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.

176 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.

      4. Britney.harris says:

        This is my first time hearing the term “cultural humility”. I find this very interesting and plan to seek out more information on the term. I love the idea of encouraging people to learn about different cultures and backgrounds. I think it is crucial in understanding and individual to know where they come from.

  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.

      1. jlpillay says:

        Your description of working with refugees and immigrants, especially the focus on trauma-informed care, sounds incredibly interesting and rewarding. The emphasis on maintaining calmness, providing support during crises, and creating a sensitive and structured environment reflects the profound impact professionals can have in helping individuals rebuild their lives. It’s inspiring to see the importance placed on care, sensitivity, and motivation in guiding these resilient individuals toward a brighter future in America.

    6. mturner2 says:

      Slance, your job must be so rewarding as you see successes. You sound like you’re just the perfect person for your job. I enjoyed reading your post and all the different aspects of your job. It’s always refreshing to hear others speak of the valuable work such as you do and the dedication you apply every day.

  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.

    3. sjones1 says:

      As a career advisor, I agree with your statement about our work going beyond employment and training services. Once a client leaves me I hope I have helped set them up for lifelong success, and that all former barriers have been dealt with.

  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!

    2. Kimberly Carr says:

      The county I work in is similar to this. Most of the county is in high poverty and depending on public assistance. We try to go above and beyond to help break the cycle. Most of the clients have been raised on public assistance so that is all they know.

  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.

      1. bridget.james says:

        I agree, our agency partners with Department of Corrections /ReEntry for ReEntry Simulations when possible. We invite employers, other agencies and the public where we can join together and learn what it is like for someone to Reenter civilization. This is an eye opening experience, to walk a mile in their shoes when it comes to re-entering society and all the challenges that they face such as getting food, transportation, paying rent, keeping their parole meetings, and drug screenings while trying to work and survive. There is a lot more to this simulation than this but through the simulation if you don’t get all your tasks done, you go to jail. There are real life discussions in between each round that explains what an individual struggles with and how we as a community can help make this easier and help them become productive members of society instead going back to prison.

    2. t.logan says:

      I have to agree with you. I totally agree that treating people with respect is key in being able to communicate and truly being able to assist them to the best of our abilities. When I was a School Bus Driver, I seen a lot of different situations. I had a training once that really summed it all up. Everyone carries a backpack. You don’t know what all is in there. When people are aggressive ask yourself why. Did they have to watch their dad beat their mom? Did they have to take care of the baby sister because their parents were too high? We don’t know what has happened to them or what brings them into our lives. The least we could do is show them respect and empathize with them in their situation. When we show them respect, which is actually the easiest to me, they open up a little more. If we are going to help people which is what my job is then I have to earn their respect and trust.

  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.

    1. mkwioadirector says:

      Housing has become a huge problem in our area too. We had a flood that demolished many homes leaving families without anywhere to live,

  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.

    1. dcampbell2 says:

      It’s commendable to see the dedication you bring to your work at MCTI, especially in such a diverse and dynamic environment. Your focus on individualized services, considering the varied needs and backgrounds of students with disabilities, is crucial for building trust and fostering effective collaboration. Keep up the impactful work!

  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!

    2. mfeltner says:

      Developing relationships with our partners is the key to helping our clients with anything and everything they may need. We describe this as our “tool box” of things to assist our clients with.

  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.

    1. kevin.king says:

      That’s an interesting observation that demonstrates progress I believe. Of course, there will always be outliers no matter the generation, but I think your observation brings hope. Here are a few potential reasons I believe this may be the case. Younger generations have grown up in increasingly diverse societies, both in terms of race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, and other dimensions of diversity. Exposure to people from various backgrounds can lead to greater acceptance and understanding of differences. Schools and educational institutions have made efforts to promote diversity and inclusion through curriculum and programs, raising awareness about the importance of respecting and embracing differences. Younger generations have had greater access to information and global perspectives through the internet and social media. They can connect with people from different backgrounds, access diverse viewpoints, and learn about other cultures and perspectives, which can foster tolerance and empathy.

