Career Development Forum – Cohort 1

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.

15 thoughts on “Career Development Forum – Cohort 1”

  1. Wendy Pryce says:

    1. I would give my client the following resources and help them get connected if needed. For employment resources I would talk to them about the W2 program, FSET program, Employment Agencies and take them out to the resource room to show them where to find available jobs now hiring. I would encourage them to attend any job fairs in the area they are looking for employment. I would also help them research jobs on the different websites such as Indeed, Career Builder, and jobcenterofwisconsin. In order to help them with food and housing I would give them the rock county resource guide and highlight the contact information for the food pantries, meal sites and homeless shelters. I would also give them the number for foodshare, Echo, Salvation Army and Community Action Inc. If they have a minor child living with them I would give them directions on how to apply for emergency assistance through Forward Service.

    2. The only way to know what someone needs help with or what barriers that person is facing is to have an open ended conversation. When you talk with someone you can get more information from them if they feel you truly want to help them. I engage the person in a meaningful conversation about the different resources out there that could help them, I don’t talk at them about the resources or just give them a list and say call these places. If they don’t have a phone I would help them get connected to the different agencies and will set up appointments for them if needed. I treat the person coming to me for help they way I would want someone to treat me if I was in the situation they are.

    1. Jessica Wright says:

      Since Wendy is the only one posted, I am replaying on hers! Meaningful conversation is the most effective way to find out more information from clients! Providing as many resources as possible is the best thing we can do for our clients.

  2. Jessica Wright says:

    I have a resource guide that I have in my office that I utilize for all my clients. In the counties that I cover, I would give clients contact information for local housing authority in their current county (contact number and person), referrals to SWCAP (community Action) for housing assistance/energy assistance, local church and thrift stores can sometimes assist with security deposits so i would also provide that information as well. I also would refer clients to W2/Forward Services, Food Share/FSET programs. Any program that can benefit them in any way, I will give them resource information for it.

    I utilize the questions from the application and initial assessment to determine clients barriers. I then use my judgement to gather resources that I feel will benefit them. I give them different scenarios to see if i can possible find more barriers that they may not think of but could be a barrier later on down the road. I try to ask “open ended” questions and re-assure clients that I am not here to judge them, I am here to assist them and help them find programs and services that will benefit them. I also partner with other programs to see what services they can offer clients and the process of getting the assistance they need right away.

    1. Samantha says:

      This is definitely a great way to be able to provide resources to your clients. Referrals are always the best option and also just knowing what is available in your area to provide as much guidance as possible. It definitely helps take a load of stress off their shoulders when it’s on hand like this.

  3. Samantha says:

    I like to keep on hand in the office our yellow packet which indicates all service providers in our area and also for a quick and easy peace of mind to clients. Within the job center, Resource Room, try and show them all the options of resources beyond what I can offer, so that way they know where to find information that I have provided them in case documents get lost. Very similar to Jessica above, I refer clients out to other provides like W2, Foodshare, FSET, DVR, Economic Support and Job Services within the job center building itself.

    Having an open ended conversation is the best techniques I have found. Although, it is definitely not my strongest suit, but it is something I regularly work on and try to create an environment for my client to allow me to discover what barriers they could be facing.

  4. Samantha Larsen says:

    I like to keep a copy of the yellow packet that lists all of the resources and services available within our area. This allows a quick and easy access to provide answers to my clients. I also like to make sure they are fully aware where to find these documents as well as other pamphlets available to them within our job centers resource room. Similar to Jessica above, I refer clients to FSET, Foodshare, W2, DVR, Job Services and any other program/service provider available within the job center to make sure all the clients needs are being met.

    Open ended questions is the best technique I have found to best understanding the clients needs and barriers. Although, I will admit it is not my strongest suit, but I try to get as much information from the client and provide the best guidance within my knowledge to allow the client to move forward with their situation. If I am unable to provide the guidance needed, I try and make sure the client is comfortable possibly explaining their situation to a colleague whom may be of better understanding or make sure to always be in touch with their other case managers so I have preemptively provide the services expressed outside of WIOA that WIOA can offer.

    1. Cotina Dorsey says:

      The yellow resource packet is a great resource for them. I have used it many times while working in the Job Center. The other thing we can do is call 211 with them, they also have a lot of resources to give the caller. This is a great resource especially if you are not sure if the resource packet is up to date.

      1. Casey Dobson says:

        211 is a great option! I forget to utilize this.

  5. Cotina Dorsey says:

    1. I would talk to them a little more to decide if the help they need is an immediate need or if a referral to the foodshare program is ok. If there is an immediate need for food I would refer the client to a local church that serves meals daily. They also give away a box of food that will help out for a day or two. There is also a couple of local food pantries that help with food and other household necessities. I would then refer them to the Foodshare program that would determine if they qualify for foodshare on a monthly basis.

