Career Development Forum – Jan2023

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.

52 thoughts on “Career Development Forum – Jan2023”

  1. darlene.reyes says:

    I would recommend a few different organizations or services depending on the specific housing need. If the customer is homeless or in need of immediate housing, I would suggest Prince George’s County Homeless Hotline (1-888-731-0999). It puts the caller in contact with emergency shelters. If what’s needed is rental assistance, Prince George’s Community Crisis Services, Inc. (CCSI) connects individuals to resources that would stabilize their housing situation and CCSI also taps into their 6,000 agencies and database to provide information about food pantries and soup kitchens and rental assistance.

    I would like to preface that I am very new to career services. At the library, we help people in the best way that we can but it’s not a continual relationship. We help people with whatever immediate needs they present to us, and it’s usually needing technology help such as creating and formatting a resume and/or cover letter and navigating an online job application. In the limited experience I’ve had so far, the techniques I’ve found especially helpful to use in what is akin to an intake interview are asking open ended questions, and asking follow up questions. I ask the reason they came to the library and what they’ve done so far on their own. Then during the process of answering questions for a job application or in creating a resume, I ask them a bit more about their history and inquire about the types of resources they’ve tapped into. This is typically when customers let me know of certain barriers they’re facing and I can offer some resources that can maybe help.

    Since taking this training, I’ve been able to incorporate a bit more into the services we provide. We currently have a very informal Drop-in Career Help and I’ve been able to use interest assessments and sites like O*NET and CareerOneStop to engage in informal conversations with customers as we’re navigating the sites. It is through these conversations that I’m better able to understand their job needs and what might be a hindrance in their job search, like money for training.

    1. tannaz.tabatabaei says:

      It is great to hear that you are able to assist individuals in need of career services at the library. Your approach of asking open-ended and follow-up questions during the intake interview helps establish rapport with the customer and better understand their situation. In addition, by asking about the resources the customer has accessed, you can identify gaps in their knowledge or support network and offer additional resources to help overcome barriers to employment.
      Incorporating interest assessments and using sites like O*NET and CareerOneStop during informal conversations with customers can be a valuable way to identify job needs and barriers to employment. As you mentioned, these tools can help you and the customer explore potential career paths and identify any additional training or education that may be necessary. It is important to note that while you may not have the resources to provide ongoing support, the assistance provided in the library can still be a valuable starting point for individuals seeking career services.

  2. tannaz.tabatabaei says:

    1. I refer the customer to the Yolo County Housing Authority or the Homeless Emergency Aid Program for housing assistance. Depending on the customer’s situation, he might be eligible for temporary housing with our housing program. If the customer is eligible, I refer him to the housing program by filling out a form and sending it to the housing supervisor. The CalFresh program is offered to the customer before he enters the Welfare to Work program. If the customer needs additional help with food, I refer him to the Food Bank of Yolo County, which has different locations throughout Yolo County for food distribution.
    2. The intake interview is a crucial part of my job as it helps identify any barriers the customer may face. To discover these barriers, I use several helpful techniques. One technique is to use open-ended questions to encourage customers to talk more about their situation. Another technique is using active listening skills to show the customer they are being heard and understood. I use reflective listening to clarify the customer’s concerns and feelings.
    3. One technique that works well is motivational interviewing. This approach is designed to help the customer identify their reasons for changing their life. I use open-ended questions and reflective listening to help customers explore their motivations and goals. Another technique that works well is solution-focused brief therapy. This approach focuses on identifying and building on the customer’s strengths and resources. I use scaling questions to help the customer rate their current situation and then identify small steps they can take to improve it.

    1. says:

      We have so many resources and options for clients that need assistance, that we can go in many directions. I do agree that we all use a type of intake interview which builds trust, brings out the client’s barriers, and what resources are best for them. Many of our clients are not in a stable situation and asking open-ended questions is good to get them to open up, but I also feel that closed-ended questions are a good way to start the interview, so they can have a chance to open up and not feel bombarded with questions that take thought and time to answer.
      I really like motivational interviewing. That is what I use for the Subsidized Employment participants. I need to know what they are trained in or have gone to school for, but more importantly, what are they interested in doing or want to learn. Solution-Focused brief therapy keeps the interview positive and shows cases of the client’s strengths and being positive will keep them from shutting down or getting defensive.

    2. rosa.oceguera says:

      I agree, asking open-ended questions is a great technique! Clients are able to answer these questions in a variety of ways that allows us to obtain more information on their current situation and barriers. The tricky part is that sometimes these same open-ended questions can be misunderstood and/or the appointment can go off on a tangent. Regardless, asking these questions are very important in aiding our clients.

    3. says:

      Your motivational interviewing technique sounds ideal. By focusing on what motivates them to change their situation it reminds them of why they really want to change their life. Identifying the customers strengths rather than pointing out their deficits encourages and motivates the customer all the more.

  3. jbelmonte says:

    I would refer to a few places depending on their situation/background. For families, I would refer them to Community of Hope. They mainly service housing for families with children by assisting them eviction notices and help pay for rental assistance through grants. If clients are homeless males, we can send them to CITA Rescue Mission for housing and food. For homeless women, we can send them and their children to New Life Mission, as well as Transitional Housing for Women centers. Let’s not forget homeless veterans and their families can be sent to Veterans Transitional Facility as well as the Patriot House. Most of these places offer food and shelter, but often, we send them to churches and the Sharing Center for free groceries.