  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.

    1. fwattenberger says:

      Your role is so important to WIOA since the motto is jobs for people/people for jobs. And finding employer’s/companies that are educated in what we do and how we can refer quality employee’s to them is of the essence to the career advisor’s and their client’s who are job seekers.

  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.

    1. bonnie.conn says:

      The Business Service role can certainly serve a very diverse population and as I can see from your post also can cast a wide net of diversity through corporations. In this role I can see that you would have to be really current on alot of business practices and opportunities to be able to aide and assist.

  46. kevin.king says:

    With my role as Operations Director, I have worked specifically with Opportunity Youth (also known as “At-Risk,” “justice-involved” Youth) through a program called Inspire, Encourage, Achieve. We partner with this non-profit as part of our Education Outreach Program to help youth make informed career decisions. IEA provides positive influences to the lives of Southeast Texas youth by inspiring and encouraging them to develop and/or strengthen character qualities that promote positive youth develop. Youth are referred to the program primarily by Jefferson County Juvenile Probation, juvenile court judges, and community partners. The youth represent many different ethnicities, genders, etc. including persons who are English language learners. We utilize career exploration tools such as virtual reality headsets with career exploration modules, lifestyle calculators such as Texas Reality Check, and tools such as Texas Career Check to teach the youth how to explore careers and colleges through the website. We also help them with resume building and interviewing skills and much more. It is very rewarding to work with the IEA youth and watch how they progress through the IEA program which is a 100- hour, five-week Summer Learning Initiative called Camp Bright Star. You can definitely see the impact the program has on the youth, which culminates with a graduation at the end to mark their achievement.

    1. bback says:

      I would like some information on the virtual reality system that you use. This is something I have been looking into for our Career Centers, especially in working with the youth populations. Is this easily portable for taking to job fairs and into the high schools? We are a very poor area with a large population of youth being raised by grandparents, other kinship care, and couch surfing. I think this would be a great tool to let them explore careers they never would have had the opportunity to connect with otherwise.

      1. kevin.king says:

        Here is the manufacturer’s website:

        Also, here is our rep’s contact information: Kearsten Duvernay,

      2. jblevins says:

        I agree. I think this would be awesome for the youth in our region. It sounds amazing.

      3. Dottie Nolan says:

        Will Kayatin, with KVEC could probably provide information on this. He uses a VR simulation when he visits our local schools but is mostly used with Title 1 students. His class is a big hit with all the kids at the Transition Conferences.

    2. adhill says:

      Most of my experience with career advising before moving into my current role was with WIOA youth (opportunity youth, justice involved, parenting, etc). Do the youth only participate for the 100 hr Camp Bright Star through IEA ? or are services provided year round and Camp Bright Star is part of what’s offered. I see you provided Bridget with information about the virtual reality headsets so I can check that out , but can you tell me more about the lifestyle calculators?

    3. vcollier says:

      A colleague and I were just discussing VR training programs and how we thought VR would be a useful career exploration tool for youth. I did not know such modules already existed! That’s great!

  47. bonnie.conn says:

    In my job I work with a very diverse group of people. The diversity can include groups such as 18-24 year olds whose barriers could include parenting, pregnant, homeless, basic skills deficient, in foster care or having aged out of foster care or those who are justice involved as well. We also work to serve those that have been laid off from their jobs and are seeking to reenter back into the workforce. Another group that we also work with are those that may have a disability that could prevent them from either working or perhaps finding accommodations that would help them adapt to their work environment. We often work with our Voc. Rehab partner on this one so that we can ensure that the client is getting all of the assistance to help them to succeed in a work environment. Our Veterans is another population that we serve. We do reach out to our Veteran Service partner for help when working with our Veteran population as well to help provide services that enhance or services exclusive to Veteran services.