    As far as housing, if there is an immediate need I would refer them to a couple local shelters. In my past experience I learned that if you are living in a shelter and apply for section 8 housing, you have more priority than those that are not. I would make sure they understood to sign up for section 8 while in the shelter. The other program I refer them to is Community Action housing program, they have certain qualifications and a limited amount of funding also.
    The WIOA program and FSET would be a great start for work search and employment skills and training if they later decided they want training.

    2. In order to make sure the client is comfortable enough to talk to you, you have to build rapport. Let them talk, it may even be off subject for a minute but listen and answer questions the best you can. Once they start talking they often bring up what barriers they have, I also look at the application and ask questions. Once the barriers are determined I let them know what WIOA can help with and also give them a list of referrals to other programs that can help.

    1. Casey Dobson says:

      Tina- you pose a great observation- referrals are different when the client is facing an immediate need opposed to when they need long term solutions.

  6. Cyndi Pohl says:

    1. The Salvation Army is great for an immediate meal and serves lunch daily. I also refer customers to Echo and Caritas food pantries, church pantries and the Housing Authorities and shelters depending on their location and where they can get to. If it’s an initial phone call, I put them in contact with 211 right away. They may also at times be referred to the job center website Resources as an option, especially if they are out of the county, or new to the area. The gold packet gives them many places to choose from.
    2. I like the technique of listening and nodding while the more talkative person is speaking. Sometimes the humble person is quiet and shy and doesn’t know if they should talk right away. I like to show that I am listening, but at the same time may need to initiate the conversation for them. Usually, I already have their Initial Assessment and application where they’ve checked their needs and barriers which helps me prepare in advance for our discussion. I let them talk first because their immediate needs are a priority, and then finding work. Actually showing them that their needs can me met during the first or second meeting works as well as showing my enthusiasm to help them so that they are confident and ready to be receptive to our job search services.

  7. Cyndi Pohl says:

    I agree with Tina as far as building rapport. Trust up front is very important rather than rushing them or not paying attention to what they’re saying. Also, referring them to Partner Agencies is great to show them more support is available.

  8. Casey Dobson says:

    When someone comes to us in need of a referral for housing and/or food I go through a list of questions that will determine what type of referrals will be most meaningful. I ask where they live, do they have transportation, what programs are they already engaged with, what services are they already receiving. Some of the programs that I would refer to these clients are: FoodShare, Forward Services to help with TANF emergency assistance, local food banks (ECHO and Caritas) and Section 8 housing.

    The main technique that I use to discover barriers is listening. This might be using behavioral interviewing techniques but mostly it is just being quiet and allowing our clients space to talk about their barriers.

  9. Efren Cigarroa says:

    The first appointment with any customer is the most crucial time because that is when you know whether the customer will return or not. The first meeting is a lengthy discussion regarding what the customer needs. As the counselor I will have questions that will require more than just yes/no answers. Thru the conversation is when you find out what the customer is needing. Most of the customers are coming in because they have lost a job and now have to figure out how to make ends meet each month. Asking the customer what type of assistance they need tends to be the most direct way to find out about a customers barriers. At each appointment I usually provide the customer a list of items that they need such as the local area food bank, link to apply for food stamps, the housing authority for housing issues and possible financial counseling for the customers that have recently lost the job.

    Regarding the question. I would direct the customer to the SNAP website so they can apply for emergency food stamps and be able to get food as soon as possible. I would also provide local addresses to the local organizations that provide food pantry assistance. If they need housing assistance I provide the numbers to community agencies such a red cross, catholic charities, and in my area the Fort Worth Housing Authority to see if they can provide financial assistance for the housing needs. If they need a place to stay then they are directed to the local shelters for additional assistance.

    Our job is to prepare them to find employment and provide avenues for assistance. For that reason we have many local agencies that can provide immediate assistance. Creating a direct contact with the agencies will make the customer feel comfortable knowing that as the counselor we really are there to help them as much as we possibly can.

  10. Efren Cigarroa says:

    Having read the post it seems that we all have a list of items that are provided to each customer at each appointment. We become creatures of habit and I think that it makes it easier for us to have that packet with immediate help to the customer.

    211 is another helpful resource for the customer.

    I also read that the shelters are the quickest way to get housing assistance. To know that requesting shelter assistance puts you at the top of the list for Section 8 housing I think is very important to keep the customer motivated to keep doing what they need to do.

    Like everyone else indicated on the post that they have made. Listening is an important skill to have in this type of job. The customers need to feel that they came to the right place for assistance. Empathy and Sympathy are important traits to have in my opinion. You have to understands the clients needs to be able to help them. In our teachings the Acronym SOLER comes in to mind. When talking with the customer we need to sit squarely, be open, lean in to show interest, provide eye contact, relax. If we do this with each an every single customer then the customer will be more comfortable to share the needs that they have.

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