Career Services to Multicultural Populations Forum – Jan2023

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.

56 thoughts on “Career Services to Multicultural Populations Forum – Jan2023”

  1. creid says:

    My company is a large electrical contractor that has offices and job sites nationwide. We are currently working with military personnel that is looking to leave the military and join the private sector. We do this through our skill bridge program. These folks come from diverse lives, locations, religions, and beliefs. We put them to work on our job sites and teach them how to bend conduits, wire devices, and install fixtures. This gives the skill bridge folks the opportunity to learn on-the-job skills, and to also decide if electrical work is for them while remaining in the military.

    We are also active with the Construction Ready Program which is geared more toward inner-city folks, immigrants, justice-involved, and low-income populations. This program teaches attendees twelve weeks of construction skills courses to ready their careers for the trades. Our goal is to attract, develop and mobilize talent in the field and offices that we serve and do so with diversity, equity, and inclusion. We strongly believe and practice that every person will bring value to our company and community. We do what we can to amplify that value. Miller Electric has been named “Best Places to Work” in Jacksonville, on multiple occasions.

    1. says:

      I can see why Miller Electric was named “Best Place to Work”. There is such a demand for skilled trades and what you are doing is ideal. If you haven’t already you might want to contact CareerSource Northeast Florida Business Services, there are 2 locations in Jacksonville I would be glad to provide more information if you would like. If only you were in Brevard County.

  2. says:

    I work as a Business Engagement Services. I reach out and talk to business owners of all walks of life and cultural backgrounds. Working with businesses in the agricultural part of California brings many people from all over the world to start a business. Many of the owners are casual hard workers who have worked their entire life to become a business owner. The business owners are men, women, young, old, and from every background and culture you can think of.
    When going to introduce myself and start to build trust and a relationship, I start with an open mind and listen to them. That is the only way to what resources they need from me. If I were to go in there introduce myself and start listing off the free resources we offer, they would shut down thinking I am a salesman or that I do not care about what they truly need. Their cultural background does not matter as their main culture is a business owner who is always getting a sales pitch. That is why I do to mention any resources until I have heard what they truly need and how I can best assist them. Once the trust has been established, our relationship is beginning and I can offer the resources that best suit their needs and they are not only excited about the free resources, but they also know that I am honestly here to help them succeed.

    1. rosa.oceguera says:

      Sometimes working with different cultures can be intimidating! I have also found that I need to approach situations in a different way than I normally would to be more culturally sensitive, so I definitely understand your take. I believe that for some cultures, coming to this country is a long and hard process and once they arrive, they need to try to assimilate to something new. I can definitely see why some participants are stand-off-ish and not willing to trust us so easily as so many things around them are so different and new to them. Sometimes they just need a gentle reminder that we are here to help!

      1. says:

        I agree with you that many refugees that are coming to us for assistance have a harder time culturally. The barriers that we have to overcome as case workers to make them feel secure and safe, while trying to communicate is a struggle we face. Knowing that once we get them the assistance they have the option to attend ESl classes. Culturally speaking they may not want to take the classes, so we do offer other options and work with many employers who need certain language employee’s, so always giving our participants the respect for their options and choices keeps the trust between us strong and supportive to their needs and wants.

    2. kenn.valenzuela says:

      I 100% agree with you, Kim. The essential helping skill of active listening is the key in not only in terms of what you could offer to them but also in gaining the respect of everyone around you. One may be able to get away without listening if it’s a one-time deal that we’re after but as career service providers, we are aiming for a long-term professional interaction based on trust and mutual respect.

  3. rosa.oceguera says:

    I work in Employment Services – Welfare to Work for Yolo County and some of the population we serve are immigrants/refugees. The two major groups of immigrants and refugees are either from Afghanistan speaking Farsi or Dari and Russia or Ukraine speaking Russian or Ukrainian. A lot of the immigrants and refugees speak very little English and some don’t speak any English at all. Unfortunately, this is a huge barrier for them as not being fluent in English can not only be intimidating but also impede them from obtaining/requesting the services they may need. Thankfully, the county is partnered with a different agency for language and translation services. Even so, I find that using this agency can sometimes not be as much help as we may think as many things and details can get lost in translation. Besides the language line services, for those receiving cash aid, welfare to work participation requirement hours can also be met by attending free English as a Second Language (ESL) classes. By enrolling and attending these free classes, they can meet their participation requirement all while learning how to speak, read and write in English. Language is a huge barrier in becoming and employable adult in the US, so aiding them in their English skills with free classes allows them to not only learn the Language but also understand the new culture as well.

