Career Services to Multicultural Populations Forum – Sept2023

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.

89 thoughts on “Career Services to Multicultural Populations Forum – Sept2023”

  1. wpeluso says:

    Within our work, we oftentimes work with marginalized groups of individuals due to the fact that oftentimes marginalized groups also experience barriers to employment or success. Additionally, these coincide with individuals socioeconomic status, housing status, employment status, etc. I’m very fortunate in this job to work with many different types of individuals, and I really enjoy how diverse the groups of individuals we work with are. Due to this diversity, we utilize a lot of different resources for these groups. Specifically, we connect clients to internal resources such as OVR to help them with securing employment with their specific disability.

    Also, I ensure that all services I provide are culturally competent and relevant to these individuals. I really enjoyed in the chapter about how it talked about implicit bias, and how we all should recognize how our own multicultural competence comes out in our career development sessions with clients.

    1. bev says:

      I also recognize how important our own multicultural competence is expressed in career development client meetings. It is important to self-reflect and recognize any bias we may have to be able to improve ourselves.

      1. mstover says:

        Bev, I agree it is important our own multicultural competence is expressed while meeting with our participants. Self-reflection and recognizing any bias we may have to be able to improve ourselves in order to come across genuine.

    2. edougherty says:

      Yes, Willow, I agree! There’s also a newer term that I’ve heard called “cultural humility”. Its intent is similar to “cultural competence”, except “cultural humility” is used to recognize that we can never fully know everything there is to know about all backgrounds and cultures. Instead, we can acknowledge our lack of understanding and use it to create an attitude of continual learning. It also encourages individuals to be curious, ask questions, and take cues from individuals with first-hand experience!

      1. rpaull says:

        Love this term “cultural humility”. It is so important to understand that we will never know all their is to know about every culture or history. I enjoy asking questions and learning about all my student’s experiences.

      2. speterson says:

        “Cultural humility”. What an incredible concept! Where I live we are far from culturaly diverse. I like to think of myself as open minded and accepting to all. The truth is though, I’m not exposed to enough diveristy to properly understand my differences from other groups. I’m excited to know that there is a term for the curiosity I have when meeting new people. Thanks for sharing.

      3. mhernandez says:

        I’ve also heard of “cultural humility”! I like how it gives space in accepting that we can never fully know everything about all cultures and backgrounds, but we can still empathize with people and encourage ourselves to continue learning. Being culturally responsive is also important, which adds to the learning that was done while being culturally humble.

  2. slance says:

    As a career Navigator, I have worked also with diverse populations. The re-entry clients have more barriers than the other groups in terms of finding housing, preparing for the workforce, and transportation. The CareerLinks are fortunate to have many partners that work alongside the Career Navigators to help with these barriers.

    1. pbaldwin says:

      I agree wholeheartedly about the many barriers that we learn about with the re-entry clients. I have personally learned so much from the dynamic team of colleagues who passionately serve them and am grateful for their dedication to think outside the box all the time.

    2. papisth says:

      I agree. I have a re-entry client that I am having problems finding employment but we are trying to work through it as much as possible.

  3. slance says:

    In my job as a Career Navigator, I have worked with such a diverse, multicultural clientele. I have worked with migrant workers in Adams County, a Welfare to work program in York County, a reentry program in Dauphin County and the WIOA program in Lancaster County. I have worked with immigrants, LGBTQ community, Reentry, Spanish speaking, African American and so many more! One of the populations that I feel I really had a heart for was the reentry population.

    I have had the opportunity to help in the startup of the reentry program in our CareerLink County. The number of reentry individuals we were receiving from the local halfway houses made the need for a grant to hire more staff to work with this population. In my work with the reentry population, I found in most circumstances, the reentry clients had resources at their disposal within the criminal justice system as well as the CareerLink and local agencies. These resources/services were needed to help with many barriers the reentry client had to overcome to obtain employment. Providing help with documents, Ged classes, training, workshops on resume and job search, mental health referrals, housing and transportation referrals are just a few of the services offered through the local CareerLink. Providing the pathways to these services helped reentry clients by removing some of their barriers to employment. The success of the reentry program participant starts with an initial first meeting that discussed expectations, rules of the CareerLink, barriers discussions, referrals, plans, goals, etc. This initial meeting is very important to initiate a rapport with the reentry client and to help feel safe.

    1. wpeluso says:

      Hey Susan! Great job with this post, it seems like you have some great experience! I really loved how you mentioned about the reentry program that you helped start up! You’re extremely right, it’s important for us to help assist with those resources to help assist with barriers to employment! Rapport building is important, as well. Great case managers build great rapport. Good job with the post!

    2. rgoshorn says:

      I always appreciate hearing how others work with the reentry population. While justice involved youth and adults have their differences, there are some overlapping needs. Like you, we work with clients to address a multitude of barriers to employment. Providing assistance with obtaining vital documents is a high priority for us. Education and training are critical. I am so glad that there are local resources to assist with housing, transportation and other needs since it is sometimes difficult to get a clear picture of both the needs and the resources from a distance.

    3. mshore says:

      Given the large span of individuals, their diversity and backgrounds you have had a breadth and depth of valuable experiences. By taking such a sincere approach to understanding everyone’s background to better understand their needs and what you can do for them, you have obviously had a positive impact on many lives. Similarly, that has resulted in filling vacancies at many companies, thereby solving workforce development issues on both sides of the equation.

    4. dlares says:

      I love to hear others’ experience with re-entry programs and what they feel is important in the experience. As someone who wants to get more involved in this area, I appreciate that you listed out some of things that will come into play when helping this group of people.

