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.
19 thoughts on “Career Services to Multicultural Populations Forum – Cohort 2”
in response to Cyndi’s post I also like working with W2, they have the same set of outcome goals we do as far as employment and training, but they are also able to provide a monthly payment for the hours they complete in activities.
Definitely agree with this. W2 does offer the monthly payment which is a nice benefit for those within that program. Though WIOA offers incentives or WEX opportunities, it is only available for our Youth participants, who do tend to need that little boost of encouragement.
Samantha/Cotina – how long did most of your clients maintain employment before quitting? Do you have a measurement? Is there an industry standard so to speak?
I have worked primarily with individuals who identify as African American and between the ages of 18-24. These individuals often had multiple indicators of diversity that I needed to be aware of to best connect and assist them in their career management: People who identified as LGBT,People who had diverse religious beliefs,People who had disabilities and/ or Individuals who are Justice-Involved. Most commonly the greatest barrier was for those who were justice involved. Typically I would begin with a local and state ( sometimes multiple if they lived in another state) to discuss the current status and what jobs they would be disqualified for (Ex: CNA, Teaching, etc.). Often I found that there were multiple charges that even they were not aware of. From there I would connect my client with Legal Aid unless the charges were criminal, in which they do not assist and then we would look at other options. A number of clients were eligible for expungement which is a process in itself. Due to the fact that many of my clients had public defenders who are typically overworked, they often took “deals” that caused them to do more time then they should have. I would also look at re-entry supports within the community that could assist with barriers to stability that were outside of my scope. If they did not have some level of stability (shelter, food) it was difficult for them to obtain and maintain employment. I would coach clients on how to address questions on applications and at an interview about their justice involvement. Typically clients would either go into a continuing education position with an internship for experience or work for a local company that was justice involvement friendly. I had pretty good relationships with some of the local employers so we would work together to address any challenges that might be encountered.
I agree that working with justice involved individuals is challenging and I’ve also found those clients to be the most driven to succeed. The expungement process is confusing and diluted. Meaning, so many people can’t have their records expunged due to the nature of the charges, but were told otherwise. Or that it still does really show up on a record search. In Humboldt County, our Workforce Development Board, does a great job at obtaining grants to support justice involved people in obtaining skills, training and/or employment. There is also good support from employers in providing employment opportunities and see internships and apprenticeships as a strong way to continue developing those relationships.
Hi Hayley, I was wondering if you also had clients who where Afro-Latinx and how you managed that unique culture. I find that often times in the Latinx culture we denied the African American roots of the Latinx culture. I myself not being Afro-Latinx but just being darker of some of my siblings have experienced much more different treatment in the workplace, and had my sister not pointed out how much better treatment she had received over her darker-skinned family members, it wouldn’t have dawned on me that it was so much of an issue. She had also made me aware that it’s also true for our Afro-Latinx community. If you have any insight please let me know.
Margarita, I appreciate you brining this to my attention. I believe I only ever encountered one Afro-Latinx client in my time working with the population I mentioned. That individual also identified as LGBTQ and had a hard time identifying with her African American due to her lighter skin tone. I think these examples shed light on a bigger challenge which is that society wants so badly to classify people and put them in an “identification box”. Being aware of this and even having personal experience with it can assist us in our career work with clients. It brings us back to recognizing the individual first as a human being.
Hayley I am glad to see that you are working with a vast group of people. The customers that have been touched by the justice system is a difficult group because as case workers we have to help some of them change the mind set when it comes to working. These customers really had no other options to employment and helping them find a job and keep it is a work in itself. Way to go on you role to help the customers.
The group my agency serves are people with disabilities. This is a wide range and too many to list, but include what we call physical and hidden disabilities. We are a vocational rehabilitation program, so the goal is for our clients to gain employment through a delivery of a variety of services. But, there are several people that I’ve worked with that have multiple barriers.
This can include multiple disabilities, or include justice involved individuals and even people experiencing homelessness and transportation barriers. While Humboldt County is majority white, there are a mix of races and cultures that we serve. Also including the LGBT population and a large veteran presence. As you may or may not know, disabilities don’t discriminate. So, while my main job function is to support my community in career development, it also includes ensuring they have their needs met and connected to the right resources.
I network with a variety of groups, from Probation and Parole Officers to Social Workers, Case Workers, Housing/Homeless Advocates and other agencies that provide multiple resources, like Family Resource Centers and of course our local AJCC. It’s important to be aware of local resources, understanding that while people may be coming to my agency to “get a job”, there is sometimes so much more involved. Being connected with your community, or knowing where to search is vital to the success of not only our clients, but our society.
Yes Cassie, often we end up serving the whole person from a 360 degree approach, otherwise, in some cases, we set them up for failure just to check a box that our job is done. Hmmmmm…that whole ethical and moral question comes up here again. Maybe you can answer this for me Cassie…I took a course a while back on unconscious bias and we discussed modern and less offensive terms for disabled populations. I feel like I remember a preference being able-bodied and differently-able bodied, but I wanted to know if you came across this with the population you work with?
We definitely use “person first” language, meaning the person comes before the disability. The term differently-able bodied is certainly used, but we don’t deter from the word disability.