    1. jbelmonte says:

      I had a lady from Germany, who said she was homesick and lonely. She wondered where people gather to network. Together, we were able to find a German club she could look into joining and German restaurants, where she could go for authentic meals. I was able to find out that our local Chamber of Commerce and WeVenture (for women entrepreneurs) have networking nights at least once a month. She was so excited! It was nice to see her glucklich (happy)! A couple of months later, she came to thank me for the leads. She said it made such a difference with her attitude; she was sure it made all the difference with her getting a job. It was satisfying to see her still glucklich…

    2. tannaz.tabatabaei says:

      I agree that language can be a significant barrier to becoming an employable adult in the United States. English proficiency is often a requirement for many jobs, especially in specific industries like healthcare or education. This can make it difficult for non-native speakers to find employment even if they have other qualifications or skills valuable to employers. Language barriers can also make it challenging for individuals to navigate the job application process, which can involve filling out forms, writing resumes and cover letters, and participating in interviews. In addition, it can be frustrating and disheartening for individuals unable to communicate effectively in English to compete with others who are fluent. To address this issue, employers and government agencies must recognize the importance of language access and provide resources and support to non-native speakers. This can include language classes, translation services, and hiring bilingual staff. By doing so, we can ensure that language is not a barrier to employment and that everyone has the opportunity to succeed in the workplace.

    3. kbarrett says:

      It is interesting to read how a fellow Welfare Transitional career advisor (that is what the
      Welfare to Work is called in my state) is collaborating with immigrants and refugees.

      In my county, we are now seeing an increase, I have only had one case so far. Like your county, we also offer free English as a Second Language (ESOL) classes and of course interpreting services are available.

      It is interesting to read that attending ESOL in your county can help WT customers meet participation, in my county we can only use ESOL if the customer is required to complete core and core plus hours.

    4. yrazojara says:

      I completely agree with you that language is a huge barrier to employment for many people in the US. I serve a similar community as you and I can see how difficult it can be for individuals with language barriers to even find the resources where they can ask for help. I also help many of my clients by referring them to ESL classes prior to vocational training and it is amazing to see how much more comfortable people are after taking the ESL classes. Like you said, not only are they learning English, but they’re also being exposed to new cultures and my clients benefit from the classes because it gets them comfortable with classroom settings which is helpful for them when they start vocational training.

  4. jbelmonte says:

    As a Career Advisor, I work with a diverse group of clients who come from all around the world. Some may have background issues, others with disabilities seen and unseen, and some do not speak English. For those who do not speak English, we are able to hire translators. For those with hearing disabilities, we can hire sign language experts. Others with disabilities come with a coach, who we deal with and have the client sign an authorization to release information so we can coordinate services. Many times, clients have relocated to our county from different countries around the world. For me, the best way to help them is to show r.e.s.p.e.c.t. Because no matter what language one speaks, respect is something we can all feel and appreciate.

    1. mmijon says:

      Jbelmonte not only treats her external clients w/ great respect, but also her internal clients as well, me being one of them. We do work w/ quite a cross-section of clients, for both employment and education/career needs. We have teamed with a healthcare profession student/client on several occasions to simplify her voucher access for tuition/transportation fees. This student is from a low-socio-economic background and is representative of a large proportion of clients we work with who are striving to improve their family’s lives. Jbelmonte, Joan, and I show these clients unconditional positive regard as we walk with them on their journeys to more stable, self-sufficient lives.

    2. rssmith5157 says:

      Hello-Yes I agree, showing respect no matter is always the best choice. In a previous role I conducted home visits with families that were from Nepal, and Burma, providing early childhood education services, and I too have had to work with a translator in order to effectively communicate with these families. The families have young children who qualify for early childhood services, however, being enrolled in a classroom wasn’t an option. Unfortunately, due to the high barriers in which these families were in, it made providing resources and services a bit of a challenge. The parents were doing their best with what resources they had, so again, showing genuine kindness and respect went a long way, when I would come for my weekly visits. I was able to develop a good relationship which then allowed me to provide more individualized services, such as developmentally appropriate books for the kids, and we also goal planned with the parents on matters such as bill paying and regular house maintenance. Overall, I really enjoyed learning about the families, as these experiences were very different than all the families I had worked with previously.

  5. tannaz.tabatabaei says:

    I work as an employment services specialist in the Welfare to Work program at Yolo County. As a Farsi/Dari-speaking ESS, I know the cultural and language barriers my client may face starting the Welfare to Work program. I recognize that many of my clients come from different backgrounds and may not be familiar with the concept of welfare or job training programs. As such, I take the time to explain the program, ensuring that my clients understand why it exists and what they need to do to participate. One of the challenges I face is explaining the concept of welfare, which does not exist in Afghanistan. I break down the program’s purpose, explaining that it is designed to help individuals experiencing financial hardship obtain job training and employment assistance. I emphasize that the program is designed to support individuals in their efforts to become self-sufficient and independent. One of the programs we have at Yolo County is called Yolo Career Training. As an immigrant myself, I believe this program is very beneficial for our non-English speaking clients. It helps those English as second language learners overcome the cultural and language barriers that make it challenging to find and keep employment in the United States. Through this program, participants learn about American workplace culture and etiquette, as well as employers’ expectations and requirements. They also have the opportunity to practice their communication and interpersonal skills in a supportive and structured environment. As a result, they are better prepared to navigate the job market and succeed in their chosen careers.