    5. kamariaa says:

      working with refugees and immigrant is dealing with people who are under extreme emotional stress. Even so, learning about how to provide trauma-informed care is extremely important for professionals working with these populations. These types of training can provide information about how to deal with mental health crises, how to respond when someone breaks down emotionally, and how to act sensitively towards clients without tiptoeing around them. Refugees have been through a lot, and some of them tend to panic when things start to go wrong. Keeping calm and talking to them through situations to show them that they are not really in crisis is a useful skill. And keeping calm during an actual crisis is also really important to help clients feel some level of control. Even if you don’t know a client’s story, acting with care and sensitivity and providing structure through meetings will be a key piece in helping them succeed. Refugees need an environment that allows them to be vulnerable while still nudging them forward as they begin to build their lives in America. Trauma-informed care can help professionals working with refugees understand the best ways to interact with them and how to motivate them to move forward with their lives.

  4. bev says:

    The Literacy Council of Reading-Berks provides ESL and citizenship classes to non-native English-speaking immigrants and refugees from many countries. A large portion of our ESL students are from Hispanic communities. Our program provides GED and one-on-one tutoring for native students seeking to improve their educational level. Many of our students come from low-income situations.
    In my role as a support specialist, I provide housing, food, and transportation assistance often. For students seeking employment, I offer job search, resume assistance, and CareerLink referrals. I also help students find training schools or post-secondary educational institutions in their career area and offer help with applications, FAFSA, etc.

    1. ecamargo-ground says:

      Bev, I think, ESL is such a great and very important resource for immigrants to assist them in their goals. Some immigrants got bachelor’s degrees in their own countries, but they feel lost w/o speaking English. Many times, they need to work entry level jobs due to the language barrier.

  5. nmiller says:

    As a Career Counselor, I work with mainly senior students who mostly come from low socioeconomic backgrounds and are occasionally immigrants or refugees. Many of these students are faced with the task of being the first in their family to go on to college or maybe even to graduate high school, to help them along the way I offer assistance with resume creation, college and job applications, FASFAs and other such things to help them prepare for their future as much as possible. I also link the students with our Out of School Youth program if they are a drop out or need further assistance once they have graduated.

    1. jmartinez-guzman says:

      Yes, Eunice I agree. I have also worked in my years of being a career navigator in different programs with many diverse populations. Being able to communicate to clients in their first language assist in creating that rapport and they begin to trust you and thev are more open to communicate more which gives us insight on how to better assist.

  6. ecamargo-ground says:

    Working with the TANF programs from the County Assistance Office gave me the opportunity to meet people from different backgrounds and nationalities. Some of the nationalities came from immigrants getting assistance when having or waiting for a working permit to start work in this country. The company has recognized the importance of having personal speaking different languages to assist our clients with translation, according on their language. In our office we have staff speaking several languages, among them are; English, Spanish, German, Thai, Swahili, Sign Language and other in different offices that we may contact them to assist clients. Been a bilingual myself, it has been an important experience when I noticed that talking to clients on their own language I gain they trust, which open doors to be able to assist them.

    1. adel.dalou says:

      that is great to hear. I am the refuge and immigrant navigator associate in my county. it always pleases me to know that there are services out there to support the need of immigrants.

    2. aresto says:

      I think that it is great that you are bilingual. I am sure that is really beneficial with working with the people that you work with and being able to gain their trust. In my current role, we have participants that come into CareerLink where Spanish is their first language and it can make it challenging to communicate with them and figure out their current needs.

    3. reisingers says:

      Being bilingual is such an assest! Our office is currently trying to hire bilingual staff in hopes that we can expand our outreach to better help the community.

  7. adel.dalou says:

    I work with adult refugees and asylees and immigrants. A refugee is someone who was forced out of their homeland due to war and violence. An asylee is someone who fled their country due to war, violence, or persecution. An immigrant is someone who made the choice to leave their homeland for a better life. Lately, we have been receiving refugees from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Ukraine. Asylees and immigrants from all over the world.
    To assist them I try to be very aware of all cultural differences and have a background in different languages and religions. In their case, I rely on my bilingual skills and other translation services. I rely also on many other resources depending on their situation. Some need ESL classes, mental health services, culture awareness resources, and classes. I use any resource I could use to get the customer to reach a self-sufficient state.

    1. iberry says:

      Thanks for the services you provide to the refugees, asylees, and immigrants. It is great that you strive to be aware of cultural differences and seek to have a working knowldege of different languages and religions. It is also wonderful that you utilize your skill sets to assist others and you rely on resources to help them as well.

      1. Margarita says:

        I agree Ivy in your response to Adel. Striving to be aware of cultural differences, the different languages and religions is essential on how we serve individuals. Seeking first to understand and providing the resources needed to help them with the challenges they are going through.

    2. rpaull says:

      The refugee programs have always fascinated me. Their stories and triumphs over adversity are so inspirational. If only the general population heard all the barriers that these individuals and families had to face in order to come to the US they may appreciate immigration more.

    3. rrezene says:

      Adel this is amazing work! From my experience the refugee and asylee population are extremely determined to start a new life and commit to whatever can help get them there. I am glad there is support out there to aid in their integration to our communities and hope that this support continues to be funded and supported long term.

    4. mshore says:

      This definitely requires a unique set of skills and being effective with such diverse populations and needs. The effectiveness of the services anyone provides is based on knowing and acquiring any and all available resources to help you, help these folks in need. By taking such a sincere approach to understanding everyone’s background to better understand their needs and what you can do for them, you have obviously had a positive impact on many lives. Thank you for what you do.

    5. ysalim says:

      I can relate to the population you serve as I immigrated from Iraq to the U.S. back in 2013 via the IOM. Having the opportunity to work myself through some of the resources you mentioned which enabled me to be at the other end of the tunnel, is really something beyond words. My appreciation and gratitude go to you and to everyone who’s serving this phenomenal population.

