Career Services to Multicultural Populations Forum – Cohort 4

Instructions:

Create an original post and describe the major groups of people with whom you work and the backgrounds from which they originate. Identify the key resources that you use with this group.  Then respond to one classmate’s post. You will make a total of two posts.

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.

40 thoughts on “Career Services to Multicultural Populations Forum – Cohort 4”

  1. Tracy Forbush says:

    Our Workforce department has a wide range of populations that we serve and it varies by program, cohort and location. Of the 4 programs under the Workforce umbrella at our agency, the demographics and differences within and between the programs’ enrollees can vary greatly.
    Our New Roots for Refugees program serves refugee families, often multiple generations, from agricultural backgrounds who want to run their own farm business in the US. Within this group we may have participants in their 70s or older, but their grandchildren may help them with the farming as well. There are multiple languages, nationalities and ethic groups represented in this program, and participants may have been living in the US for 1 year, or more than 10, so cultural understanding and language skills also vary.
    In our Refugee Employment Services programs, we serve refugee adults who are in their first 5 years in the country, sometimes in their first few months of arrival, in job placement and upgrades. They are all over the age of 18, but the majority are in their 30s-40s. Some of them speak English, but many do not. Additionally, their work experience, skill and educational levels are dramatically varies. Among this group we have clients with disabilities, and most have experienced significant trauma. Predominantly we see refugees from Burma, Bhutan, the Congo, and some Special Immigrant Visa holders from Iraq or Afghanistan.
    One of our programs, ReCONNECT, is specifically designed for out-of-school refugee youth (ages 16-24) who want to pursue their educational and career options. Because we match each refugee youth with a mentor from the community, they must have at least a basic conversational English level, but like many of our other refugee-serving programs, they may all come from a different ethnic group or culture.
    The one program under the Workforce umbrella that is not limited to refugee clients, is our St. Rita program. In this program, we see mostly low-income, un/underemployed residents of our communities who want to advance their educational or career opportunities. Our clients in this program may be from each of the diverse groups that were listed in Chapter 6, and some may also be refugees. Most of them are products of generational poverty but motivated to break that cycle and put their families on a path to self-sufficiency.
    Because of this diversity of programming, populations and interests/goals, it is imperative that my staff are all culturally competent, aware of the wide variety of languages, cultures and motivations, and participate in regular training and educational opportunities on the cultures we serve. As we all know, one way of delivering service is not necessarily going to effectively or appropriately serve every individual.

    1. Jahmiel McBride says:

      The Roots to Refugee program Is a great way to help refugees fight against the systematic obstacles they’ll face once there in the U.S. I like how the program helps them create and develop their own business and it’s all organic. The skills and land ownership, if done well, could be passed down generationally. I started looking to see what programs and services we have available in my home state. Thanks for sharing.

    2. Shandra Womack says:

      New Roots for Refugees sounds like a phenomenal program. I have never heard of this type of assistance before. New Roots for Refugees has created a safe haven for needed individuals. I really feel like your program should be global program to bring awareness this population of people. I appreciate you sharing this very important information. I know I can learn so much more from your program and will research more, thank you for sharing!!

  2. Clark Davis says:

    I work at a nonprofit organization called LCH, although we used to be called La Comunidad Hispana. We are a Federally Qualified Health Center with about 85% of our patient base speaking Spanish as their first language. The Social Assistance division of LCH, being the umbrella under which our Workforce Development program lies, sees an even higher percentage of native Spanish speakers on a regular basis. The majority of our members (that’s what we call our clients) in Social Assistance come from a very specific city in Mexico. Over the past two years or so, there has been a large influx of recent immigrants from Guatemala and Venezuela due to rising crime rates and/or political insecurity. Every once in a while, a member comes in from another Spanish-speaking country or from Puerto Rico.

    Of course, we recently went through this name-changing process in order to be more inclusive to a wider range of patients and members. One of our satellite locations is about 15 miles from our main office, where the demographics show more of a balance between English and Spanish-speaking members. Our older name was not exactly appealing to most native English-speakers, but since we are a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), patients and members come to us for more reasons than just for the security of being a bilingual community resource. Being an FQHC enables us to open our doors to many different underserved or underrepresented populations. For example, the overwhelming majority of our patients are either uninsured or underinsured; rather, they pay out of pocket for medical treatment based on a sliding scale, or they have Medicaid or Medicare. Because of this, it is safe to say that many of our patients are either hovering near the federal poverty line, of older generations, or uninsurable due to immigration status or income limits.