    1. veronica.gonzalez says:

      Tannaz, your clients, especially the Afghanistan community is properly being served thanks to your ability to communicate with them. So much gets lost in translation. For immigrants coming to our country and accessing services foreign to them, must be intimidating and overwhelming. You’re able to explain to them, in their native language the many opportunities and advantages afforded to them. Because of your ability to dialogue, and your knowledge of their customs and culture, you’re developing a successful rapport many of us wouldn’t be able to achieve with this community.

      1. Eileen.whitfield says:

        I think you are both providing a tremendous amount of assistance to the Farsi and Spanish-speaking communities. While we are fortunate that the County provides translation services through an outside contractor, I feel that having native speakers, like both of you, is an even more valuable resource. Having the ability to relate to someone not only in their native language, but having an understanding of their culture brings so much value to the services that our program provides. This level of connection is vital for our participants success because they know that they can communicate their needs to someone directly who understands them. Further, you have the ability to advocate for these groups within our programs because of your proficiency in both the languages and the cultures. In order for us to effectively wrap our services around our participants, it is crucial that we have both a value for and understanding of our participants and their respective cultures. This is another excellent example of how Yolo County accepts and embraces everyone in our community. And, with this level of partnership, we are able to move forward with our participants in efforts to help them reach their career goals.

  6. mmijon says:

    Career advising…one must have a very diverse tool box. I have worked w/ Youth w/ and w/o HS diplomas or GEDs, Veterans w/ and w/o Honorable discharges, justice involved, seniors, disabled and disheartened individuals as most if not all come through our doors unemployed, and uneducated for the current employment needs of the Brevard County, Florida industries (Aerospace, Healthcare, Computer Science, Manufacturing, Construction). Currently I am working w/ Youth enrolled in Next Gen (16-24) most are in the Brevard Public School Adult Education GED program located in our office. We are targeting successful acquisition of GEDs as most if not all employers want that as a minimum education achievement for employment. CareerSource Brevard (CSB) also has Internship opportunities through a partnership w/ SalesForce ( AARP has connected w/ Salesforce/CSB for seniors). One of my clients is interning remotely for Hamilton University and another w/ Banner School , using their Salesforce Administration training.
    I currently have two clients working w/ Lockheed Martin ASRC as OJT Spacecraft Technicians. One of them is an 11 year U.S. Navy submariner whose training/skills were extremely transferable to the aerospace industry.
    Each of these groups of individuals now have new opportunities for successful careers.

    1. Ivanna.her says:

      After reading your post, it sounds like the work you do and the resources you provide are great tools in helping your specific clients. I think that it is wonderful that you have these resources and programs that have allowed these individuals to grow and start new endeavors that will help them in life. The training that you are able to provide them is helping them become better professionals and also allow them to explore different opportunities, which is great.

  7. kenn.valenzuela says:

    Since I started working for Social Services, I’ve realized how culturally diverse our community is now than maybe 15 years ago. I include myself as part of this ever-increasing and evolving make-up of our community as a first-generation immigrant. My own experience serves me well in recognizing the need to adapt our systems and methodologies if we aspire to meet our goals. One example that comes to mind is how to serve our aging community-members. While the use of technology has become mainstream such as the Call Center model in delivering social services, this could be a barrier for our seniors in obtaining and maintaining the quality of services they deserve. When the pandemic started, telecommuting has become the norm and continues to date. And that means less staff are now working on-site. A large majority of our seniors would prefer to “talk to a person in person”. This resource also serves our diverse immigrant groups who would rather come in person hoping to bridge the language barriers they face. So, to accommodate this need, we have formed a resource team of staff for them which we call Queue Monitors. They are tasked with assisting clients, including our seniors who prefer to walk in our offices instead of using the Call Center. Aside from this, we have made referrals for our seniors to the Yolo County Healthy Aging Alliance which offers a wide variety of services dedicated to them.

    1. creid says:

      The Queue Monitors is a fantastic idea for language barriers. I see that you offer a variety of services and know first hand the senior community is a challenge. Some of the folks that I work with are nearing retirement, are not computer savvy, and would rather talk in person. Adaptation is a difficult challenge for the senior community who is not smartphone or computer-enabled. I can only imagine what our immigrants face in their challenges. The ability to share your experiences as a first-generation immigrant is probably very soothing to your clients. I know that if I was in their shoes, I’d want your knowledge and thoughtfulness in my corner during a life-changing time.

  8. veronica.gonzalez says:

    Working in social services, we are afforded an opportunity to work with a diverse multicultural population. In this capacity, we’re able to identify barriers affecting our clients such as unemployment, underemployment, financial instability, criminal background, mental health, lack of education and housing. However, not every ethnic group is open to discussing their trials or tribulations, let alone be open to therapy or simply discussing challenges or goals to government employees.
    As staff members we need to continue working diligently to gain trust. To respect the cultural differences and set aside any bias we may have. Being able to dialogue with a client in their native language is key to establishing trust. However, the simple, honest effort in making an attempt to communicate, or understand their challenges goes along way.
    Compared to the past, it seems there is more diversity because of groups such as LGBTQIA and an increase in immigration to the US from more countries. Because of these groups, we gain new knowledge and exposure to customs, beliefs and traditions. Ultimately, treating our clients with honesty, respect and acceptance will result in a positive outcome for the client with long term effects.