  8. aresto says:

    As a Workforce Specialist, I work with all sorts of people with different backgrounds. I work with mainly adults that could be living with physical or mental health illnesses, adults that could be working through addiction or experiencing homelessness, and adults with an English language barrier. I offer job search, resume writing assistance, training services and on the job training. In order for me to work with the participants that I have enrolled in my program and have a successful outcome, I have to have empathy for each individual. We also have other programs and services that we work very closely with that we can dually enroll a participant in. We work with OVR as well as EARN. OVR offers individuals and individuals with disabilities the skills they need to transition into the workforce and independent living. The EARN program helps address the needs of welfare recipients with barriers to employment and to better coordinate existing employment and training programs that are available to them. Each participant that I work with has a unique situation and it is my job to make sure that we are assisting them the best way we can.

    1. rpaull says:

      Shameless plug here, don’t forget the KEYS programs in your local area. We are valuable resource for any of your clients who are considering education! And our program fulfills the requirements of the welfare system.

  9. mshore says:

    With one of our new business clients who owns corporate and residential real estate, we have ventured into assisting this business with their workforce development in HVAC, security and cleaning or environmental services. As such, they have an openness to look at re-entry groups from those incarcerated as well as coming out of rehab. Similarly, they are looking to work with immigrants and/or refugees. With each, it is important to have a key contact for re-entry who have initiated agreement plans and know the criminogenic background for each individual. Also to note is that this business does have varied assessments to determined other needs or barriers that their director of HR takes a lead on. Likewise, this business does a nice a job with supplying parking passes or even rent opportunities as part of their benefits package.

    1. sletourneau says:

      I applaud not only the intentional efforts to employ clients from a broad array of backgrounds, but also your organizations understanding of the barriers that individuals may face and the provision of supports with parking passes and rent opportunities. I can imagine that this sets up both the individuals and the company up for success, and hopefully retention and self-sufficiency. Your empathy and the empathy of the company model is evident:)

  10. iberry says:

    Prior to becoming a Program Manager, I worked as a Career Advisor under all aspects of the Title I and TANF Program. I served Youth, Adult, Dislocated Workers, TANF, and SNAP clients. Across all of the programs I served, I have assisted unemployed or underemployed individuals with multiple barriers to employment. I have encountered individuals with: no marketable skills or support systems, basic skills deficiency, language barriers, disabilites, lack of access to resources, liberties, and opportunities, criminal backgrounds, mental health conditions, addictions, abuse, neglect, and homelessness.

    I appreciated the chapter on ethics that calls us to operate within the scope of our abilities and refer clients to outside entities for assistance when needed. It is very important that workforce development recognizes that we must aim to serve others holistically. Our work goes beyond just providing employment and training services. It is working to ensure that client barriers are resolved, self-sufficiency is obtained, and equity is received.

    1. at says:

      I agree with Iberry in that our work goes beyond providing employment and training services. Our mission is to ensure that client barriers are resolved by helping others become self-sufficient which allows them to maintain their employment. Our work is not just providing them with a job, rather we are providing them with a long-term career.

    2. carmana says:

      Within my position, I also work with the Adult and Dislocated Worker program and like you, we see a wide range of backgrounds. The majority of our individuals we serve are often dealing with more than one of the things you mentioned ( lack of access to resources, basic skill deficient, disabilities, criminal backgrounds, mental health conditions.) It is so important in our helping positions to not only continue to educate ourselves o the vast populations we serve but also deep dive on our biases that we may have on different populations and how we can be the most wholesome and helpful professional within our position and provide these individuals with the respect and knowledge and help that we can give them I definitely think this was a very important chapter.

  11. sletourneau says:

    As a Career Navigator working with Adult and Dislocated Workers I work with a broad range of individuals from young adult if they do not meet OSY program eligibility to on the cusp of retirement. A large number of my clients come from immigrant and refugee backgrounds and may need extra support with English language proficiency before pursuing training, or to help with obtaining employment. We partner with IU13 to connect clients with free ESL courses. We are also able to collaborate with IU13 to connect clients to GED courses to address adult literacy needs. I collaborate with the ReEntry team when working with clients that may have some Justice involvement that impacts their job search, to ensure that they have access to critical information and resources that I may not be aware of.

    In understanding my client’s unique needs in respect to their diverse backgrounds I use my helping skills to build a good rapport and create a safe space for my clients to share information about themselves that may help me serve them better. To do this well, I actively practice self assessment and work to keep any personal biases or assumptions in check, so that I may champion every individuals dignity and right for access to resources and opportunities. Additionally, I work with other marginalized groups including LGBTQ, homeless, Veterans, disabled and individuals with substance dependence. In order to help meet the needs of my clients that identify with these groups, I stay current on local agencies that we partner with that provide a broad array of services such as the Food Hub, VA as well as support groups and even social groups which can help individuals combat isolation. The combination of “in-house” collaboration with other teams such as OSY, ReEntry, OVR and community partners provides concentric layers of support that offers resources at many levels.

  12. Margarita says:

    In the ADW Program we serve individuals that come in with no work or skills or underemployed, some seeking to obtain a GED, some are facing housing eviction and domestic violence and some finding it difficult to gain employment due to reentering citizens. Within our CareerLink Center we have supportive services to assist with their barriers and refer to community resources. We have OVR and a behavioral health Specialist for additional support. We consider dual enrollment to provide them with services to best assist with their needs. We also have outside community resources visit our center to educate the staff and the customers we serve about the services they provide. The CareerLink holds community resource fairs which I appreciate. The customers are welcome to meet the representatives of the organizations while utilizing the CareerLink Resources Center.