    I recently analyzed our Workforce Development visits from all of 2020 and learned some interesting facts about the members seeking these specific services. The average job seeker at LCH, at least this year, is a 42-year-old immigrant from Mexico with two children. On average, this person does not speak English beyond a basic level of proficiency and likely stopped attending school after 9th grade. Typically, their work experience in the United States may be limited to having worked in mushroom farms, landscaping, or janitorial/custodial work.
    This all is not to say that we only serve the Spanish-speaking population! English-speaking job seekers, though they come to Social Assistance less frequently, typically are recent high school graduates looking for the next step or are of an older generation looking to make ends meet until retirement. These members are probably 50% White, 30% African American, and 20% Latin American (but native English speakers).We also have been working closely with a local HBCU on the medical side for services like COVID testing, women’s health, and dental care. Hopefully we would be able to start seeing some participating students join us in Social Assistance, but that is a plan in development and I am aware that they have their own career counseling services.

    Our Workforce Development process depends heavily on the organization’s standing in the community. Many employers from small and large-scale companies make their way to my phone extension seeking to have an open position posted in our offices. Instead of having any cork boards, I manage a database of local job and career options that we use to try to connect our members with opportunities.At the same time, I do my best to reach out to local employers and establish relationships with them in the hopes of gaining trust and access to postings as they become available. Because of these phone calls, emails, and meetings, some local employers have been willing to take a chance with a prospect that we believe in. We also take advantage of PA CareerLink, which is a state-run job networking website, to help members connect with jobs they may have not heard of otherwise. Recently, I have been using MySkillsMyFuture to help some of our members think more creatively about jobs they might be interested in.

    1. Christi Goni says:

      We do something very similar with our “hot jobs board”. Until the pandemic hit and California was under a mandatory state-wide shut down we utilized a full wall in our career center to post local job listings. Our center is now open by appointment only but we have come up with creative ways to still have all of our job flyers available to job seekers either in person or via our website. It also very important for our agency to foster good relationships with local employers so that they will continue to seek us out when they have open positions and also so that we may be able to suggest a candidate for an OJT or Work Experience.

  3. Jahmiel McBride says:

    Working in a public library, we are visited very much by our surrounding communities. Depending on your work location, the demographics may vary. The community where I work is considered by our county government as part of a (TNI) Transforming Neighborhood Initiative. These neighborhoods are identified by our county as locations that face significant economic, educational, health, and public safety challenges. We have an adult population with no high school diploma or less than a bachelor’s degree, households where no English is spoken in the home, a homeless population that is consistently present, and persons looking to reenter the workforce and escape recidivism. We are the first responders to meet the informational needs of our community and de facto social workers.

    To the meet the needs of our community, we provide programs like Lawyer in the Library, so our customers can have access to legal advice and representation. We provide computer basic classes and online resources like Lynda.com to help our customers improve their computer literacy. We offer English Conversation Club to help our Spanish-speaking residents develop their English skills and the Spanish Conversation Club for persons looking to learn Spanish. Our librarians are also passport agents, so we process passport applications for persons looking to travel internationally. We partner with local organizations like the American Job Center to hold workshops in resume’ preparation and interviewing. We have veterans and an older generation looking to find new jobs. We have people of all ages looking to create their own businesses to either be an entrepreneur or create secondary income. Our teen students are looking for community service opportunities to meet their required quota. Since this pandemic, we’ve noticed even more the importance of our roles as our residents’ face unemployment and digital inaccessibility. These are just some of the reasons the Workforce & Community Development team was recently created within our library system to help address the diverse needs of the population that enter our doors.

    1. Clark Davis says:

      “We are the first responders to meet the informational needs of our community and de facto social workers.” What an honest assessment! Every client’s experience/background/story is unique and they all need to be treated appropriately, which is often different for each person. The end goal might be to get somebody a job or get them started on a career, but there’s always a reason they come to you – often times getting to the root of that reason can be difficult but effective. I think about the one client I had who struggled to find work because he didn’t feel confident reaching out to a potential employer because of his limited English proficiency. I helped him contact this employer and now he’s working full time and practicing English with his coworkers!
      Sometimes it’s the little boost of encouragement that helps our clients succeed, and sometimes they require longer-term intervention. Either way, they may have needs that we can help to fulfill, even beyond job placement. Keep up the great work!

