, medical conditions, learning comprehensions among other things, which we determine in advance during case review.