    1. Vivian Santos-Dingui says:

      At our college we have the KEYS program which assists students who are more likely to struggle with choosing or finishing a program due to the every day challenges including social, racial, and economic factors which typically make their career and educational goals seem impossible to achieve. What I like the most about our program is we have a Senior Student Facilitator who travels weekly to our local CareerLink in order to recruit; educate, and guide students who aren’t sure on how to go about choosing a career and/or connecting to the right resources in order to move forward in making their career or educational objectives reality. We work in collaboration with outside organizations including OVR and Pathstone to name few, in an effort to help students identify their strengths and transferrable skills that will get them on the right career or educational pathway.

  13. at says:

    Even though I do not work directly with participants, I have experience working with Career Navigators and Program Managers from various programs (WIOA ADW, OSY, Re-Entry, Pathway Home 2, TANF). Due to the various cultural populations of each program, some of them might have similar barriers with different levels. Thankfully, we have many resources in Lancaster and the surrounding counties of Pennsylvania. Our state government has incorporated an “External Program Referral” on the CWDS platform allowing us to refer participants seamlessly. Even though many improvements have been made, there are still some difficulties with the technical. If we could focus on helping participants by assessing them on their skills instead of pressuring them too much with performance goals, all parties involved will have less paper work to complete reducing the stress for all.

    1. mvandorn says:

      I agree with this. If we had the right systems to be able to carry out our work, it would be easier to serve our customers. At the same time, some of the goals implemented by the state and WIBS are very aggressive and can take away the human centered approach when it comes to serving and meeting the needs of participants.

  14. rgoshorn says:

    My organization works with justice-involved youth from across the state. While we have youth from several counties in our residential facilities at any given time, Philadelphia residents comprise a plurality of our clients. By necessity, our services are weighted heavily to enhance employment opportunities regardless of the clients’ home county. As a part of transition planning, we rely on local resources in residents’ home counties to make the final connection with employers. Employability Soft Skills is probably our single largest intervention. A great variety of career exploration activities are woven into the soft skill development curriculum as most of our clients have above average needs in this area. The majority of our clients have special education needs and we have had some cooperative ventures with the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation. Some of these are on-going while others were helpful for a season.

    The racial and ethnic composition of our clients is significantly different from the staff at our more rural facilities. Our most effective staff are those who have invested significant time and effort to learn the strengths of these youth along with the barriers to employment that they face in their home communities.

    1. megandowney says:

      Working with populations that staff do not have a shared experience or social identity with can be difficult. It sounds like your organization and the staff have a shared commitment to reflecting on their experiences, growing in their DEI skills, and individualizing programming for participant success. This takes a lot of intentionality and time, great job!

  15. Vivian Santos-Dingui says:

    I particularly work with students who receive SNAP or TANF benefits from the county. I serve a diversified and multicultural population. These students are underrepresented and dealing with a multitude of extreme hardships especially financially. I have students who are homeless who I typically refer to places such as Berks Coalition for the Homeless; ERAP, and/or HUD Mainstream as well as students with mental health issues that I offer a number of behavioral health services including the opportunity to self refer their selves through their self-service portals. As you can imagine, many of these students come from low-income income households struggling with a multitude of barriers including learning and physical disabilities; substance use disorders and abuse, and/or domestic and family violence. Our college and program offer these students a variety of services that cater to their specific needs.

    We build strong ties with the LGTBQ community and work extremely close with disability services which offer accommodations for physical and learning disabilities; pregnancy related issues, discrimination, sexual harassment, and/or PFAs along with other departments that assists with additional supports for GED, ESL, ABE, and/or tutoring services. Our college offers a number career planning and/or educational assessments designed to help get students on the right career paths while providing them unique and the best educational experiences during their journey. I strive to give these students a memorable educational experience by providing them individualized case management; career coaching, and advising that helps guide them from start to finish by providing them special allowances and services through the CAO and other resources which help eliminate barriers that would potentially hinder these same students from seeing their education or workforce program through fruition.

  16. megandowney says:

    Within my role, I work with student who identify as low-income, having a disability, single-parent, English-language learner, out-of-workforce (due to incarceration, injury, or homemaking), former foster youth, and/or housing insecure/homeless. Resources that are key for these student are funding, advocacy, and community. Funding involves understanding internal and external funding sources, their rules, and connection to the funding source. Specifically in education, we find students funding for school but also their basic needs. For advocacy, due the amount of “time poverty” students have, if they have to go through more than one processes their likelihood of process completion is very low. To best serve these students I need to remove as much bureaucracy as possible and provide warm referrals to partners. Lastly, often students are coming to school via a deficit mindset about their ability to be successful in school and career – normalizing their experiences and providing community is key.

  17. edougherty says:

    Working out of the CareerLink as a Behavioral Health Advocate, I’ve had the opportunity to work with many participants with various backgrounds. Through my role, I’ve worked with several participants that have a disability that has impacted their employment process. I have found that one of the most helpful resources for individuals with a disability is a referral to the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR). The OVR can provide specialized support and help guide individuals towards employment with consideration to each individual’s unique needs.
    Some other resources that I commonly utilize include translation services, various financial supports, training opportunities, etc. Regardless of an individual’s background, the most important thing is to meet people where they are and treat each person with dignity and respect. It’s also important to continue learning about backgrounds that differ from your own in order to provide more effective service. Additionally, as the text mentioned, utilizing resources that help you to identify and confront your own biases can also lead to better working relationships with clients.