    2. Renee Brooks says:

      This was very interesting I did not realize the libraries has all of these services. Once my area library opens back up I will start visiting regular to take a advantage of the services that are offered. I am considering working on becoming a victims advocate this may be a great start for research.

    3. Sarah Brown says:

      Though it makes complete sense given that libraries are information hubs, I am still astounded by the sheer breadth of services you offer to the community. Passport agents!! You said it brilliantly here: “We are the first responders to meet the informational needs of our community and de facto social workers.” Our workforce center has a main office that I work in, but the needs of our communities are not uniform across the county. Thus our satellite offices are more similar to the structure of your libraries, in that they meet the individual needs of the communities they are in. After reading your description of your residents, their needs and how you/the library rise(s) to meet them, I can’t help but feel totally separate from that process. I’ve no doubt this will help to make me more aware and sensitive to my clients and their needs.

    4. William McIntyre says:

      Workforce Development in the library is an awesome concept. KRA Corp works with integrates workforce development into the libraries with several partners. We look expand this idea in other jurisdictions to serve more residents in the region. The library seems to be a non-threatening environment, which residents gravitate to in different communities.

  4. Christi Goni says:

    I’ve been with the Job Training Center for the past 5 years. We are a private, nonprofit whose mission is to provide employment and training opportunities to job seekers and hiring, training, and human resource assistance to local business. We are located in northern California in Tehama County. The rural nature of our county can impact our clients’ access to the internet, transportation, and training opportunities.
    We work with a wide range of programs and populations to include the following:

    • Launching Latino Youth Program
    o Serves the children or grandchildren of Latino immigrants
    o Key resources include the Accelerator grant, partnerships with the Manufacturing and Healthcare industries in our area, and the local Career Technical
    Education programs (CTE)

    • COVID Additional Support & Services Program
    o Serves individuals directly impacted by the pandemic either through COVID-19 illness or reduced hours or job loss.
    o Key resources include 2 specific COVID grants, local schools, healthcare providers, and county and city offices for temporary job placement.

    • Prison to Employment Program
    o Serves Justice Involved or Formerly Incarcerated Individuals
    o Key resources include P2E grant funding, local law enforcement partner agencies, rehabilitation service providers, housing assistance providers, local employers, career technical education programs and our local community college.

    • Project Restore
    o Serves Justice Involved youth
    o Key resources include partnerships with local counseling and rehabilitation agencies, law enforcement agencies, local employers, CTE programs and our local community college.

    • Dislocated Worker (18+), Adult (18+), and Youth Programs (18-24)
    o Serves local job seekers from 18+ who meet eligibility requirements
    o Key resources for these groups are WIOA funding, partnerships with local employers and agencies, and training programs for On-the-Job training (OJTs), Work Experiences (WEX), and Internships as well local CTE programs for short term training opportunities. Training programs may include: Truck Driver, Phlebotomist, Medical Assistant, Registered Nurse, Dental Hygienist, and Welders to name a few.

    1. Tracy Forbush says:

      This was helpful to see these laid out this way. One of the things I forgot to mention was that we also see a mix of urban, suburban and rural clients and the resources in those communities vary widely. Your key resources you listed above gave me some new ideas for potential partners I could look into in our more remote sites.

    2. Serena Mosteller says:

      Wow! It sounds like your organization has a finger on the pulse of the needs in a multicultural environment. I am impressed with the manner in which you laid out the menu of services that you offer. Of particular interest to me is the area for helping justice involved customers. That seems to be an area that I would appreciate additional services for. Recently, I collaborated with a job developer who has given me hope that he can assist a few of my harder to hire customers.

    3. Yassin Kargbo says:

      Wow these are amazing resources and services. I hope for our library system to adopt some of these resources in the future.