    1. darlene.reyes says:

      People who work in social services have my respect. I feel like we get a variety of people that come into the library looking for various resources. We tend to listen and refer them to experts who can help them. But it’s tough. It feels like we usually get things started by giving them access to information and resources that can help them but those who provide the services go deeper– having to establish a more intimate relationship to truly give them the help they need.

  9. Ivanna.her says:

    I am new to the Employment Center at Yolo County. In the month that I have been here, I have met many different clients from different backgrounds. We provide many resources but mainly employment resources. We use resume building websites and administer typing tests if needed along with other resources. I’ve met clients who have little to no experience with resume building and I’ve met clients who have very extensive resumes. Depending on the clients’ experiences and needs, I have helped clients start new resumes and review old ones. I provide help based on where my client is at, in terms of resume building. I have met with clients who have never created a resume before and have reviewed very detailed ones. In both situations, different resources and tools were used to help the clients complete a resume that reflects their professional experience.

    1. martha.hurtado says:

      Welcome Ivanna! The employment center is such a valuable resource to the community. I’m glad it is able to serve a variety of clients to get them going, I have had multiple clients that are grateful for how welcoming everyone is.

    2. tdonahue says:

      Assisting individual to a complete resume is very important to all populations which is sometimes challenging. We also use several resources like resume builder. There are a lot of free resources online to help you help your customers. I have had to do the same with assisting with pre-paring a resume with no work history or someone who wants 20 years’ experience to be listed and 5 pages long.

  10. Eileen.whitfield says:

    I work for Yolo County Health & Human Services Agency as an Employment Services Specialist. In my current role, I am a case manager in the CalWORKs Employment Services program (CWES). This position affords me the opportunity to work with people from diverse backgrounds and cultures, including refugees. CalWORKs is both federally and state-funded; the State Funds come from CalWORKs (California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids) and the federal funding is from Welfare-to-work (welfare). These two programs are combined to provide a wide array of services to people. All of our participants are required to not exceed an income ceiling (based on the number of dependent minors in the household) and they must be Yolo County residents. As far as backgrounds, we work with virtually every type of person you can think of, from all over the world. We do not discriminate against any group or type of person; any family who resides in Yolo County and doesn’t exceed the income ceiling are allowed to participate in our programs. With that in mind, our participants bring an array of barriers that are as diverse as they are.
    In CWES, we work with unemployed, underemployed, justice involved, lack of education, domestic violence victims and survivors, unhoused families, families suffering from physical and/or mental disabilities, families who don’t speak or have little ability to speak English, and members of the LGBTQIA community, to name a few. Because of this diversity, as a case manager, the one thing that I rely on more than anything is my ability to get along with others. I have a tremendous amount of respect for other people and work I diligently to provide a safe and comfortable environment for my participants. I do everything I can to make them feel heard, respected, and supported when we work together, and I remind them that I am there to help them on their career path; not to dictate the path to them.
    Regarding connecting participants to resources, it is up to us as case managers to discuss the barriers that our participants are facing and strategize with them on how they want to overcome them. In Yolo County, we have a housing-first model, meaning that we will work with a family to secure them stable housing before we require them to participate in our (regular) CWES program. This is a very effective model because it shows that the program/our County understands that people’s basic needs must be met before they are able to get on their feet.
    Once housing is considered stable, we offer a wide array of resources within CWES. For example, participants with little or no English skills, are referred to an ESL school which is free to them, and they are allowed to count their school hours as hours of program participation (to maintain their aid through the program). If a participant is underemployed, we can assist them in job readiness activities like Yolo Career Training, resume writing, and interviewing skills. At Yolo County, we strive to serve our community not only with trauma-informed practices, but also to meet people where they are and to help them continue on their own path.

    1. bryan.wenk says:

      I appreciate your emphasis on respect toward clients. I believe showing clients that you respect them and care about their success is foundational to building a positive and productive relationship with them. In my experience, when a client sees that you recognize them as an individual and believe in their ability to succeed it causes them to be more motivated and can have a big impact on their outcomes.

    2. kateryna.shust says:

      Hi, Eileen! I had a nice time reading your post and feeling myself a part of your idea. I love how we, as a case managers, can share our experiences of working with various populations groups and apply each other’s techniques and approaches to make our services more helpful and support our people,

  11. rodrigo.lopez says:

    I am the Agricultural Labor Coordinator for Yolo County and I work with farmworkers who most are English Language Learners. The background of many of the farmworkers are Latinos and Indigenous and their ages vary from 18 – 65+ with different statuses. Many of the farmworkers live in the area but we also have migrant workers who work during the season and move back to their country or migrate to the next city to work in agriculture. During the winter, many farmworkers are laid off because the season-ending or rain can also affect their work. We have an employment center where we connect them to other job opportunities or unemployment benefits for those who qualify. Our goal is to meet them where they are at and connect them to resources that best fit their goals.