  18. rpaull says:

    In my work I have had the privilege of working with a diverse group of individuals. They are from different cultures, religions, age groups, countries, genders, abilities, sexual orientation and identities, and ethnicities. It is one of the aspects of my work that I value and appreciate the most. I enjoy hearing about their families, beliefs, and histories. The one aspect that my clients have in common is they are all currently living in a lower socioeconomic status. The clients that we work with in the KEYS program are all receiving both TANF/SNAP benefits or just SNAP. The resources that we typically utilize in our work are two-fold. Part of our job is to utilize resources that are available on campus, these include: financial aid assistance in our lab, foundation scholarship opportunities, tutoring services – online and in person, academic learning commons, EAP conversations groups, care and concern referrals, counseling on campus contracted through an outside agency, student activities, clubs, organizations, our career center, accessibility services, Title IX supports, SafeBerks collaboration on campus, the student gym, and our campus pantry that has food, professional clothing, personal hygiene items, and a diaper program.
    The second area where students get support is through resources off campus, those agencies that we work closely with are: PA Careerlink, Berks Community Action Program, Early Learning Resource Center, Hispanic Center, Legal Aid, Berks Coalition to End Homelessness, Family Promise, Opportunity House, and many more. It is important to provide support in all the areas of the student’s life. So many times it is not the student’s academic ability that causes barriers but the things that occur in their lives beyond school. Our job is to get them to graduate! The higher the educational attainment the more likely they will not ever need to rely on public programs again. The opportunity to work with this population and know that not only are their lives impacted, but the lives of their children are as well, is extremely rewarding!

    1. mendezm2 says:

      Since you mention clubs and organizations I find local chamber of commerce and/or cultural specific non-profits are always a great place for resources and direction with dealing with other cultures. For example Asian Pacific American Chamber of Commerce (APACC) these groups always seem willing to help with diversity and inclusion issues facing their groups.

    2. mccoya8 says:

      Your first couple of sentences show how much you take their backgrounds into consideration while delivering services. It is so important to understand your customers and provide services with understanding, acceptance and empathy. That is great that you work with so many agencies to support your customers. You have a lot of resources to help them and it shows how dedicated you are to helping everyone.

  19. jmartinez-guzman says:

    Creating that rapport in your first meeting is key! That will dictate on how client will begin to trust you and be more open to receive assistance.

  20. mendezm2 says:

    As a Veteran Career advisor I work with veterans that have Significant barriers to employment (SBEs) include:
    Population / Resource used
    • A special disabled or disabled veteran / Veteran Affairs’ (VA) & Oakland County Veterans Services
    • Homelessness / Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program (HVRP) & Volunteers of America (VOA)
    • A recently-separated service member / American Legion & Military One Source
    • An offender who has been released from incarceration / Fidelity Bonding & Clean Slate Program
    • Lacking a high school diploma or equivalent certificate / Adult Education & Local School districts
    • Low income / MDHHS & Michigan Veterans Trust Fund
    • Veterans aged 18 to 24

  21. speterson says:

    While where I live is culturally undiversified, it is economically diverse. The majority of those I am helping are unemployed, underemployed, or undereducated. My job is to help through the barriers to obtain self-sustaining employment. Key resources for me so far have been the Department of health and human services, local food pantries, Community Action Agency, and the Sault Tribe of Chippewa Indians which all offer food, housing, and medical assistance.

    1. ssmith says:

      There is immense value in having an understanding of the available social services in your area. I find myself seeking out and referring participants to local agencies as well. I see it as a village coming together to meet the needs of the individual!

  22. pbaldwin says:

    Although in my role as a Career Specialist I don’t spend many detailed hours with the clients, I do have the opportunity to engage with many diverse populations. I love the differences in just going to HUB locations in opposite sides of our county. I have the opportunity to engage with folks of all kinds of diversity dependent on where I am at. This has afforded me the chance to hear about how different locations can truly impact how clients initially view their future. I love when I am able to help them when facilitating workshops and getting them directly connected to folks who can assist them with resources. It brings me much joy to see “hope” in their eyes.

  23. reisingers says:

    In my role as a Title V Senior Community Service Employment Program Coordinator I work with the Senior population (55 years of age and older) who may be homeless, recently incarcerated, live in very rural areas, have no transportation or are low income. My program covers eight counties, these counties have many different diversities, races, cultures and backgrounds. The program does not only help them gain skills and knowledge for employment, but it has funds to help with clothing, transportation, food and housing.

    1. mturner1 says:

      I am very curious to know if you have found any excellent programs or curriculum for computer literacy for this senior population? This has been something that I have been wanting to focus on finding. A flexible tool for individuals who lack the computer skills to be successful in education and training?

  24. ssmith says:

    The population that I directly and primarily work with are in-school youth ages 12 through high school graduation. They come from various different backgrounds and populations. As a Career Counselor, one of my main tasks is to ensure that youth have a plan post-graduation. To assist them with identifying and achieving their goal, I build rapport, engage in conversation, and employ various interest assessments and utilize the resources available at my employer to give youth opportunities to complete internships and or workshops to help them develop the skills they need to be successful.

    1. asoto says:

      Working with that age group is a big lesson in diversity, because many of our Youth nowadays faces some erroneous ideas that the Young Adult population doesn’t want to work, but they do! they are just asking for better treatment at the workplace. So what you are teaching them is bringing them great information for their future.

  25. carmana says:

    As a Career Coach, I work with a variety of groups of people from various backgrounds. The individuals I work with are generally low-income, as we are a needs-based program. I also work with the re-entry population quite often. I am generally working with individuals to get them in to training, into a new career path and working on removing barriers and working on their job readiness skills. We can often work with these individuals to determine which career path would be best for them, and also refer them to the Clean Slate program or the Offender Success program. We also have individuals that have disabilities that come in and are looking for employment, in this instance we refer them to MRS. Occasionally, we also experience job seekers who need assistance with housing, and we make the appropriate referrals to Eightcap. Within our service center, we definitely see a variety of different backgrounds and circumstances with the individuals we serve. It is so important to continue working on being more culturally educated and aware of biases.