  5. Renee Brooks says:

    The customers that are referred to my agency are people that have applied for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) in the District of Columbia. The customer consist of male and females that have children under 18 years of age in the primary custody. All customer are referred from the Department of Human Service for Job Placement assistance. Customers are primary assessed from DHS to ensure they are work ready. After coming to the agency another the customer are assessed again by the agency case manager to receive overall history of the customer. After the case manager reviews the customer further referred may be needed. The agency can refer the customer to other agencies such as:
    Childcare services we are able to provide the customer with a referral to obtain a childcare voucher which will not expire for 12 months. Housing barriers customer will be referred to the Virginia Williams Center to assist with housing instability. Customers in need of additional for until the next month can be referred to Capital Area Bank, Bread for the City and food pantries. Mental health barriers customer will be referred to Department of Behavioral Health that will address the mental health needs of a customer and will refer to other core agencies. Customer will be referred to Suited for Change, Martha’s Table and Dress for Success for clothing needs. Customer needing assistance for utilities bill will be referred to DC Energy Office. Customer will also be referred to other agencies for job skill training or work readiness workshops. Also we can provide some services in-house to assistance customers with work related expense that will not exceed $250.00 yearly per DHS contract.

  6. Nikiesha Virgil says:

    My program serves the economically disadvantaged in the community. We work with “hard-to-serve” clients with a number of barriers to employment- persons with invisible disabilities, persons with criminal histories, opportunity youth, racial minorities, low educational level, and immigrant ect. In the last couple of years, however there have been quite a few persons who self-selected to participate in our program. Those people have been temporarily unemployed. To best serve these clients we address the barriers to employment first – housing, childcare, transportation, education, disability, mental health, language, ect. We do this through referrals to the agency Care Team or to other agencies within the community. We coordinate the services and maintain contact with clients, coaching them through any challenges. Once those barriers are addressed we are able to work one on one with clients to help them gain or sustain employment.

  7. Serena Mosteller says:

    I work with District of Columbia residents receiving government assistance based on having at least one minor child to support. The majority of them are African American females but there are some Caucasian, Latina and Other and there are some males receiving services. The generations are predominantly Millennials and Gen Xers with sprinkles of individuals who speak English as a second language. Some of my customers are experiencing homelessness, retreating from Domestic Violence, receiving behavioral health services and/or are in need of mental health treatment. Some have disclosed that they are justice involved and/or have a disability. No one has identified as a refugee or someone who has been granted asylum. There also have not been customers so far who have discussed religious background, sexual preference or gender identity.

    While I rely heavily on my interviewing skills, the key resources that I use with my customers come in the form of referrals to colleagues (Employment Specialist and Job Developer) and outside professionals (housing counselors, mental health case managers, Social Workers, etc.) to address the various barriers identified. Ultimately, it’s a collaborative effort to support the customer with goals toward self-sufficiency.

  8. Sarah Brown says:

    As a Workforce Development Specialist supporting El Paso County in Colorado, I’ve worked with both the Young Adult (16-24 years old) and Adult (18+) populations in both Federal and discretionary grants. Covid aside, my county generally experiences low unemployment numbers, so the populations we work with are deemed “hard to serve.” While the socioeconomic statuses, ages, abilities, sexual orientation/gender identities, races/ethnicities of our clients run the gamut, there are some commonalities in barriers to employment.

    When I worked on the Young Adult team, a large part of my caseload was made up by young adults with different abilities. When developing their plans and supporting their goals, I worked closely with DVR and utilized the Job Accommodation Network (askjan.org).

    Many of our client either don’t have access to technology or have limited experience with it, so in addition to offering computers for client use (or even buying a laptop/Chromebook as a “supply item”), my workforce center also offers workshops/training opportunities to assist with anything from learning what a computer mouse is (and does) to earning certificates of proficiency in Microsoft Office products.

    Another common barrier to employment pertains to criminal backgrounds. In addition to creating partnerships with parole/probation and halfway housing providers to determine the scope of support the client can receive, I’ve also aided my clients who are justice involved with the sealing and expunging process, as well as mock interview and cover letter assistance to address how to address their backgrounds with employers.

    The job coaches on our Business Relationship Team do a fantastic job of advocating for our clients when sourcing/ working with employers and community organizations to work with these “harder to serve” populations in the form of Work Experiences and On-the-Job Training opportunities. Other resources we provide as needed to clients include: transportation assistance (in the form of bus passes or gas cards), referrals to GED programs, housing assistance programs, legal resources, vouchers for the purchase of food and hygiene products, financially supporting training/education opportunities, etc.