    1. alopez-perez says:

      I am glad there are others who help the Hispanic immigrant community in need. It is true that many farm workers have to move due to their work being disrupted by the season, which affects their financial stability. The families get their lives uprooted, and it is hard to start over. The employment center that helps unemployed immigrants would assist them in preventing moving so often, which could be extremely beneficial to them. Great response!

    2. jessica.gomez says:

      Rodrigo, I previously worked assisting the farmworker community and I found that many times it is hard for them to find the resources they need because they do not know where to look or how to look for them which at times was due to the language barrier or their cultural beliefs. You helping them out at the County level is of great benefit to them. Especially to break the stigma and let them know that it is ok to approach the county for assistance.

    3. gugan.beasla says:

      Hi Rodrigo!
      Though I haven’t worked within a program that assist farmworkers in particular, I did grow up in a agricultural county where I did volunteer work through my high school to offer assistance to farm workers in my area. I am from Sonoma County, so a large portion of our ethnic population works within the wine industry, so participating in these events allowed for me to engage with farmworkers in the county. More recently, I volunteered for a tree drive during the holidays that provided farmworkers with Christmas trees, ornaments, food, and lights. I bring this up because when working with this population it is apparent that they are unaware of resources that they have access to and this is largely due to the language-barrier that most of them have. With that said, the work you do is great! Having a coordinator who is bilingual is extremely beneficial when working with this population as this barrier has resulted in unused services for most.

  12. alopez-perez says:

    Working as a person in Social Services, I have gotten to meet many different people from all walks of life. I have mainly worked with immigrants, ex convicts, and homeless people. No matter what, I do not let anyone’s background get in the way of me giving them the help they need. For example, I worked with a Mexican immigrant who had trouble with English which prevented him from passing the WORKKEYS assessment. I referred him to the Lodi School for Adults so he could work on improving his English. He planned on returning after attending school so he could become a truck driver. Being a low income person as well, I also referred him to a program in California Human Development called USDA, that was for farm workers that were affected by COVID-19, and I gave him information about the food distribution at our center. CHD could gave him supportive services, which includes rent money, money for gas, and money for food, and WorkNet, the agency that I work for, would pay for his truck driving training. Many immigrants struggle with these things, and it reminded me of my own struggles as an immigrant. I was able to identify with them, and I saw these clients as a part of my community. It was easy for me to understand their needs, and it made helping them that much more important.

    1. rodrigo.lopez says:

      Completely agree with your statement. I believe that many have a misconception of the services we can provide specially our immigrant population. Understanding the community is a great asset and knowing the resoures around you that can also suppliment for things that we cannot provide through the couty. Great job!

  13. darlene.reyes says:

    I am a public librarian. I work with many different groups, since people of all ages, backgrounds and experiences need the library and our programs or resources at some point. Given the community where I work, I’d say the 2 major groups that I work with most often are Spanish-speaking immigrants and seniors. I agree that for each group I change up the degree to which I use each helping skill depending on what they need. Spanish-speaking immigrants are usually after information and their lack of English-speaking skills is often a barrier to accessing and understanding information. So, I’ve helped with a range of services like helping access government forms or applications (for citizenship, MVA documents, unemployment, tax forms, etc.) and also translating where I can. We’re usually discouraged from helping customers fill out forms since it’s personal information and we’re not experts. But, Spanish-speaking customers are usually just grateful for help in accessing the information online, since they possess varying degrees of tech savviness. Since Spanish-speaking customers come in with their families, I’ve also helped kids format and print their assignments. I am also one of the 2 librarians that does bilingual storytime for parents or guardians that want their kids to get an early start on their English literacy skills and while hopefully retaining their Spanish. When performing outreach for the library, I let Spanish-speaking customers know about our free resources and programs and they’re often amazed at everything that can be found at the library since public libraries aren’t the same or as widely accessible in their native countries. I also help with book recommendations and I’m a facilitator for our English Conversation Club, where English language learners can practice their English with others who are also learning the language. Key resources I direct them to are Mango Languages and Community College classes for English learning, BrainFuse (for homework help for their kids) and various library programs that might suit their needs (storytime, English Conversation Club, etc).

    I also work with our senior population a lot. There is a senior center nearby and we get a lot of senior customers wanting help with technology and placing books on hold. They’re usually the ones to make one-on-one appointments with us to get some guided assistance with learning how to use a computer. We’ll usually cover the basics like how to use email, how to access a website, how to use Microsoft Word and how to improve their typing skills. I’ve also started to create more programs catered to seniors like movie discussions (earlier in the day) and a knitting club. Key resources that I direct them to are Northstar Digital (to assess their tech skills) and have them create one-on-one appointments with librarians so they can get direct assistance at a time that works for them (while we’re open).

  14. rssmith5157 says:

    Hello-I work for Metropolitan Community College in our Community Workforce and Education Division as the Coordinator of Integrated Education and Training. We work with a wide variety of adult students from a wide variety of backgrounds. The population in which we serve, are adult’s learners who identify as low income, high barriers to employment, who are underemployed, or unemployed. -These adult learners are mostly African American, and Hispanic. These students often times are recipients of state benefits, therefore are either referred to us by our local unemployment office-Career One Stop, or they are enrolled in a credit course, that is related to one of our career services programs that we offer. Specifically for these individuals we connect them with a Career Skills Coach, that will meet with them and discuss their potential career pathway with them. We provide resume writing, interviewing skills, job search strategies, to career training programs that lead to industry recognized credential attainment.