  4. jbelmonte says:

    Q2: During an initial assessment, I asked what barriers to employment they have such as a lack of transportation, homelessness, childcare needs, and federal background issues, to name a few. I also ask if they think they have a lack of training–for example to become an LPN or IT certified. I like asking clients open-ended questions to allow them to elaborate what they are going through.

    Sometimes, they don’t realize that they have a barrier to employment; it’s is important that they are given time to explain or talk about the issues they are facing. I do my best to reflect back to them what they said and ask them what they think is the best way to address their barrier. Childcare issues? How have you solved this in the past?

    1. rssmith5157 says:

      Open ended questions are a great technique to use (wished I would have remembered to put that in my post lol). They help with getting to know clients in a smooth and subtle way. The questions can be very common, but its all in how they are answered. Done the right way can create a comfortable and safe space to share and be open.

      I have found that when I have conducted intake interviews and the use of open-ended questions, I have got a much more in depth view into the client’s perspective and its in their own words, which is so much more meaningful. I have then turned their answers into actionable goals. This relationship works so much more effectively and collaboratively.

    2. Ivanna.her says:

      I think that asking open-ended questions is very crucial to getting to know the clients better. This allows them to share more openly, and this might help us understand and find another obstacle they are facing that they don’t realize themselves. I think that this technique helps with making the intake more of a conversation and not a formal consultation. This helps set the tone for the client and helps with building a better relationship. I think that having a smooth conversation with clients makes them more trusting of our expertise and more inclined to pay attention to the resources we provide. I will be sure to include more open-ended questions to any intakes I do in the future.

  5. says:

    The client will be appointed an Intensive Care Caseworker for housing and an Eligibility Caseworker for food stamps. In terms of employment, we start with an intake interview with questions about their work interest, and barriers such as childcare, transportation, and any health issues mental or physical. The interview builds trust and rapport, so we can work together and get the resources the client needs and wants. After the interview, we will know if the client has a resume or needs a resume. If they need a resume, we give them a tour of our Employment Center. This is where they will learn how to create a resume, create, or update email accounts, search and apply for jobs, and we also do mock interviews for practice.
    One technique that works for me with clients is listening without judgment. When the client sees that you are understanding and not judging it builds trust and they will be honest about their needs. Once you find their needs and barriers you start discussing your ideas and the resources that can assist them with becoming self-sufficient. Something else I do is give the client the final says as to what resources they want to accept. Forcing a person to go to counseling if they do not want to go, they will not be forthcoming and lose trust in you.

    1. jbelmonte says:

      It’s true. Trust is everything. Listening without judgement is so helpful. We are here to understand them and the best way to do that is to listen to understand. Forcing someone to do something rarely ends well. It is one of the quickest ways to end a relationship. At my desk, I have pinned up The Five Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. Such helpful advice! Thank you, Kimberly Joy for your input!

  6. rosa.oceguera says:

    1. One of the few organizations I would refer a client to if they stated they needed help with meals would be STEAC in Davis. STEAC stands for Short Term Emergency Aid Committee and they provide different resources for clients in need residing in Yolo County. Some of their programs include Feeding the Hungry, Food Pack for Kids, and Holiday Adopt-A-Family. I would also give the clients information on where they can find local food pantries and distribution centers at For assistance with housing, and depending on their situation, I’d refer them to our Eviction Prevention Benefit program; it is once in a lifetime and can help with back-paying rent. Another resource would be referring them to apply for Temporary Homeless Assistance where they can receive motel vouchers if they are deemed eligible.
    2. For Welfare to Work we review our intake or appraisal documents with the clients during their first appointment. Some of these documents include exemption requests and referrals for Yolo County’s Family Stabilization program. When reviewing the exemption request paperwork, I find this as a steppingstone to discuss the different exemptions they may be eligible for. These exemptions are usually barriers that our clients face on a daily basis. The information that I obtain from a possible exemption they may be eligible to take gives me more details on their background and barriers. The information on the Family Stabilization form describes different crisis that a family can face such as homelessness, DV, mental health, etc. Reviewing this form with my clients also allows me to obtain additional information on any barriers they may have.
    3. Building good and healthy rapport with my clients allows for the appointment to flow smoothly and both parties to feel comfortable and in a safe space. Maintaining eye contact while my client is speaking is also a technique that works well for me. Clients can see that I’m actively listening to them and what they have to say when I maintain eye contact with them.

    1. creid says:

      I agree it is very important to build a rapport with your clients. If I don’t feel comfortable with someone, I sure am not going to open up to them. You providing a safe space for your clients is probably the best way to get them to open up and trust you. I have never heard of the Eviction Prevention Benefit Program, I am going to look into this and see if it is available in my area.

    2. kbarrett says:

      Yes! Good rapport is so important. Makes a difference and helps streamline the appointment. Customers will be more likely to open up on sensitive matters. I too, would like to know if the Eviction Prevention Benefit Program is available in my area. It would be a great resource to share with my customers. Thank you!

    3. thomas.kalish says:

      A lot of times the people we work with really want to feel heard and maintaining the eye contact and active listening is a great tool to help them feel heard and understood.