It is not uncommon for individuals with disabilities to also experience other barriers to education and employment, as you know. Another challenge I have faced both personally and professionally is when it comes to hidden disabilities. Too many individuals think of a person with disabilities as someone who has a physical impairment and is in a wheelchair. But hidden disabilities such as mental illness are equally legitimate and also require accommodations. Because of the stigma of mental illness, I find that some individuals are not as forthcoming with talking about it and requesting accommodations the same way someone would if they had a physical disability. That is something we all have to work on. I don’t know what the magic solution is.
I want to share a link to this document that I use frequently. I don’t remember where I got it from, but it outlines special populations, barriers, as well as resources and solutions to overcoming barriers. I hope you can access the link, if not, feel free to give me your email and I will send it to you directly.
I have been fortunate to work with a variety of different individuals. I have learned much about others and about myself. I realized that I don’t know what I don’t know until someone is sitting in front of me with a problem that I have yet to experience in career services. I have worked with justice-involved individuals, homeless, youth/young adults, current and emancipated foster youth, DACA recipients, English Language Learners, high school dropouts, parents, individuals with disabilities, victims of human trafficking, and individuals who have no work experience.
I have had to use different resources for different individuals, especially when a client falls into multiple special populations. The key is to build relationships with agencies who specialize in these populations. As a career services provider, it is difficult to have all of the resources available to help individuals. However, by knowing who has the resources and having a good relationship with them, clients can access the resources easier. Ideally, those services would be co-located in your center to make access to the resources readily available.
Working in the heart of Los Angeles, near Pico-union the majority of the population I have worked with come from immigrant families, and refugees from many different countries but predominantly from Latin America. I was usually the person that translate Spanish speaking clients. Also, union members may have come from various socio-economic backgrounds. Some may have previously incarcerated and beginning training through our second chance boot camp but on my end I mostly help with rental, utilities, and food assistance prior to moving over to the Miguel Contreras Foundation..
However, I referred members to other agencies like NAMI for mental health, St. John’s clinics for medical, and every type of assistance needed as my agency was part of the 211 Crisis emergency system. I was trained through 211 and a variety of agencies to help a member access a variety of different services. If I am not able to help directly, I can at least Identify what help a member may need or refer them to 211.org so they can do a proper intake to get the member the help that they need.
In looking at the groups that I have worked with, one group that stands out in my career as a Career Counselor is the Non Custodial Parent Group. These group of customers come from different ethnic backgrounds. When working with them the first thing that I learn to do is listen to what they have to say. The vast majority of the clients that come in really do want to do what’s best for the child that they need to support. I work with them so they can see that with a well thought out plan and the support from agency the customer can position themselves to take care of their obligations. The Fatherhood Initiative is an agency the I reached out to a lot to be able to help find mentors for my customers. Guinn Healthcare was another agency that provided the customers a sounding board to help clear there minds. When visiting with the clients I always told them that if they work hard to do the right thing then once they go before the judge and explain why they are behind on child support the judge will more than likely give them an opportunity to find a job and begin to take care of the financial obligations. My role with many of these clients was to provide job leads and short term trainings to find the jobs that will pay enough to cover child support and help the customers support themselves. I think that my major role in in this position was to be support system for the customers and work toward breaking the trends in the workforce for my clients.
Yes, breaking the trends in the workforce for those non-custodial parents are very important. Many times just the ability to clear their mind is useful in finding their way through the maze of parenting while dealing with employment issues. Once they are able to create a solid foundation for themselves seeing their way through meeting their financial obligations becomes much more apparent and feasible.
I have had the opportunity to with Welfare to Work programs on the employment training and job placement arena. Most of my clientele were African-American women and men on parole or in the process of re-entry. The County had a job readiness program that addressed issues such as punctuality, conflict management, resume and job interviewing skills. Over a period of three weeks, social workers, HR managers, law enforcement and social support agencies provided information and practical applications on life after incarceration and how the manage the “outside” world. What I found interesting was the survival mode mindset most clients were stuck in and how it prevented them from success (job retention) after incarceration. Many of the typical pitfalls after they found employment were structural – transportation, homelessness and inescapable living environments.
Right now, I work with formerly incarcerated adult women and men. There is a mix from the county jail, state prison, and federal prison systems. I encounter a mix of races, ethnicities, and cultures, but the majority being Latinx and African American. We have a 12-week long apprenticeship readiness program, that all participants go through before we connect them with union employment. During this time, individuals participate in several workshops that deal with the whole person as well as job readiness. We rely on the expertise of our program partners and the resources they specialize in. One of which is The Anti Recidivism Coalition. They are a community created for the health and well being of our formerly incarcerated sisters and brothers to help transition back into society. They have a variety of weekly support groups, as well as licensed MSW’s on staff to help deal with issues that one might have. Southwest Community College is our partner for educational needs. The LA/OC Building Trades Council is a resource for employment, and the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor is a resource to the unions and labor.
The groups of individuals that I work with come from various backgrounds and have different barriers that impede their progress towards gainful employment. Some of these individuals have criminal backgrounds, dislocated workers, youth, disabilities and substance abuse issues. They can not only participate in the grant program that I run but they can be dually enrolled in other programs that meet their specific needs. It is important for me to express to them that the scope of my abilities consist of training towards being employed. Even though they may express or address various areas of need I want to hear them out not only for them to feel heard but attentively listen for opportunities to share resources that will help them. Many people in the community are not aware of the resources’ that exist and I feel at the minimum it’s my role to educate them on those areas of opportunity.