  15. kbarrett says:

    I work in what many know as a One-Stop Center. We offer a full array of employment services and programs such as recruiting events and job fairs, resume writing workshops, mock interviews, and programs such as NexGen (young adults) SNAP E&T (Food Stamps) and Welfare Transition.

    I am a Welfare Transition & SNAP E&T Career Advisor. In my role as a Welfare Transitional & SNAP Career Advisor, I have seen an increase in my caseload of young single mothers that have justice involved backgrounds.

    One of the key resources I use with them is the RISE program and its workshops. This program
    is designed to help customers with justice involved issues. In the workshops They learn skills
    such as how to address their background to an employer, resume writing, mock interviews and
    self-marketing tips. Another resource is the WOTC (Work Opportunity Tax Credit, the Federal Bonding Program and OJT’s (on the job training).

  16. martha.hurtado says:

    I am an Intensive Case Manager with Yolo County HHSA. We provide Welfare to Work services to Calworks participants who are simultaneously on any combination of the following programs: Linkages (serves families with child welfare involvement), Cal-Learn (serves teenage parents w/o HSD), Family Stabilization (serves families in crisis) and Housing Support Program (serves homeless families). Serving the family through WTW as well as the programs listed.

    The common factor to all families on my caseload are their household’s eligibility to Calworks. Key resources provided to my caseload primarily include referrals to mental health services, DV services. substance use services/treatment and workshop trainings. The majority of my families are not particularly ready to start employment, the referrals are used to assist in mitigating the crisis they are experiencing prior to or while engaging in employment services.

    1. edwin.ortegabeltran says:

      Having a strong partnership with local health providers is key to helping the youth and adults in our communities. The referral process that you mentioned is something that we are currently exploring and implementing at our County Office of Education. As you mentioned about your clients, first seeking crisis mitigation assistance before or while seeking employment is what many of our youth are doing. Many of the crises our youth experience has been exacerbated by the pandemic.

  17. bryan.wenk says:

    The major groups of people with whom I work are unhoused people from the local population and Russian-speaking people from Ukraine. The unhoused clients usually come to the employment center to use a computer with internet access, charge their phone and just to spend some time in a safe, comfortable place. Unhoused people also often borrow headphones or are given flash drives and sometimes need copies of their documents such as birth certificates or social security cards. Russian-speaking clients often need translation services, we meet this need with translations from Russian-speaking staff members when possible but when they are not available, we use other resources such as the Language Line or the verbal function on Google Translate. Some older adults also require assistance using the computers and navigating websites.

  18. diana.rocha-torres says:

    One of the Major groups I work with is Yolo County Homeless Families. They are usually going through a lot and are in crisis mode all the time. Sometimes they are homeless due to evictions, Domestic Violence or they got kicked out if they were couch surfing. What ever the reason is that caused their homeless situation we help them. We work with them to restore their credit and find a job so they can get back in their feet and have a stable home. The Homeless population is very vulnerable, and I practice a lot of active listening so I can identify what their barriers are and then focus on solutions and guide them towards the solution. We get Homeless families from all different populations, ethnics, and cultures

    1. thomas.kalish says:

      Being a good listener is a great skill to have when working with people in crisis.

    2. rosa.zamorano says:

      I agree that being an active listener is important and a great skill to have to successfully identify our client’s needs.

  19. says:

    I work as a Career Advisor at CareerSource Brevard in Florida. The population we service is very diverse just as Joan, Michael and Kirsten mentioned. CareerSource has specialized programs such as AARP for those 50+, Next Gen for those 17-24, RISE- Re-entry to Employment for those with Justice Involvement. I have worked with refugees from Iran and a customer from Vietnam using an online translator to communicate I was able to assist them in navigating the Welfare Transition Program and obtaining employment.

    Working with those that have backgrounds (justice involvement) is very common. Being non-judgmental and forming no biases is crucial. Being able to provide factual information requires educating oneself on resources, criminal terminology, even how to look up State Statutes. Speaking with training providers to identify charges that may eliminate one from being hirable. The important thing is not to just dismiss the customer, but see them for where they are now, the changes they have made and guide them to a career path leading to self-sufficiency.
    I worked with an individual that had an extensive criminal record and served time in prison. He came to CareerSource to request funding for CDL Training. This person wanted to turn his life around by starting a career in truck driving. After speaking with training providers and employers I learned it was possible for him to start this journey since he was 6 years post-conviction. Today this Customer is an owner operator of his own Trucking Company, Author and Song Writer and a Motivational Speaker focusing on keeping youth out of the prison system.