    1. mchenier says:

      Being aware of those biases is so important, I try to put myself in the client’s shoes and show empathy, make eye contact, treat them with respect no matter what they are wearing, etc.

  26. mhernandez says:

    Within my scope of practice, my focus is to work with Scholars that have stopped out, have not used their scholarship yet, or will have their scholarship expire within 3 years. One of my goals this year is to recruit and support underrepresented and marginalized communities (such as Scholars that identify as BIPOC, women, 1st generation, and students with a history of free or reduced lunch). They will sometimes need additional support to be successful in a post-secondary education at a certificate training program or apprenticeship. We have partners that work in barrier removal by providing funding for transportation (such as gas cards or bus tokens) or providing a warm handoff to organizations that address specific needs or are geared towards specific populations. Having diverse team members demonstrates that we are committed to support and represent the populations that we serve, and we continuously work towards increasing our knowledge in diversity, equity, and inclusion. Other team members focus on different and similar populations while simultaneously working towards a common goal.

  27. mstover says:

    Working as a Career Navigator for 14 years, I’ve noticed treating people with respect and compassion is one of the easiest things I can do as a CN. Keeping in mind we don’t know what happened right before they walked in the door, in so important. Making eye contact and showing respect goes a long way. Remembering, the time you spend with a client may be the only positive moment them experience during that day.

    1. holmh says:

      This is so absolutely true. The old saying of “walking a mile in the other person’s shoes” is so fitting for what we should do. I think if we take the time to fully understand the challenges a person is facing, that can be half the battle of breaking down the walls between us and the people we serve. Showing everyone kindness and respect no matter who they are, no matter the situation they come from. We are all carrying around a lot of challenges with us daily, and if we really really look at each other, we should be able to see a glimpse of ourselves in they eyes of others.

  28. mchenier says:

    We operate a Michigan Works HUB, so we help everyone, and we do not have talent specialists that are specialized, so I help with PATH, Youth, Adult, DW, and TAA clients. Sometimes clients come into the center who are under the influence, or just released from jail, or have just been fired.
    Key resources I use is our resume templates, local community agencies like 211, community action, salvation army, and churches are also key resources in our rural area. We do not have a lot of low income housing, so this barrier is always a challenge. And we have limited employers who will hire offenders. Working closely with other agencies is key to provide “warm hand-off” for these clients.

  29. holmh says:

    In my position of Career Advisor, I work with a wide variety of individuals with just as wide a variety of backgrounds. I work with young single mother’s with felony backgrounds, adults of all ages interested in working on bettering their situations by enrolling in short-term trainings, two-parent families who have found themselves in difficult situations because they have both lost their jobs, young parents who need help with acquiring their GED’s and also work with young single father’s who are navigating their new roles in a single parent households. A very large population of the PATH Participants I work with need assistance with housing and referrals to new housing opportunities. The key resources I use to help individuals with diverse backgrounds is referrals to Adult Education, personal outreach to employers to discuss the strengths and challenges of their employees whom I am working with, We also place referrals to MRS, Additionally, we also have on-site a partner agency who works with the Prisoner Re-entry program. I would like very much to be able to focus on finding resources for low-income housing. Our area is rural and the barrier of adequate housing is prevalent.

  30. rrezene says:

    Throughout my time in workforce development I have had many roles each targeting a different population or demographic. As a career navigator I saw all kinds of people mostly those who have recently been let go from a position and looking to receive unemployment services. Some key resources that I would use when working with this population would be computer based services such UIA data bases navigation, recovering log in credentials, and basic job search. I would also help connect them to additional services available at our service center.

    When I started Career Coaching I worked in the Welfare Reform programs which was for individuals who recently applied for FIP or FAP benefits through MDHHS. This population was mostly single parent families who are being supported by subsidized funding. Needless to say that these individuals were mostly women who came in with many barriers to employment. We provided services and plans around employment barrier removal so that they could smoothly reenter the workforce. On top of this we performed coaching practices to keep job seekers engaged.

    As I continued to coach I worked with a grant that focused on assisting job seekers of a specific zip code enter or advance in a healthcare career. Similar to past coaching many individuals came with some form of barrier to employment where we would navigate them to a resource specialist to aid them while they work with me on a form of evidence-based career coaching. This relationship allowed me to focus on coaching and placement options while they were being supported before and after finding a job.

  31. papisth says:

    As a career coach at Michigan Works! I work with all different people from all different backgrounds. I have worked with homeless, people with a criminal background who are limited on what they can do, low income, people with disabilities, and a wide variety of other things. All our participants have barriers. I do not treat them any differently however, sometimes I have to make small special accommodations for some. We also make referrals to different agency based on the needs of the individual and what would be best for them.

    1. wkoenig says:

      I think you hit it right on the head as they say. We at Michigan Works, depending on our locations, deal with several different kinds of diversity among our clients. I work with a lot of people here to with low income and criminal backgrounds. I have come across only two homeless clients in the past year or so. This was a very challenging situation since I am not used to dealing with this. You are right, we do not treat them any different than others and do our best to help them move ahead.