    4. rodrigo.lopez says:

      I agree! Being knowledgable of the local resources can be very beneficial and connecting clients right away. The Eviction Prevention Benefit Program is a great program for folks who qualify. Maintaining eye contact may be uncomfortable at first but it definitly helps building rapport with a client.

    5. tdonahue says:

      I work with the Temporary cash assistance program as well. I find doing the initial appointment is a crucial time to make the customers feel comfortable to be able to discuss their situation in detail. I also like to make sure that my customer know that I am listening and care about them. That this is not just a job.

  7. creid says:

    There are multiple solutions for the issue of housing in my area. I would need to read the intake interview to see if they had children. TANF or Temporary Assistance to Needy Families requires that a person is underemployed or unemployed and must either be 18 or younger and the head of your household, be pregnant or have a child or children under the age of 18. There are also emergency hardship grants that we can assist the client in filling out.
    To address the need for food, there is financial assistance through SNAP and WIC for women, infants, and children which would assist if the client is female, pregnant, and has children under the age of 4 that would benefit from this program. There are multiple food banks throughout the Duval County area as well as churches and the food line at the Salvation Army for at least one meal per day.

    The techniques on the intake interview that I felt were helpful are the training needs, specific job skills, and possible barriers. If a customer is facing multiple barriers, such as child care, housing, and food these are issues that must be addressed before you’d be able to fully assist them in getting a job. Some jobs are not going to pay enough for daycare, whilst others provide onsite daycare. If the client is having an issue with transportation, their current location would be needed to see if they are near a bus route, or train that could provide transportation solutions for them. Asking open-ended questions will give the client the opportunity to provide more insight as to what is on the intake interview, therefore giving a better understanding of what the client will be needing.

  8. diana.rocha-torres says:

    When we get a case, we usually do and OCAT assessment where we assess their barriers and see how we can help them. For example, that assessment is a great way to see if clients currently have a place to stay. If they do not, we would do a referral to the Housing Support team which they work with an intense case manager to look for housing. That Housing Support program helps them navigate their barriers and help them with those barriers so they can get housing. They work very close and intense to get housed. That is how we can help a client who needs housing. If we find out that client has no food for the reminder of the month, and they have no money then we would do another referral to the Food Bank or a different agency that can support them in that way. I usually like to as the questions directly once they feel comfortable with us and they usually are honest and tell me their barriers. Those are some of the techniques I use when I meet with them.

    1. kbarrett says:

      Your OCAT assessment sound remarkably similar to our OSST assessment. I agree with you, it is such a great tool that helps us, help our customers. I would like to know more about you Housing Support program. Is it funded by your county or is this statewide?

      1. martha.hurtado says:

        It is a statewide program that counties can apply to for funding. Our county keeps the program in house with intensive case managers, however counties can chose to contract out for case management. CDSS has a page dedicated to the program and its intended usage:

    2. rosa.zamorano says:

      I agree, the OCAT assessment is a great tool to use when meeting a client for the first time and learning about their barriers. I find it very beneficial that your housing support program provides many resources to participants who are dealing with significant barriers including lack of housing.

  9. kbarrett says:

    For housing, I would refer to North Brevard Sharing Center, they have a wonderful transitional housing program. They own property in Titusville that is designed specifically for this. They will place the customer in a home, retain a small portion of each paycheck until there is enough for a deposit towards their own apartment. Then they help them set up utilities and move to their new place.
    For meals, we are blessed to have multiple options. There are three locations where my customer can go a receive a free hot meal: Under the Bridge Ministry-Mondays 6pm (this location also has a small pantry where customers can “shop” staple items free of charge), Harry T Moore Social Services Center – Thursdays 3:30pm, and Titusville Civic Center-Thursdays 6pm.
    We also have Hummingbird Food pantry every other Friday, this is a “drive thru” pantry, very well organized and customers can expect to leave with good amount of food including fresh fruit and vegetables, bakery items, staples, meats and sometimes even eggs and milk.

    Assessments are my favorite. One of the requirements of the Welfare Transition program application is to complete two assessments prior to the initial appointment. When the customer comes in for his/her appointment; I review the answers with them, and we address the barriers and make plans on how to remove them or solve right then (i.e., if the need childcare I would provide a referral the same day of the initial appointment). I also have a three-page checklist that I use for initial appointments that helps discover barriers and at the same time helps me make sure all steps have been covered.

    1. mmijon says:

      Kirsten is awesome in her knowledge and use of that to assist her WT customers! Each option she presented above is valid and I see many satisfied customers exit her space. They leave w/ many more tools and resources than when they came in and, as Kirsten is truly bilingual, our many Hispanic customers are able to be comfortably informed of the local services available to them and their families, Kirsten also represents CSB at outreach functions so those who are “travel limited” and are able to learn about services they may need for food and housing.

    2. jgomez says:

      I am glad similar resources are available in other states like there are in California. It seems like the process is also the same. It is unfortunate that such are needed but it’s a relief to know they are out there. Our local Food Bank offers fresh vegetables as well as other weekly distributions offering canned goods that can at times be a burden for beneficiaries that don’t have access to a stove or proper refrigeration. The property you mentioned that helps its participants with housing alongside having them pay is a great program that would help them access other services easily such as the good I mentioned the food banks offers.