    1. ehernandez says:

      I work with a similar population and agree that being non-judgmental is crucial in building good rapport with your clients. Being a fountain is also really important as you mentioned in your post. I am not originally from the county where I currently work and have realized how important it is to be familiar with the different resources in your county. I have made it a point to do research online and introduce myself to the different agencies that could be used a resource by the population that I serve to make sure I am giving accurate information to our clients. Also, the story of the person that you served is truly motivational and makes me really happy to learn about their success!

  20. thomas.kalish says:

    Working for Yolo County Health & Human Services Agency for as long as I have and in as many roles as I have had over the years I have realized that we encounter people from every background and walk of life. The largest population I deal with in my current role as a Program Supervisor with the Welfare-to-Work program and General Assistance/General Relief Program are those who are in crisis and experiencing homelessness or living with some kind of impairment. I don’t have one specific resource that I offer the people I interact with other than the lending of my ears and my time. I make a conscious effort to allow them to speak and be heard before I respond. I never rush them when interacting with them because everything they have to tell me is important to them and therefore me as well. Even when the conversation is not on the topic we are there to discuss it is important that I am in that moment with them because it does help them feel heard and respected. Until the person I am working with has taken care of their crisis it is very difficult for them to look ahead to even short-term goals.

    As with others working in Social Services, we see people from every socio-economic group and background. We do learn how to tailor our approach with everyone because most of the time we don’t know the background of the individuals we interact with until we have spent the time working with them and getting to know them. It is important for us to be aware of our own bias prior to meeting with individuals. The first meeting is very important to get to know those we are working with because it helps build the foundation of trust that allows us to work on over coming barriers and assisting people in achieving their goals.

  21. Jayne says:

    Most of our youth are from poverty and are first-generation immigrants. The major groups we represent are “opportunity youth” – out-of-school youth between 15-25, high school youth before graduation without a plan, and college-age youth at Adult Education and community college who have not successfully gained employment. They include dropouts, the homeless, young single mothers, those with physical and learning disabilities, social and emotional anxiety, and depression (lack of self-confidence).

    Maslow’s resources would be recognizing the human need for food, sleep, safety, love, and purpose. We include mentors for relationships and community through volunteer mentors who meet with youth after school, in the evenings, and on weekends for social interactions and training. Another critical resource would be Hansens’ Integrative Life Planning Model. This plan is an excellent tool to enhance their identity and value within their community and world.

    In response to rosa.oceguerasays:
    February 28, 2023 at 2:57 pm

    It’s important to respect different cultures for who they are. When people know that you respect them and are interested in their world, they are less likely to be standoff and more willing to trust. Still, I would encourage you to be more curious and ask questions to learn to appreciate our differences and their culture. By doing this, you will see their strengths and how they can line up with our weaknesses – how we can help each other and everyone benefits.

  22. ehernandez says:

    As a youth career advisor I work with “opportunity youth” who are out of school and have encountered at least one “barrier to employment”. Some of these barriers to employment include dropping out of school, out home placement, homelessness, low-income, and learning/physical disabilities among others. The agency maintains updated contacts with the different resources available to this population in the county, for example, youth homeless shelters, access to food pantries, bilingual services and counseling among others. I also work closely with the Department of Rehab so clients who are facing a learning or physical disability can take advantage of any additional services they may be eligible for. Above all we provide respect to everyone coming into our career center and always try to make sure they are leaving with a new resource that they did not have or know about before coming into our center. Meeting the client where they are at without being judgmental also helps in building a good rapport and understand the client’s needs.

  23. tdonahue says:

    I am currently working as a Career Advisor at CareerSource Brevard in Florida. I have been working here for 14 years. I primarily work with the Temporary cash assistance program. With this population there is a wide variety of unique barriers. Main barriers include individual who have little to no work history, lack of required education, justice involve issues, childcare, and language.
    I have worked with a variety of justice involved issues involving everything from minor infractions to felony (murder). The key with this population for me is to be nonjudgmental and unbiased with every person I engage with. I continue to educate myself with the newest resources available for this population.
    We also offer programs for justice involved cases in Brevard County (Rise program).
    Language is often another barrier that I am face with working in the welfare transition program. I have overcome this barrier by utilizing google translate to communicate with my customers.
    Lack of childcare is another major barrier that I encounter on a regular basis. We partner with Early Learning coalition to assist with the childcare barrier.
    Working with adults that do not have a work history or high school diploma is challenging. In my role I assist these individuals in how to obtain their high school/GED (resources adult education). Provide CWEP training to obtain work history.

  24. gugan.beasla says:

    I work on the Business Engagement Team at Yolo County. With that said, I work with businesses in the West Sacramento, Davis, and Clarksburg areas and meet with business owners to gauge their needs in relation to free services such as job listing assistance, recruitment event planning, subsidized employment, rapid responses and/or lay off aversion services. Business owners in the area range in demographics and socio-economic standing, the group is rather diverse in all aspects. Many are hesitant to work with or receive assistance from the county, which is a road block that I often run into in the West Sacramento area. Resources that I use with this group are sample job listing flyers, examples of successful recruitment events, and sample contracts for the subsidized employment program–by having these resources to show, they are able to see the output and quality of the services we offer, along with other employers who take advantage of the free services. Alternatively, I also work within the subsidized employment program where my clients are CalWORKs participants. I receive referrals from Case Managers for the subsidized employment program and then work with the participants on getting them placed with an employer that Yolo County is contracted with. The group that I work with in the program are individuals who are CalWORKS participants, who have families and are ready for work, but are currently unemployed due to barriers. Barriers can range from childcare to lack of transportation. Considering this, the resources that I provide my subsidized employment participants is access to employment through the subsidized employment program, resume and mock interview assistance, and overall assistance to reintegrate into the workforce.