    I always treat my clients fair and with respect and to serve them within the best of my ability. I always believe in being absolutely transparent, honest and upfront with them so they will not be disappointed or make bad judgements from any information or assistance that I may provide to them.

    1. courtney.akey says:

      Hi Bonnie, I also work with individuals who have recently been laid off from their employer! We have a unique grant for these individuals who go through our program and try to serve as many as possible so there is not a surplus in the budget for the following year. We also serve veterans as you stated but I actually have not come across a client who is a veteran which I find bizarre. We treat veterans as a Priority of Service so they take the top priority but I have not come across any yet. I think that’s great that you work with the Voc Rehab for your clients.

    2. rexa says:

      Bonnie, I think it’s wonderful that you’re providing services to such a diverse group of youths. I have a question, do your clients primarily get their funding through your local WIOA or do you have scholarships if they meet the criteria? I think it’s amazing that you’re assisting foster care youths and young parents get training/careers and also our Veterans. Keep up the stellar work!

  48. bridget.james says:

    I also work with a diverse group of people from clients in the office seeking training and employment opportunities such as 18-24 year old “Youth”, 18 and older group “Adult” or “Dislocated Worker” populations with a vast variety of backgrounds and challenges such as Veterans, Disabilities, Minority, Addiction Recovery, Reentry, Homeless, just to name a few. I treat all of my clients the way that I would like to be treated coming from a struggling childhood with poverty and being raised by a single parent, to moving to a totally different state on the west side of the USA as an adult that I was not welcomed. I understand at least what it feels like to be talked down too, made fun of, even as an adult in the workforce from previous employment so I choose to treat others with respect first and foremost. I know I have a lot to learn from others and welcome it so that I can grow in the knowledge of other cultures and better serve everyone. I also work with employers and use this same mindset when I’m out in the field building employer relationships, learning what I can and sharing how our services can assist them in saving time and money.

    1. Valrey.easterling says:

      You are exactly right, having compassion and respect for our clients is number one. Understanding were they are coming from and what they have had to overcome, helps you be a great resources to them.

  49. courtney.akey says:

    In my current role as a WIOA case manager, I work closely with a variety of clients who come from all different walks of life. Our program serves both youth and adult individuals, however we mostly serve adults as there are other resource centers in the area for youth such as RISE and YCCA that offer the same services with better incentives specifically for the youth. Many of our clients do have barriers to employment and the two most common barriers we see are language barriers and individuals who have been justice involved. Our county serves multiple cities and each city holds a unique population. For example, Woodland has a large population of Hispanic individuals where their primary language is Spanish and in West Sacramento we have a large population of Ukrainian and Russian speaking individuals. At this moment in time, our ETPL only offers English programs so when we come across individuals who lack English speaking skills, we refer them to ESL classes in the nearest city in which they reside. For the individuals who are justice involved, we put them through our P2E grant funding source which provides them with better incentives upon graduating from their program. Once they have completed their program, we refer them to our county’s Business Engagement Team in which they work with local businesses and help the individuals find employment opportunities related to their education/training provided by the WIOA Program. A lot of clients are also referrals from our welfare workers in which case these individuals are low income and have family situations that causes an additional barrier to employment.

  50. rexa says:

    As a Workforce Education Coordinator, I work with a variety of clients with different backgrounds. Many of my clients are ESL, re-entry, living with physical or mental illness, addicts, or underprivileged youth transitioning into the workforce. We work very closely with our local WIOA office to offer workshops such as resume writing, interviewing skills, job searching tactics, counseling, GED classes, ESL classes, and more for our shared clients. I have a satellite office at our local WIOA office, and I spend 1-2 days there a week along with other partnering affiliations such as the Veterans Administration, TAA/TRA, and OVR so that our clients have a “One Stop Shop” for resources. This is a huge value add for the clients who rely on public transportation and now only need to visit the WIOA office rather than traveling to multiple locations for assistance.

    1. nicole.pfundheller says:

      We also have the “One Stop Shop” for resources, which is very beneficial for co-enrollments for the participants.