  10. rssmith5157 says:

    1. To whom in your local area do you refer them for this assistance? For clients that have an identified barrier of housing, our career skills coaches connect clients to a variety of agencies. The most commonly referred agencies are the Omaha Housing Authority, The Salvation Army, Together Omaha, ENCAP, and Catholic Charities.
    The Omaha Housing Authority or OHA uses The Housing Choice Voucher better known as Section 8. This program assists very low-income families, the elderly, and the disabled to afford safe housing in the private housing market. The Salvation Army has both food/meal resources, and the housing assistance provides both transitional and permanent supportive housing options, that include veterans and seniors-in addition to housing programs that focus on the specific needs of target populations.
    Eastern Nebraska Community Action (ENCAP), offers a program called the Financial Hardship assistance, which is through its Support Services Team. They provide wrap around services which include both housing needs and food assistance resources. Catholica Charities is another agency that is set up to handle and provide housing and food services/resources in addition to clothing and transportation needs. With regard to housing, there are a few options, from rent/mortgage to emergency housing, homelessness all the way to homeownership.
    2. What techniques have you found especially helpful to use in an intake interview to discover barriers that a customer might be facing? Here are at Metro Community College in our Workforce Division, our Career Skills Coaches conduct intake interviews. During these intake interviews they use a what’s called a Career Pathway Plan as well as complete the NDE (Nebraska Department of Education) form with each client. There are a series of questions between both forms that specifically identify barriers (to employment) and also outline goals that address the barriers. The career coach also uses VARK & NCRC (National Career Readiness Certificate) assessments to review during intake interviews which is a great technique, cause it allows for the client to understand what each assessment means and how it highlights their strengths/weaknesses. It also allows the client time to determine ahead of time which training program is the best fit for them.

    Once the client decides on a training program, the client then enters into our CPP-Career Placement Program. During this time the client can earn industry recognized credentials such as Customer Service and Work Ethic Certificates, in addition to career advancement skills assistance such as mock interviewing, resume assistance, job search strategies, etc. Upon completion of this, the client moves into the Technical Training where the client is learning hands on technical instruction in a specific program. This is honestly our departments most valuable component.
    3. Describe 1-2 techniques you use that work well for you.
    The use of the Career Pathway plan is a great tool to use. As well as conducting interviews one on one. This technique ensures that a trusting relationship is built between the coach and client. The client is the
    coach’s top priority essentially coaching and guiding them the entire way.
    I also think that having the client have the ability to obtain the industry credential ahead of time, is great, because it sets them up for success from the start. Even if the client is not able to complete all of their technical training they would have at the very least obtained career advancement skills in conjunction to the industry recognized credentials.

    1. darlene.reyes says:

      A Career Pathway Plan sounds like a good technique. It sets up expectations and allows the jobseeker to visualize what’s expected of them. And it establishes a trusting and comfortable relationship because the jobseeker knows what to expect. One on one interviews are important as well. I’ve seen how much more engaged people are when they’re out of a group setting and can ask more personal questions. I’ve tried to do computer classes and resume workshops and have seen low attendance. But, I am constantly asked for tech help and resume help when I’m at the desk. I feel like that’s because people want these services but don’t want it in a group setting. They want something more tailored to them where they can ask specific questions. I assume it’s also a comfort thing where they don’t want to feel discomfort talking about their personal experiences or feel judged in a group setting. Plus, everyone’s journey is different. At the library group programming is easier for us because of staffing but not every program lends itself well to a group setting.

  11. Ivanna.her says:

    Depending on my client’s level of need for housing, I would refer them to different agencies for help. If my client is in immediate need for housing, I would have them contact Fourth and Hope, a local shelter that also provides resources such as food and clothes. I would then refer them to an Intensive Care Caseworker who will help them with finding more permanent housing and help them with getting additional resources like CalFresh and CalWorks (cash assistance). I would refer the client to Empower Yolo, a nonprofit in Yolo County, who specializes in crisis support with a crisis hot line, resources in counseling services and much more. I would also refer my client to apply for subsidized housing with Mutual Housing of California, a nonprofit who has multiple subsidized properties in Yolo County.
    I am not an Employment Services Specialist who does intake interviews, however if I was to do an intake interview based on my previous experience working closely with resource and referral with clients, I found that listening to the client’s story thoroughly is very crucial to providing them with the best resources. In order to effectively help the client, I will need to gauge their current situation and what obstacles are in their way. Listening to them intently will allow me to provide the best service and connect them to resources that will actually help improve their situation.
    Another technique that I think would be helpful is to also have a set of useful questions to ask clients about their current situation to better understand them. I think that having some core questions to ask at intake will help the client focus on what the larger obstacles are for them at the time of the interview. This way it would be easier to start a plan for the client.

    1. edwin.ortegabeltran says:

      I did not know about the Intensive Care Caseworker and the crisis hot line available in Yolo County. Thank you for making note of this since it will help me provide better services to clients should they need this type of assistance. I agree with your technique of listening attentively since it provides a better understanding of the clients’ needs and can help guide your services. Listening attentively can also help you build rapport with your clients, trust is essential/crucial to all the services we provide.

    2. kateryna.shust says:

      It was nice to know about your experience with Employment Services, Ivanna:)
      I also liked a lot the idea of useful questions set. It is worth of thinking on various approaches for different cultures and have that as an additional powerful asset to learn more about people’s needs in order to serve them better.
      Besides, I appreciate the reminder of Empower Yolo that offers variety of resources available.