    1. Brittany Switzer says:

      I think it is important to note most of our population may not have access to technology, so may need the additional workshops and trainings to assist with technology barriers. I noticed you stated your workforce center has the capability to buy laptop and/or Chromebooks for your customers. In DC our funder, the Department of Human Services, is currently working on a program to provide this same benefit to our customers.

  9. William McIntyre says:

    In the District of Columbia, we work with a diverse population. Most customers are single, African American mothers; however, 4% of the customers we serve are men. As a result, we started a pilot mentoring men program. Additionally, it is important to note some of the clients are married.
    Oddly, it is rare that other ethnicities are referred to our location. We welcome and prepared to engage with anyone that walks through our center doors. Furthermore, we are equipped to work with non-English speaking clients with multilingual staff and resources.
    Often, we experience several customers with multiple barriers such as homelessness, large gaps in their education, multiple mental disabilities and ex-offenders. Over 20% of people in our programs have been incarcerated. Therefore, we work closely with government agencies like the Mayor’s Office of Returning Citizens Affairs along with several community based organizations that strengthen their soft skills. Plus, we have used federal bonding programs and Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC). To combat educational deficits, we partner with University of Columbia, Academy of Hope and Community College Preparatory Academy, which assess and support instructional needs.
    Despite all of the clients receiving TANF benefits (low income), they have huge social difference, ages and backgrounds. It is difficult to address such a diverse population, but our staff do an amazing implementing solution focus strategies that transcends boundaries.

  10. William McIntyre says:

    Workforce Development in the library is an awesome concept. KRA Corp works with integrates workforce development into the libraries with several partners. We look expand this idea in other jurisdictions to serve more residents in the region. The library seems to be a non-threatening environment, which residents gravitate to in different communities.

  11. Zachary Jones says:

    Prince Georges County is probably one of the most diverse areas you will see as there are all walks of life in our community. About 15 minutes outside of the nations capital I can say being born and raised in this region and now working in the public library system, I see the diversity daily. In the matter of 3-4 transactions the customers can range from a highly educated government employee,a curious teen, a retired school teacher, to a recent reentry from incarceration. We also have a homeless population that looks to our branches as a place or refuge and resources. So keeping all those individual segments of our population in mind is something that is something we try to keep in mind. Although the majority of the population would identify as Black or African american, there are still different ethnicities within this particular race. I have a large portion of customers who are from different countries of Africa. I also have a large spanish speaking population of different ethnicities that enters the doors of the library. So I feel that being prepared overall for interactions with multiple cultural and social barriers is something that you have to be empathetic towards. We strive at the library to be well versed in everything as we are hubs of information and resources. So whether we have spanish speaking staff, certified staff in particular skills, we are always focused on continuing education and training to better serve our community.
    We not only offer programs and services for these demographics, but we also develop all our programs moving forward with that in mind. One way is understanding that our customers range in levels of education. One program that we offer through the library is the Career Online High School. This program provides an alternative online method of gaining training and preparation for a GED. Especially in this time, the courses in this program are all computer/internet based. For our homeless population we have resources through the Prince Georges County Homeless prevention program. One program that we have developed with our partners at Employ Prince George, is a career readiness program called Career Kickstart. Previously it was in person and has now been converted to a virtual front. This is a 4 week program that builds upon professional skills such as, resume writing, interview etiquette, and job searching. This program is geared for ages 18 and older, so whether it is your first job our career change we want to have our community prepared. In the future we plan to have these same offerings in career readiness for those in special circumstances such as ASL or those who do not speak in English as a first language. We also offer conversation clubs that help acclimate non English speakers to navigating society in our community.
    We have along with these programs, also have direct partnerships with our local community college as well as the Maryland State Universities System who table and provide information about post high school education and training. Also we offer a robust array of databases that are beneficial to our community. These databases range from online tutoring with BrainFuse, BrainFuse JobNow, which is a virtual career coach, and even legal databases (Gale Legal Forms) that help you with legal documentation for multiple subjects. The greatest part to all of this, more than anything, is that it is FREE!!! Overall I think as a library, and in particular the Workforce and Community development team we believe in accessibility, professional development, and sustainability for all. We feel that these are the main areas of focus for really building our community and will allow the community to continue to flourish.