  32. wkoenig says:

    As a Talent Specialist for Michigan Works in a very small community I do not work with a diverse amount of people. My clients are 90% white and 10% Native American. Most of them come from very different backgrounds such as low income, single parents, poor or no education, many different nationalities, criminal backgrounds, people with some sort of disability, and no work experience. Many of these individuals have several barriers to overcome from the past and the present. You have to treat and look at everyone the same, everyone deserves your full attention and effort. I have a group I meet with called the community resource group with all kinds of different agencies so this gives me a great deal of information on where else I can send my clients for help with other personal things. Most of the target population in my community are seasonal workers and most jobs are seasonal. I also have a demographic area where the average age of the work force is 51. The last few years I have really tried to reach out to the schools and the youths in our community since there just isn’t enough young people in the work force here. So, diversity can be a combination of many different things, I just don’t see the diversity in race here in my community but do have a diverse amount of individuals who come through the door meeting other areas of diversity. It is a challenge that I enjoy and you are always learning from one client to the next.

  33. mstover says:

    In my job as a Career Navigator in the TANF program, I have been able to use my personal experience and out of the box thinking skills. Enabling me to support and career advisor a large number of participants. I have worked with diverse, multigenerational and multicultural clients. My new position as Career Specialist / Community Outreach has allowed me fill my tool box full of essential tools for successfully guiding clients to be self-sufficient. Due to personal family issues, my heart goes out to the undocumented and disabled.
    Back in 2011, I was given the opportunity to join the EDSI family. EDSI was awarded the TANF and SNAP contracts in Lancaster county. As part of the initial staff, we were given the foundation and the bricks & mortar to build these programs. I had the opportunity to be part of the original staff creating workshops, trainings and program material.
    As we started working with the participants, we noticed the importance of creating ways of dealing with barriers such as transportation, child care, housing, homelessness, domestic abuse and low self-esteem.
    Providing hope and resources to these participants was extremely important to their success. From the first meeting, through the intake and each meeting, taking baby steps to earning their trust and confidence.

    1. paytonricec says:

      I love how you reflected on how important certain topics were to you on a personal level and how you use that as a driving force to lay the foundation of good social service provision. It’s always refreshing to see a professional working with the public being conscientious of their impact by taking baby steps and earning the trust and confidence of their customer. Kudo’s to you for providing hope to people who need it daily.

  34. paytonricec says:

    In my position as a Rehabilitation Counselor, I work with people who have disabilities or a physical or mental impairment. The individuals I work with typically come from backgrounds of impoverishment. The key resources I use with this group is connecting them to community partners who have access to housing, clothing, and food resources such as the local food banks, shelters, and clothing drives.

    I also use therapeutic resources such as Improving MI practices and therapist aid.

  35. bolte says:

    I work as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor at Michigan Rehabilitation Services. I work with a very diverse population of people that have different income levels, education levels, race, ethnicity, nationalities and gender identities. Some people have criminal histories and some don’t. Since transferring to the Ann Arbor office from Monroe, I’m also serving people who may not have English, but American Sign Language or another language, as their first language.

    Resources I use with different groups, include: interpreters, respect, checking my own attitudes and responses, consulting with coworkers or my supervisor when I’m unsure of my next steps or if my response was the most helpful in helping others, and attending trainings to increase my awareness and understanding of others from the different groups that I serve.

  36. dlares says:

    As someone who works within a predominantly male industry such as construction, I do not get to work with many other people who identify otherwise. However, I do work with a diverse group of people from all nationalities and backgrounds. Many people I work with have a realistic personality type and kinesthetic learners. These people are hands on, enjoy the outdoors, and value physical work.

    Many of these people come from backgrounds in which their families were lower to middle class. Some are re-entering citizens and many have learning disabilities that made college seem out of reach. Some are immigrants, while others are either changing careers late in life or just getting out of high school. Many times, I lean on my statewide MI Works agencies and other non-profit organizational resources local to where the person lives to help assist them in overcoming life barriers while I help them become successful in the construction industry. I collaborate with other businesses to partner and support each other, our initiatives as well as the client by utilizing the programs offered by each such as a minority construction apprentice program through the Department of Transportation and 74 road building construction contractors. Based off each person’s particular situation, I work to find the right supportive service program as well as construction contractor that would work well with this individual. Many times, due to way my industry works, I will also keep resources available for the person to help them during their layoff season that will assist with food, utilities, work clothes, and Christmas toys for their children until they can get a better understanding of how to budget their funds.

    I also assist the individual with overcoming fears of training, learning new jobs or tasks, and introducing them to employers that do not judge them for their past or the color of their skin. Many times the employers that are seeking my assistance also have government compliance mandates that require them to seek and hire these diverse populations. I will coordinate with workforce development agencies to fill those positions, while I assist in the training to make sure the person is ready for the job.

  37. asoto says:

    While working with TANF/ EARN Programs, most of the participants that I have worked with have been Black and Hispanic Women in poverty. In this role, I had to learn how to provide resources for food, shelter, and education for them and their children. I also had to learn to separate my own ideas of being in poverty, against the reality that our participants faced. I was raised to think that if one worked hard, one could not find oneself in these situations, but I had to learn that there were many other factors that contributed to people being in poverty, and that I would do best to try to understand where the participants were coming from.

  38. mccoya8 says:

    I work with a diverse group of people in my position at MCTI. I work with students with disabilities ages 18-24. Disabilities can come in many different forms. Students come to MCTI with physical, emotional, Intellectual, learning, and/or speech disabilities or impairments. Our students also come from many different cultural backgrounds. Some have language barriers. Gender also plays a role within our school community. 81% of our school population are men. Students who identify as LGBTQ+ are groups we work with as well. The last group of students we work with are opportunity youth. Many of our students are low-income, at-risk, or homeless youth. All of these groups are equally important to take into consideration while delivering your services. Tailoring your services individually will meet people where they are and build that trust bond to work together as effectively as possible. I use many different resources to work with my students. Referring counseling and OT services are important supports for some students. We also have study skills and social skills groups. Connecting with their home MRS counselor and working together is important. Working together allows us to get the resources they need or the information needed to best work with this student.