  12. edwin.ortegabeltran says:

    There will be multiple referrals for this client given that housing and meals are offered through different agencies in Yolo County. To start with meals, I will help the client apply for CalFresh online, which is known federally as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Given the needs of the client, I will ensure that in their application it is noted that they need immediate assistance so that they can access these benefits within three days of submitting the application. Due to the pandemic, many of the intakes from Yolo County Health & Human Services (they provide client intake services for CalFresh) are by phone and I’ll offer to meet the client in the office to help them with the intake/interview process. The next steps will be to refer the client to food distribution sites operated by the Yolo Food Bank and provide them with information about daily free lunches offered by the Mercy Coalition in Yolo County. Furthermore, for housing assistance, I will refer the client to the Yolo County Housing Authority to access a Housing Choice Voucher. In addition, I will recommend the client go to the local Yolo County Health & Human Services Agency to apply for general assistance, which also provides housing assistance by enrolling in the GA Work Program. Another resource that we can tap into is contacting the Fourth & Hope Shelter, which provides emergency housing services as well as permanent housing for adults and their families. To avoid multiple referrals, I’ll recommend the client ask during their intake/interview for CalFresh to ask about the General Assistance program. Given that a case manager will be assigned to the client it can help expedite housing and meal services for the client. Lastly, something to consider is the language barriers that the client may experience when accessing these services. Ensuring that the client understands, by offering services in their native language, is key to empowering the client to feel that they can access these services in the current moment and in future instances if required.

    A technique will be to develop an informal intake process for the first contact with the client to build rapport and assure the client that their needs will be addressed but most importantly, build trust and confidence in the services I hope to deliver. Having a semi-structured questionnaire to guide the intake will help me learn about the client, their needs, and how the services (or referrals) I will provide can address those needs. The semi-structured questionnaire can ensure that the client feels they are in a safe space and their needs are taken into consideration.

    I will need to refer to my experience of working with students at the community college since I am very new to this role and have not had contact with clients. When working with students I found that finding a quiet space to meet for the first time was ideal. It set the tone for the meeting and assured the students I will be dedicating my full attention to the appointment. I would rearrange (if needed) the seats so that there were no barriers between me and the students and sat in a face-to-face manner. I will then spend a few minutes making conversation with the student such as speaking about local news or even learning about their major, academic interests/goals, or about their commute to campus. Then I would go over with the student what kind of information I was looking for during the intake such as their background, academic background (and their families), etc. One thing that always worked was avoiding focusing on notetaking but giving proper eye contact when speaking to make the student feel heard and validated. I’d always ensure to block my calendar with additional time so that the notetaking occurred after the intake process was over. During my notetaking, I would ensure to make note of something they shared such as their major, hobbies, or academic interests so that I can mention that in future appointments and help with building rapport with the student.

  13. thomas.kalish says:

    When a customer that is meeting with me about finding work also expresses the need for assistance with housing and meals, I would refer the individual to the local Housing Authority for help with housing and the local food bank for help with meals. I would also let the individual know what services the local social services office can provide including help with Food Stamps/CalFresh/SNAP. If the customer would like additional resources, I would let them know that a lot of times the local churches have some charity that they can help individuals with. Homeless shelters have additional resources for housing and are a good place to start for most individuals in the community.

    During intake interviews I have found that setting the expectations for the interview up front as well as being sure to give the person being interview enough space to expand on their answers is very helpful in gaining pertinent information regarding individual barriers that the customer is facing. When the person understands the expectations of the interview up front and is in a comfortable setting the interviews are more productive as far as obtaining information. I do make sure to allocate plenty of time so the person being interviewed doesn’t feel like they are being rushed and they can answer as much or as little as they like. When I notice something is uncomfortable I often move on initially but make a mental note of it and loop back to it at a later point in the interview to see how the person responds.

  14. rodrigo.lopez says:

    1. There are a few ways to address housing insecurity in Yolo county. If they need emergency housing, a few local shelters can support them, such as Fourth and Hope and Empower Yolo, which can help with emergency shelters for crime/ domestic violence victims. If they have children in schools, I will also reach out to the District Homeless Liaison and see if we can find a temporary hotel for them. There are other organizations that support undocumented folks that are dealing with homelessness and housing insecurities. Then create a plan and support with affordable housing applications and connect folks with the local Food Bank and apply to CalFresh. I created a Farmworker Resource Guide with information regarding, housing, food resources, Health services, employment services, etc. so they can refer to it.

    2. To understand the client’s needs I always become an active listener and create a safe space. Being knowledgeable of community resources is very important because a client might come for one thing and may express that they need other resources. Having knowledge of where to refer a client is very helpful. Another technique I use for folks who do not express as much is asking open-ended questions. This allows the client to express more of their needs, likes, etc.

  15. Jayne says:

    We always refer and accompany young mothers and out-of-school youth to Health and Human Services (HHSA) One Stop Shop in Woodland when assistance is needed to combat barriers of housing or meals. We have enjoyed learning about the Holland Self-Directed Online Assessment and plan to use it for the Saturday Job Club because it gives the client self-knowledge (skills, interests, and values) that helps them get closer to knowing what their career choice may be. With those choices in mind, the mentor is able to begin showing the client the steps to achieving their goal and offer Job Readiness Training to move things along for the entry-level positions that will give them experience to compliment their training. Youth can clearly see a plan and watch the progression as they grow in confidence.