  25. yrazojara says:

    I work as an Employment Training Specialist for the Employment and Economic Development Department in San Joaquin County, California. We deal with clients who come from all backgrounds and many have a wide range of barriers to employment. At my current office location I service a lot of clients who have limited English. The clients come in looking for vocational training opportunities however, due to the language barrier we can’t place them in a training program because for the most part the trainings are almost always only offered in English. Although some clients can understand enough to communicate, its not in their best interest for us to put them in a training program that doesn’t offer assistance for English language learners or clients who have English as a second language.
    Luckily, I work in an adult school campus that offers ESL classes at little to no cost. I have found that referring my clients to the ESL classes is far more beneficial to the client because they have a chance to learn English in a classroom setting that prepares them for the classes they will take in the future when we enroll them to a vocational training program. These ESL classes also help the client feel more confident with communicating in English and learning the material in their training course.

  26. edwin.ortegabeltran says:

    In my role as a program specialist at the County Office of Education, I work with youth (ages 15-18) of diverse backgrounds. Most of our youth self-identify as people of color, with working-class backgrounds. Many of them are the first of their families to finish high school or will be the first in their families to attend college/university. They have also shared experiencing mental health challenges as well as experiencing physical disabilities. Additionally, many of the youth we work with are justice-involved and are experiencing homelessness.
    Much of our approach is holistic in nature given the many challenges our youth face. We start by working with them in finding tutoring support or additional academic support to stay on track and graduate from high school. We help with identifying and nurturing their skills to find employment, which includes helping with resume building or mock interviews to include internship placements and work-based learning opportunities. For youth who are interested in attending college, we help with applying to college, applying for financial aid, and connecting them to student services at the college of their choice. We have partnered with one of our local clinics to provide health and mental health services to youth in our programs.
    A big push in our services is to be respectful and approach our services with professionalism and empathy. Rather than telling our youth what they “should” be doing, we empower the youth to elevate their voice and have them dictate what they seek to accomplish, whether it is academically, socially, or economically.

  27. kateryna.shust says:

    I am a case manager for Welfare-to-Work program here in Yolo County. The program itself covers various population groups with different origins and backgrounds, however 99% of my clients are Ukrainians and Russians who recently came over to United States. Despite the fact that most of them had normal flow of life, not struggling with homelessness and other employment barriers, political situation made them leave their counties that let them to being vulnerable, needy and culturally lost. Besides that, they are not familiar with welfare systems at all so simple explanation of how thing work here with breakdown and interconnectedness of programs and services available is a great and effective instrument to start with. Once picture becomes clear, my clients are open to accept and understand their own needs and select a solution that will help in their particular situation. Having an opportunity to present information in a verbal informal form in a native language is extremely significant foundation of self-sufficiency plan and career success. It is also a perfect condition to build a relationship and gain trust and cooperation with the people I work with. With the huge availability of online information, media and technology resources I believe that human input and commitment in assisting those who is challenged is the most effective instrument and resource to start the progress, And simple concepts like acceptance, respect, involvement and sympathy can do more than we can expect.

  28. jessica.gomez says:

    I currently work for Yolo County’s WIOA program and previously worked for their eligibility programs (Med-Cal and CalFresh). The people I encounter have been the same, reflective of Yolo County’s diverse community which ranges from the county’s natives, Middle Easterners, and Hispanics to refugees. It is often I encounter participants with a language barrier or at times one with a new cultural background. It can be difficult at first as I try to be as respectful as I possibly can to assist them. For this reason, I use the county’s resources and our agency’s resources, for example, the language line or colleagues who speak their language to communicate with them. I try to make adequate referrals based on their needs and provide information to community resources like ESL classes. I also try to offer in-person assistance to those clients who aren’t tech-savvy and offer to assist with completing forms in person versus electronically and provide one-on-one training on how to complete them electronically. I also invite clients to visit our Employment Centers where they can obtain assistance with resumes or any other in-person job search assistance.

  29. rosa.zamorano says:

    I work for Yolo County HHSA as an Employment Service Specialist providing Welfare to Work programs services to CalWORKS program eligible participants. I work primarily as a case manager serving individuals from diverse backgrounds who need assistance with becoming employable and or achieve self-sufficiency. The Welfare to Work participants have barriers to employment such as language, mental health, justice involvement, domestic violence involvement, lack of transportation, and lack of education.
    To help participants overcome their barriers to employment, as a case manager the key resources used are referrals to community partners for services such as mental health, education, and ESL classes. Also, internal referrals for housing assistance, career training workshops, WIOA, and assessments.

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