  39. ysalim says:

    Within my role as the Admissions and Retention Facilitator for the KEYS Program at Reading Area Community College, we serve the At-Risk Students who receive public assistance from the CAOs. Our students are diverse, but many share similar circumstances like poverty, single parent, and/or being under the struggles of disorders or abuses.

    The resources that we provide our students with start with assigning them to student facilitators who help them navigate through their educational journey at RACC, and work closely with the client to eliminate barriers and ensure their continued academic success and participation in KEYS. We also help them financially by providing them with special allowances via the CAO, we request funding for their children to be in daycare, we refer them to other departments at the college, and/or other community agencies if needed. Even after they graduate, we can still serve them for a certain period of time by connecting them with career counselors to ensure that they can leave RACC successful and employable.

    1. ndeeley says:

      When I worked in TANF I learned about the KEYS program. I found the extensive level of support they provide for their clientele to be a major assistance to individuals who were attempting to further their education. The level of support and financial assistance individuals are able access through the KEYS made it one of the best programs that could be offered.

  40. ndeeley says:

    In my job as a Workforce Connector, I do not often times work directly with clients. However, I do work to develop relationships with organizations that serve a wide variety of individuals with unique barriers. I have worked with organizations that help people struggling with homelessness, transportation issues, digital literacy problems, and many others. By developing relationships with organizations that are designed to help address specific barriers we create a network of resources that clients can access, allowing them to work through their specific needs.

    1. wcain says:

      Agreed! My role is very public facing but the real work comes from connecting scholars to other resources in the community. We have official referral processes with several local providers and organizations. It takes a village!

  41. jromzek says:

    As a Youth Career Advisor, I recognize that my cliental is diverse(i.e: age, ethnicity, gender id, disability). But what I recognize even more is how youth don’t recognize those diversities, like I and people in my generation tend to. This to me is extremely exciting. I like to hope that means with each generation, we are getting closer and closer to eliminating the negativity affiliated with diversity.

  42. mturner1 says:

    As the Director of the KEYS program at Reading Area Community College (RACC), we work with a very diverse student population. RACC has a relatively unique designation as a Hispanic Serving Institution (HIS) so we serve a much higher than average number of Latinx students. Since we are a community college, we are highly focused on student services, so we get the opportunity to work with students with disabilities, no/low-income, first-generation, GED (rather than traditional high school diplomas) obtainers, multi-language learners, re-entry students just to name a few. Our specific program is funded by the Department of Human Services to specifically work with students who are receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and/or Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. We therefore, work with many single-mothers, individuals much more likely to have dropped out of high school, individuals on disability/SSI and generally are living in significant poverty. We provide intensive case-management services to our students to help them find significant financial assistance to support their retention in completing their training and education, navigate the college experience through graduation and assist them with transition services into work.

    1. mturner1 says:

      (Hit post too soon, so this is a continuation of my original post) Key resources we use in our office with students center around basic needs such as state benefits liaising, food pantries, neighborhood housing services, Homelessness Coalition, mental health counseling services and Early Learning Resource Center for childcare. Beyond basic needs, on our campus, we also collaborate with our Accessibility Services office, English for Academic Purposes, Career Center, Tutoring Center, Trio, Financial Aide, Title IX and Title V offices. Community Resources include CareerLinks, Centro Hispano, Community Action Programs, Re-entry programs, SafeBerks (DV) and our County Assistance Offices. Tools we use include Family Assessments, Focus2 Career Assessments, Handshake, Work Study positions and our relationships throughout the college from Adult Basic Education to Transfer Services to help our students. We utilize IXL and other online learning tools to help with academic remediation, laptop and study tools loaner programs and support students with scholarship applications as well.

  43. mvandorn says:

    In the Lancaster County CareerLink we worked with multiple groups including unemployed, low income, reentrants, immigrants, ESL, basic skills deficient, etc. The resources used with the groups mentioned above usually involve referral other community agencies if our programs can not address the barrier or need. We utilize supportive services to assist those that don’t have the financial means when people are participating in activities that will help them when it comes to training and employment.

    1. tmogle says:

      The beauty of our work, is that we encounter all walks of life. We don’t know from day to day who we are going to meet, or what kind of positive impact we will have on their lives.

  44. wcain says:

    Two major groups I work with are LGBTQ+ populations and.Our office graciously received an award of recognition from our local queer community. It has always been our mission to ensure all of our Scholars feel welcome and comfortable in their dealings with our office. Any student who is in need of those specific supports is connected with our local group OutFront who have housing and other resources at the ready. I also encourage them to find a community on their campus of choice and remind them that THEY get to define who they are on campus.Luckily, we have other queer teammates who can be a resource when necessary.

    Another group is our student population with IEPs and 504 Plans. This young people often slip through the cracks and are not included in conversations about post-secondary options. We are lucky to have the MCTI institute nearby which many can attend at no cost. For anyone who want to pursue a more traditional academic route, I make it a point to speak about my experience with ADA accommodations in undergrad. The hope is that this helps them feel less “othered” by the implication and that I’m a safe person.

  45. tmogle says:

    With my role in Business Services, I am working exclusively with employers and their companies. On any given day, I could meet with anyone from a sole proprietor of a business, all the way to the HR manager of a large publicly traded company. These individuals could range from someone who is from a foreign country who has only been in the country for a few months, up to a lifelong American citizen. Now, my role is different than the others who are taking this course but we present data and facts the same way regardless of a persons sex, race, age, etc.

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