    We will also continue to use the Informal Assessment we wrote based on our specific population, which has a positive history of quickly identifying their needs and barriers. This assessment is done with the mentor and begins the relationship of trust as we move forward.

    1. alopez-perez says:

      I like the way the assessment about the specific population is used to identify your client’s needs. It is important to understand what the community needs as a whole in order to discover what the individual needs as well. I also agree with the idea that the relationship with the client is built over time. Clients are often nervous, and suspicious when first entering and they sometimes lie about their situations. This can be hard to work with since we need the honest truth to efficiently assist them. By building that relationship of trust over time, clients open up and realize that they can safely ask for help without judgement.

  16. Jayne says:

    I like Thomas response. You gave immediate ways someone can get food the same day. Our youth usually are living at home, which makes it important for us to show them the resources, sometimes set up a meeting with HHSA representative, and walk them through the process so their baby will have the support they need. Also, youth are reluctant to go ask for help, whether it’s a church or an agency. It’s important that mentors develop a trusting relationship and possibly drive the client to the Food Bank, church, etc. so they establish a relationship and pattern of going to a resource.

    The interview is very important! The mentor must be warm and willing to share their own personal experiences to engage the youth. The first two hours can make a difference in how much they will receive from you or if they will return when they need to. Patience, kindness, understanding, and humor are all important ways to relax the client and let them know they are being heard and seen. Thanks for sharing Thomas!

  17. Jayne says:

    It sounds wonderful to have a Housing Support Team and dedicated individuals to focus on housing and other very difficult barriers. I’m grateful that we have resources we can make a call and take our youth to if need be. In Woodland housing is in very short supply. I think it’s great that I am more aware of resources and at least know they are out there. We focus on Job Readiness Training, but we have had homeless youth that are now self-sufficient. But it took a lot of work and networking to get her on her feet.

  18. martha.hurtado says:

    1. In regards to housing, if the family is eligible to Calworks, and is currently homeless or at risk of homelessness, I would refer them to request THA from their local HHSA office. This program offers motel funds for 16 nights and has funding to assist with move in costs. Once the family has exhausted these funds, they can be referred to the housing support program for further housing assistance and case management. If the family is not eligible to CalWorks, or if it is an individual without children I would put them in to contact with local shelters who often also have housing specialists, programs such as Davis Community Meals and the Street Team who can assist with motel/housing funds for individuals. If the individual is interested in career training, they may also want to consider joining Job corps. If these options are not available, I would ask the person if they are associated with any other agencies. For example if they are a client of the regional center or if they are former foster youth etc. to establish any other linkage to resources. If they are not and were not interested with any mentioned options, I’d connect the individual to 211 for further resources and encourage to look in to postings for renting a bedroom/room and boards.

    In regards to meals. If the person has a phone I’d provide them with the number and text code to sign up for food distribution site notifications in their city and surrounding cities. If the person does not have a phone, I’d provide them with sites and typical day/times for distribution. I’d provide a referral to STEAC for a food boxes. I would also inform them of local charities, organizations that do hot meals or food boxes such as Loaves and Fishes, Davis Community Meals, local shelters. If the person is eligible for CalFresh I would encourage them to apply. If the person has children, I would get in to contact with the liaison to inform and potentially send the children home with additional food items.

    2. I utilize the OCAT and housing assessment questionnaire. I ask the questions provided, if it seems like there is more information, I follow up with open ended questions. I usually start with informing the person I will be asking questions that may lead to very personal information and the reason for which is to make sure I can connect them with any resources needed. Explain there are many program/resources available that may not come in to our conversation if I do not know there is a need; I mention different areas in life or different topics I know we have services for to give them an understanding. After this, the conversation usually gets more robust, but also leads for my client to be more open with services/resources needed in the future.

  19. tdonahue says:

    I have several places that I refer customers to. We have several food pantries Sharing center, Second Harvest food bank and Lifepoint church for immediate assistance. For housing there is community action team, housing authority-Brevard, Brevard C.A.R.E.S and aging matters. I also refer them to call 211 for current information.
    During initial interviews I use open end questions to help establish needs and barriers. It is important for the customer to be able to talk openly. When using this technique customer sometimes give more information than close questions. After customer presents their concerns/ barriers I provide as much information as I can to assist them to resolve the issues and make proper referral to outside agencies.

  20. says:

    Regarding community resources, Brevard County has a service called 211, which is designed to direct individuals to local resources that can help with their need. For hot meals I refer to the Daily Bread in Melbourne, they serve hot meals daily from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM.
    The South Brevard Sharing Center has a food pantry and can assist with diapers and personal hygiene products. They assist with transportation assistance and utilities payments.
    For assistance with housing, I refer to Community of Hope, Housing for the Homeless and Family Promise of Brevard. And again 211 since they maintain current information on resources.

    An informal technique works best for me. I start by talking to the customer, asking what type of work they have done or want to do and why they feel they haven’t been able to get a job. Reassuring them that I am here to assist them in their career path. Actively listening to them and addressing their concerns. Creating an welcoming environment, being friendly, smiling and understanding goes a long way.