    2. mkwioacmanager3 says:

      I like that you mentioned working with Veterans. Our local offices also seek out Veterans but we struggle with targeting that population. We used to have regular visits from our Vet Rep who would share valuable information to the Veterans that we were able to serve. It’s refreshing to see them gain assistance, especially with housing, after facing so many obstacles after their Service.

  51. Kimberly Carr says:

    In my role as a career advisor I serve a high poverty county. Most of my clients receive public assistance. I also advise clients who are under employed that are looking to upgrade to a higher paying career job.

  52. nicole.pfundheller says:

    My role is Client Site Manager. Our team works with a very diverse population, focusing on Adult, Dislocated Workers, In School, and Out of School Youth. Eligibility requirements differ between the programs, however, different “barriers” can make individuals eligible.

    1. jcooper says:


      I appreciate how you termed “different barriers”, as there is no targeted demographic for individuals who experience economic disadvantageous situations. With the economic overview of the world, it is getting harder to categorize individuals by racial or social demographic. Thank you for your work!

  53. Britney.harris says:

    As a Career Advisor in a very small, very poor county the majority of our clientele come from similar backgrounds. Unemployment & underemployment has been a barrier nearly most of their lives. They struggled through it with their parents and now are facing the issue themselves. Unfortunately the same can be said for addiction in the county I serve. I usually work with youth ages 18-24 year old’s who face multiple barriers when entering the workforce. I work with Adult Education, drug court, Vocational Rehabilitation, DCBS, and local Colleges/Training providers to help clients overcome their barriers.

    1. Robert Turner says:

      I think we deal with very similar groups. A lot of the ones I have helped has never held employment and are in the same situation as you have described.

  54. bback says:

    As a director of workforce services in a high poverty area, we see a diverse group of clients. We serve the normal WIOA Adult, Youth, and DW, but also have national emergency grants due to severe weather that allows us additional funding to help long term unemployed. Our youth programs deal primarily with those disengaged youth who are not in school and not in the workforce. One of the biggest resources we use to work with those clients are work experiences. This is especially helpful with the youth and is often one of the first paid services they get. Once they see that they can work and that they like having that experience and income, it helps to motivate them work on a career path. We see a lot of youth who are third and fourth generation on public assistance, so they have no real role model to help show them how important it is to work. Work experience is a great tool to help with this. It is especially important to work with your partners, even those outside of the required WIOA partners. One of the most important things we have learned is that building a network of area employers helps to keep you abreast of economic changes in your region, stay on top of hiring and training trends, and gives you a pipeline to help job seekers attain employment quicker.

    1. mblair says:

      That is a really good point you made about seeing a lot of youth who are third and fourth generation on public assistance. I think it is a combination of problems that have caused this along with it possibly being familial/cultural. The lack of employers paying a self-sufficient wage also has a part to play. Coal mines (our highest paying jobs for those with just a high school diploma) have had families yo-yoing on and off assistance for decades. It’s become repetition to work while the coal mines are open and apply for public assistance when the mines start laying off.

  55. dcampbell2 says:

    A solid support system for returning citizens is essential, as it acts as a guiding force in their journey toward successful reintegration into society. By providing tailored assistance in areas such as employment, housing, mental health, and community engagement, a support system not only empowers individuals to overcome challenges but also helps break the cycle of recidivism.

  56. Robert Turner says:

    As a career advisor, I work with a wide range of multicultural groups, including adults, youth, dislocated workers, and even criminal offenders. We partner with different agencies at time to be able to offer a wide range of employment opportunities. Recently we have been able to help a lot of individuals in several ways thanks to a grant. We offer work experience opportunities and training to help people get back into the workforce.

    1. lisa.fenrick says:

      We also offer work experience and job shadow opportunities to our youth. It is a great way for them to explore career paths and gain understanding on what is expected from an employee.