    1. La-Toya Jones says:

      Prince Georges County Library system is an awesome resource, filled with an abundance of tools for our community. I have referred so many of our students/families to the library for various reasons. Unfortunatley, due to Covid the one thing that many of our students need is not accessible right now. You guessed it, service learning opportunities. Nevertheless, tutoring services and the digital component of the library has been very helpful for them and their families. I was especially excited to find out that the county offers every student in the county a free digital library card automatically. That was a tool that has become very useful, now that I can explain to the students how to use it. I commend the library for all that they are doing to continue to serve the community during a time where in person resources are very limited, however, a world of useful resources continue to be at our communities finger tips.

      1. Jaleen Walker says:

        I have the pleasure of working for the same library system as Zach, but my position directly services the employees through Human Resources. Our Administrative Office is equally committed to diversity, inclusion, and anti-racism. We had training as a part of orientation for years; and provided annual diversity training. However, with our current leadership, these efforts have been magnified. As a system, we publicly promote our commitment to inclusion by hiring bilingual staff, having open forums about diversity, reading (as a system) books such as “How to Be an Anti-racist.” Additionally, we have a newly formed Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Anti-racism group and LGBTQ+ group dedicated to increasing awareness and eradicating discriminatory practices.

  12. La-Toya Jones says:

    The group I serve is opportunity youth and their families. I work with a wide variety of students from middle school to high school. My focus this year however, is working with high school students. More specifically 12th grade students, in supporting their College and Career prepartions. I am supporting students in making post secondary decisions such as going into the work force, College, Trade school and Military. Each student has a different background, some are English Language Learners, others have learning disabilities, emotional and mental health concerns, single parent households, refugees, parents who are incarcirated, passed away etc etc. I cannot say that there is many backgrounds that I have not had the opportunity to work with, when it comes to the students and families we serve.
    The key resources that we use with this group are partner services such as CASA Maryland, School and community partners, mental health services, Department of Social Services and a plethora of other community resources. Ensuring that if we as professionals are unable to serve the student and their families, that we explore and research another partner that we can tag team with, to create an opportunity of successful services.
    Internally we offer the services of Youth Employment Training Academy (YETA)which supports students with the job readiness skills to increase their probability of being hired, especially with our employent partners. In addition, to working with students to ensure they have all the necessary tools to apply for their employment successfully. In addition to YETA, we work with the Prince Georges County Public School system to partner with college readiness skills such as college applications, College/University and Trade School Tours/Information sessions and scholarship research. We intentionally try to remove any barriers that may get in their ways to stop them from promotion, graduation and/or creating a successful post secondary plans. Our relationships with students and their families is key to creating a successful journey.

  13. Yassin Kargbo says:

    Working for the public library system we have a diverse group of people I come across with every day. We have 19 branches spread out through the county and each branch is unique and serves a specific demographic and groups with different backgrounds and culture. Fortunately I have had the opportunity to work at some of the those branches and gained the experience with working with their particular group that they serve and resources they use to better serve them. The location I work in serves a high population of middle class groups, home school groups, and private school students. Some of the key resources our library system has to offer are. Passport Services, Online Resources like JobNow for customers who need help with their resume and interviewing skills, granting customer’s access to borrow Wi-Fi equipment. We have some locations that provide meals for students, and plenty of online resources for small business owners, job seekers and online high school for customers who want to finish getting their high school diplomas. The library provides plenty of services to name all, however we accommodate most of the community and groups that we serve.

    1. Shawnda Walker says:

      I think that it is great that the library officers a broad variety of services and programs for people of all ages. It is also a great benefit that they can borrow WIFI equipment. Moving forward, I plan to recommend the library as a great resource for my customers.

      1. Nikiesha Virgil says:

        Our local library has been an excellent resource for clients. Not only do go there to use the computer for job search and to place job applications but they can also make an appointment to meet one on one with a job coach. The library also.posts job openings and other career related resources!

    2. Nikiesha Virgil says:

      Our local library has been an excellent resource for clients. Not only do they go there to use the computer for job search and to place job applications but they can also make an appointment to meet one on one with a job coach. The library also.posts job openings and other career related resources!