  21. mmijon says:

    Going back to the beginning of this great course, many of those techniques, 2 in particular, SOLER and open ended, non-threatening questions allow for the client to feel comfortable and willing to provide the information we need to assist them in their time of need. This is where attentive listening and reflecting what one hears, gives the client some confidence that they are being somewhat understood and heard.
    Kenny came in as a walkin, our Customer Service Representative asked if I had some time to meet w/ him as our Disabled Veteran Outreach Program staff was out of the office. Kenny had just left his job due to a “hostile environment situation”, is a single father with 2 children and no food in his apartment, which the rent has just been jacked up $300.00 a month which he cannot afford.
    My cubicle space leaves no doubt that I have served in the US Military and most new clients make the observation and Kenny did so. After determining that he is an Honorably Discharged Veteran with VA disability claim in progress, we do a Veteran Intake and Priority of Service, giving us a few minutes to talk Army stuff and develop a rapport. I get his consent to contact our Rockledge DVOP so he can more immediately get DVOP assistance. Their focus is exclusively on Veterans. I tell him about our local food banks, like Hummingbird Pantry and The North Brevard Sharing Center for his immediate food concerns and give him the Community Action Group (CAG) contact information as they may be able to help him with his rent. We also have a Volunteers of America Facility in Cocoa that has family transitional housing for Veterans that he can contact before his family is homeless. Kenny and I then reviewed his resume and updated it. He wants to start his new job search soonest. He has my contact information and as of this writing, the Rockledge DVOP has called and set an appointment w/ Kenny. The DVOP and I will double team him as needed.

  22. jessica.gomez says:

    Q1. Common referrals to housing and meals are to Yolo County Food Bank for weekly distributions and to Yolo County Housing for Section 8 housing if the participant isn’t already receiving CalFresh (SNAP) and CalWORKS for the housing program. Participants are also referred to apply for General Assistance if there are no children in the home. If the participant is homeless then they would be provided with the City’s homeless coordinator to connect them to other resources such as community closets to obtain clothing.

    Q2. As a WIOA Case Manager, I found it useful to have the participant answer the intake assessment questionnaire on their own which has simple questions with simple and yes or no answers. An example is “What type of transportation do you use?” When I meet with the participant, I go over their answers and ask for clarification if needed. That’s when we develop a plan and assess if it’s the correct timing to enter a training and/or refer to corresponding resources. It’s best to ask open-ended questions to help participants self-disclose what they feel their barriers would be during training. as well as listening to the participants and stepping into their shoes and having them use all the resources that have worked in the past and continue to be available to them in hopes of adding a little self-sufficiency with small tasks and adding assisted support as needed. Lastly, we use a homework packet that asks the participant to investigate 3 schools offering the training of choice and to interview 2 people already working in that career field to help the participant see beforehand if it’s what they expect the career to be and not just because of pay or because that’s their friend’s career of choice, for example.

  23. alopez-perez says:

    1. I would refer the individual to Family Resource and Referral Center which is an agency that partners with many different agencies to provide the person with whatever they need. Part of the services they offer are food assistance and housing assistance and shelters. The customer can either call 211, text the number their zip code, or visit their website to get help. If the individual has children or is experiencing abuse, the agency also has services for abuse prevention and child care assistance.

    2. I find questionnaires to be very useful when trying to find out what my client needs help with. Through the questionnaires, I can ask for crucial information I need from the client such as, “Are you receiving public assistance?” or, “Do you have any disabilities?” and, “Are you caring for any children as of right now?” My favored technique, and in my opinion the most effective method, is face to face individual interviews. This gives me the chance to genuinely connect with my client and gain their trust. With this I can create a comfortable environment for them to open up about their needs, and to be honest with me. Being polite and kind goes a long way when trying to make clients feel safe, so I try to emphasize that during my interviews.

    1. ehernandez says:

      I have also found that using 211 services has been very helpful to clients in our area. I have to agree with you that the most effective method is face to face and creating a comfortable, private environment for the client to feel safe enough to share.

    2. yrazojara says:

      I think that the 211 service is a great resource for clients who are in need of immediate assistance. Though this service, clients can call and be provided the information from the phone operator instead of having them go into an office or schedule an appointment. This service is especially helpful for clients who lack transportation. This service is also very helpful because it is 24/7 which can be comforting for clients who face situations at all times of the day.

  24. rosa.zamorano says:

    When a participant expresses they need assistance with housing and meals, the first step is to confirm they are receiving Cal Fresh benefits and if they aren’t, refer them to apply online or in-person at one of the county offices. If the participant needs additional food resources, I will refer them to local food bank locations and nearby churches who participate in food distributions. For housing needs, I would refer the participant to the Yolo County Housing Authority to become aware of local affordable housing locations and apply for affordable housing assistance programs. If the client is a participant of Welfare to Work, depending on their situation I would create a referral to our housing support program or our eviction prevention program, a once in a lifetime benefit to help support participants who are struggling to pay rent or at risk of eviction.
    The initial intake interview is done using the OCAT questionnaire and plays a crucial role in the work that Welfare to Work case managers do because during the interview client discuss their barriers and goals. Common barriers discussed during interviews are mental health, DV, transportation, lack of education, childcare, and housing. Techniques that seem to work well for me when interviewing clients are active listening, providing eye contact, and asking open ended questions. By providing eye contact and being an active listener when a client is speaking, it shows you are paying attention and helps the client build trust. When a client feels heard and comfortable, they are more likely to discuss their barriers and not shy away from asking about the resources they need.