  14. Zachary Jones says:

    I think what is great to see for all the members of this group that are from the DMV (DC,MD, VA) is that we all seem to have this overarching theme of accessibility for those in our community. What is also great to see in how many resources the residents have in such close proximity. I like that your organization is really looking to tackle Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs first and build from that point. There are multiple barriers that we all encounter (mental health, transportation, technology, etc.), the key is that we all continue to build and maintain partnerships. Also that we continue to make sure we provide the most viable resources to those in our communities to build strong foundations.

  15. Brittany Switzer says:

    My company provides career services to TANF recipients in Washington, DC. The majority of the population is female, but there is a small male population. The population consists of many generations, as the ages tend to vary. Additionally, the majority is African American. We serve customers with various barriers such as homelessness, criminal background, and disabilities. Also, there is a small portion of the population who are English language learners. Some of the resources we use to address these barriers include Virginia Williams Family Resource Center, the central point of intake for families experiencing homelessness or at risk for homelessness. Additionally, we refer customers to the Department of Behavioral Health for mental health services. Additionally, customers with disabilities can receive additional and more specified career services through the Rehabilitation Services Administration.

  16. Shandra Womack says:

    We are a for-profit organization working in workforce development services for 39 years. We have multiple locations all over the United States of America. We provide a variety of employment and support resources to assist job seekers and career seekers while achieving their employment and/or career goals. ** Due to COVID we currently practice social distancing at open sites and have virtual opportunities available for all participants.** Our Baltimore location has been established for over 10 years. We are currently provide assistance for WIOA (Work Innovation and Opportunity Act) and TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) participants.
    We are affiliated with multiple organizations: the Mayor’s Office of Employment, Graduates 2 Careers, Civic Works, Baltimore Community College, Job Opportunities Task Force, Urban Alliance, BSCW, Catholic Charities, Life Bridge, America Works, NCIA, Career Academy, Maryland Food Bank, Humanim, and Catonsville Community Baltimore College.
    Eligible WIOA participants are 18-24 year old out of school youth whom have dropped out of school, are ex-offenders, persons with disabilities, dislocated worker, etc. Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) are participants whom are currently receiving government assistance to support their family . Our mission is to provide employers with trained and prepared individuals. We provide the following services for our diverse population.

    TANF
    On the job training (OJT)
    Work and Learn (WEX)
    Work Place Excellence (WPE)

    Out School Youth Assistance for WIOA Participants-
    Providing 18-24 year olds with assistance with earning GED
    Career Development
    Preferred Industry Training
    Expungement Assistance

    Carpentry Training for WIOA and TANF Participants-
    Free self-pace curriculum (three to four month)
    Bookwork and hands-on training
    Pre-Apprenticeship Certificate of Completion
    OSHA 10
    Job placement after completion in the Construction field of Carpentry
    Dislocated Worker, Youth, Adult
    GED
    TABE Testing 11&12
    Enrollment Assistance
    Grant funding available

    Driving School
    Enrollment Assistance
    Grant funding available

    Vehicle’s for Change
    Assistance with application completion
    Grant Assistance

    1. Nikiesha Virgil says:

      Our local library has been an excellent resource for clients. Not only do they go there to use the computer for job search and to place job applications but they can also make an appointment to meet one on one with a job coach. The library also.posts job openings and other career related resources!

  17. Shawnda Walker says:

    Currently, I am the lead job developer for a workforce development agency. The population we serve are TANF / TCA customers in Baltimore City. They are primarily single mothers. We also service a smaller percentage of single fathers and married couples. The barriers that our customers have are criminal backgrounds, previous drug problems, homelessness, transportation trouble, childcare issues, mental health barriers, and education barriers. My goals are to assist them with resumes, applications, interview prep and eventually assist them with getting them hired. We work with several training providers to assist them with CNA certifications, ServSafe, IT Customer service and several other trainers. We also work with several businesses to provide volunteer experience for our customers as well as job fairs and direct hiring.
    We have a partnership with Mayor’s Office of Employment, Baltimore Community College, Catholic Charities, Maryland Food Bank, Humanum, St. Edwards, It works, BEAT Makeup school, Med Certs, UMMC, Initiatives, Suited to Succeed, Out 4 Justice, Vehicles for Change, and Johns Hopkins.

    1. Kathy Sarmiento says:

      Wow! It is great to see that you are able to have so many different partnerships with others in the community. Coming from a rural community it is sometimes a challenge finding employers willing to partner with those we serve. I really like that you provide volunteer experience, that could be a great way to recruit youth from high school and to get employers to trust in a partnership.

    2. Chekevia Mims says:

      That is amazing, to see that we both have the same similarities with our customers. Where I work here in DC we offer some of the same trainings and support to our customers who also have the same level of barriers as your customers, in which I have customers who have not completed their basic level of education. Some of my customers have an English language barrier which creates an complex form of communicating with them, however we have an language line here in DC. To see that we are close to each other I can see how we must operate different because MD is different from DC. It would be great to collaborate with one another based on the information you have shared and because we work with two diverse communities.

  18. Aaron Leson says:

    What I have read in this discussion board is fantastic! We serve such a wide variety of customers from all over the United States. I am very impressed (I love the library hosting the same). Good work everyone!

  19. Kathy Sarmiento says:

    Working for a Job Center that has many different programs available for adults and youth, I get to meet people with different stories and backgrounds. I am new to the job development workforce but mainly focus on helping the youth between the ages of 16-24. In the short time I have been in workforce development I have noticed some of the major groups of people whom seek our services are Transitional Foster Youth, Young Parents, English Language Learners, and low income individuals with no employable history/skills.
    There is not a perfect model to follow that will work with all of those who seek our services. With time I have been able to find the key resources and process that seems to work best with the youth. First and foremost I think it is important to build trust with the participant so they feel comfortable sharing their story. After taking the time to actively listen to the participant, summarizing what they said helps to identify key goals or immediate needs that need to be met. This is when I would share how the Youth Program can help when we team up together to create a pathway to employment. I found it more successful, as far as participant retention, when I was able to build that trust with the participant first instead of overwhelming them with all the paperwork and assessments in the first meeting.
    Working with the youth and trying to identify their individual skills or occupational compatibility would be difficult to accomplish without the help of assessments. I use the assessments on CAcareerzone to help the youth find possible occupational interests they might have, or to provide support and additional information for a career that they are already thinking of pursuing. I ask them to complete the interest profiler, work importance, and skills profiler. After completing and reviewing the results, the youth have a better idea of a job they might like vs. a job they will not like. (Ex. Participant wants to be a RN in the ER but doesn’t like seeing blood. After reviewing the life of a RN, participant concluded the ER might not be the best environment for her.) The initial intake and assessments on CAcareerzone are used with all participants. After this step is when it will vary depending on what the participant decides to pursue. (Employment, Education, Military)
    Resources available for employment preparation:
    DIY: Resume Workshop
    How to fill out Job Application
    Job Search Workshop
    Mock Interview
    Financial Literacy
    Supportive Services: (Gas, Materials needed for training/education)
    Scholarship Workshop

  20. Jaleen Walker says:

    My full-time position is in a public library in the Human Resources department. I do not get a lot of exposure to the public that we serve, but I have much interaction with staff from various backgrounds. Traditionally libraries consisted of prominent, white females. In my role, I train on diversity & inclusion and have had the pleasure of dispelling myths about marginalized people and helping many face and address their biases and prejudices. My private business focuses on working with people to enable them to change their negative preconceived notions, prejudices, and false perceptions of others. Diversity is always a topic that gets a reaction, whether it be positive or negative. As a professional, you have to face all discrimination with a direct but respectful approach.

  21. Chekevia Mims says:

    I am currently employed with KRA which is an TEP Provider for DHS (Department of Human Services) in located DC, on the Educational and Occupational Team. My team works with a variety of individuals and based on what I have learned thus far majority of my customers are not Washingtonians. They are from other aspects of the DMV area here on the East Coast with different social economic statuses. I discover a lot about my customer during the first initial point of contact in which it gives me the space to have the open ending conversations with my customers, where I have learned a lot about their environment, family history, education level, financial history, health and mental history. Working on the EOT side we provide our customers with the assistance of returning to school to obtain either their High School Diploma or GED, or maybe college or obtaining an certificate of trade in any field/ career of their choice. In order to support the current population that KRA serves we connect all of our families/ clients to the community based resources in and around the city. Currently under the current state of emergency the District of Columbia has provided an wider range of support to the customers to help maintain the quality of life.

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