  25. ehernandez says:

    1. To whom in your local area do you refer them for this assistance?
    When a client comes in and asks about our services I refer them to Empower Tehama, PATH and Social Services. Empower Tehama is a domestic violence advocacy center for families that is able to help with many resources including emergency housing depending on their specific situation. When this is not an appropriate referral, I also refer to PATH for housing assistance. PATH is another local non-profit organization that assists with housing. PATH has a day center where people can obtain showers, food and other basic necessities. They also have overnight emergency and residency housing assistance although there is usually a waiting list for overnight assistance. Social services is the third resource I would send them to. At social services they are able to apply for emergency food stamps as well as housing 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.
    One technique that I find useful is using a questionnaire. We call it a “Get Connected” form. This form asks for information about employment history but also asks questions regarding barriers they may be facing that has made it difficult in their job search journey. Some of the questions address housing, DV, substance use, mental health and childcare among others. Something else that I find helpful during the initial intake form is making sure this is taking place in a private setting which allows the client to be comfortable in sharing. I have also memorized most of the questionnaire that we use and try to pose the questions throughout our conversation so that it does not look like I am just asking questions out of a questionnaire.

  26. kateryna.shust says:

    I am lucky to be a representative of social services department and connect people in need with the resources available to help them. When it comes to homelessness I will definitely refer my clients to Temporary Housing Assistance as well as Housing Support Program. Also, since a lot of my clients are new to this country I find very important to explain them housing system here and advise of resources that would help them to save money, get low-income housing and prevent themselves from homelessness. As for the food, I would connect people with local churches that always organize food banks. We also have Elica Resource Center who does help not only with fresh food but also clothing and other household items.
    I think doing face to face interviews rather than phone calls is a great strategy to build a relationship with client and gain their trust and openness. While seeing people in person I like applying active listening technique making them talk about what struggles do they have. And it makes the process very productive when you are involved in people’s needs and address their problems with solution an advice. Presenting myself not just as a program worker but also as a person who can guide and help is also one of the helpful approaches in performing my work. And also even basic conversation skills, like maintaining eye contact, calling people by their name, asking open ended questions and attentive listening always gives positive outcome,

  27. yrazojara says:

    I would refer this client to San Joaquin County Housing Authority for housing needs and to San Joaquin County Family resource Center. The Family Resource Center is a great resource to give to clients who are in need of housing or food because the resource center is able to provide those clients with a all the information and schedules to food banks or community food pantries where they can receive immediate help.

    The best technique I have found to help me discover if the client has barriers is to ask questions during the initial assessment. These questions don’t have to be in a questionnaire format and Ive found that its best to find out this information though a conversation with the client.

    As another technique, I always like to ask the client to tell me more about their current situation and why they are looking for a change. Usually when you ask about their personal lives but don’t make the client feel like they are being forced to share parts of their life that they don’t usually share is when you will find that people are more open to have those discussions. Secondly, I also found that when you present all your services to clients they will sometimes open up about barriers that they might be facing because now they know that there are available resources for them.

    1. gugan.beasla says:

      I think that your techniques will be effective in creating a rapport that will facilitate an honest and constructive discussion about what barriers your client may be facing, the help they need, and the assistance you can provide. I agree with your sentiment that presenting services increases the likelihood of a client opening up about their barriers. From my experience, clients are increasingly likely to discuss the assistance they need to mitigate such barriers. I think that if clients believe you have worked with other clients dealing with similar barriers or that you have knowledge and resources that can assist them they will be forthcoming about the barriers they have and the assistance they need. With that said, I also think it is important to be empathic and considerate when having such conversations, as they are sensitive matters. Comfortability is everything when discussing barriers, and I think that the techniques you discussed take that into account.

  28. gugan.beasla says:

    1. I would refer this client to the Short Term Emergency Aid committee and Welfare to Works Case Managers for housing and additional assistance for assistance if a client who is seeking employment relays that they are experiencing problems with housing and meals. K would refer them to The Short Term Emergency Aid Committee because they have programs such as Helping Hands which assists with food/meals, Homelessness Prevention for housing concerns and assistance, and Road to Independence for monetary aid, education, and/or employment assistance. I would refer them to Housing Managers within the Yolo County Welfare to Work program, as they assist with housing assistance amongst more aid–they could provide more assistance in services that assist with food and housing concerns, as I am not as familiar with those programs because I work with employers and Subsidized Employment clients who are ready to reenter the workforce.

    2. When I begin my intake interview with subsidized employment clients, I introduce myself and explain the program. I also explain how I fit into the puzzle when it comes to a assisting the client in obtaining either subsidized or direct hire employment. I ensure that the client knows I am on their team–I want to ensure their success in the program, thus employment. I prioritize building trust and rapport with my client, so that they feel comfortable enough to honestly relay their current barriers if any, and provide solutions, refer them to programs that can help, and connect them to the correct resources. I highlight and direct focus on the important of knowing a clients barriers, so that we can work on mitigating those barriers for them.

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