    2. Marisol Rodriguez says:

      What you do is such a great service. We have been exploring ways to provide services to returning citizens. I participated in “second chance” job fair last year and met many employers that hire individuals with criminal backgrounds. This was a huge resource for some of our clients that have a criminal background and were not being hired by our active anchor partners due to their policies.

      1. a.brown says:

        This is a wonderful idea! Offering a second chance job fair or hiring event is definitely something I am very interested in for our clientele. What a wonderful chance to enlighten communities and job seekers on available opportunities and to connect employers and participants. Transformational employment is something that is desperately needed in the areas we serve. This would give these job seekers a huge advantage in their search for opportunity without having to feel inferior to other applicants. Thank you for sharing the suggestion!

  57. jlpillay says:

    As a WIOA career advisor at the KCEOC KY Career Center in Knox County, KY, I work closely with a diverse group of adults facing significant challenges, including low-income, high-poverty, and rural communities. Many of these individuals encounter barriers such as limited transportation, substance abuse, and generational poverty, contributing to their underemployment or unemployment. Making the most of WIOA programs like Adult, DW, and Work-experience, along with grants and supportive services, we are able to provide tailored guidance to address their unique needs. Our
    goal is to empower them to overcome obstacles, access training, and successfully reintegrate into the workforce, contributing to both individual success and the economic development of our community.

  58. kayla.smith says:

    I am a career advisor I work closely with a variety of clients who come from all different walks of life. I serve in-school and out of school youth. I also serve adults and dislocated workers that have lost their job. I work in a poor county, so a lot of people struggle with finding employment and having the supportive services they need.

  59. adhill says:

    As a former career advisor and current Workforce Development Director in a rural, high poverty county in Kentucky I’ve worked with a diverse group of individuals over the past 11 years. For a majority of my time as a career advisor I mostly worked with Youth in the WIOA program. Most of those individuals were at risk of becoming or currently disengaged with the school system and / or the workforce but I have also worked with Adults and Dislocated Workers. Low income, homelessness (including “couch surfing”), lack of family support, substance abuse, justice system involvement/previous incarceration are some of the backgrounds a lot of our clients’ have. There are also other barriers such as transportation and lack of childcare that create obstacles for employment.
    While we provide WIOA services (work experience, training assistance, resume building, soft skills, career exploration, and supportive services) our office also partners with a lot of other agencies / programs in the area to help provide the best possible assistance and lead to positive outcomes for our clients. Our local Vocational Rehabilitation case manager often meets clients at our office to help prevent them from having to travel farther or adding more stress to them. We also have a close relationship with our local community college and spend time almost weekly on campus meeting with students who may benefit from our programs as well as partnering with their Workforce Solutions office to create training opportunities. Our business services reps also work closely with employers in our area to stay informed of needs and help our clients connect with employment opportunities.

    1. marie.wells says:

      The groups of people that we work with include youth, adults, dislocated workers,with barriers of low income, offenders, pregnant and parenting, basic skills deficient. These clients reside in our rural counties of high poverty. We discuss with our client their needs and what the best way of helping them would be. We utilize our community partners, supportive services, work experience to be able to assist our clients and their needs.

  60. lisa.fenrick says:

    I work with a very diverse population of youth. These youth face many barriers including ELL, low income, BSD, homeless, parenting, in or aged out of foster care, students with a disability and youth who had interactions with the criminal justice system. We also work hand in hand with a community program who provides an alternative school for students who have dropped out of high school and are now able to obtain their high school diploma with this program.

    1. justin.siemens says:

      Working with youth is not an easy task; however, I have observed and learned a great deal from Lisa. Lisa is very knowledgeable and helpful to the kiddos. Lisa puts in a great deal of time and work to make sure the youth in Rock and Green counties are prepared for the next challenge. Lisa has a great deal of patience and willingness to help anyone who is seeking assistance. Lisa is a person who thinks quick on her feet and she is ready for the next challenge.

  61. t.logan says:

    As a WIOA Career Advisor I work with a lot of diverse individuals. I have worked with Low Income Adults, Dislocated Workers, Youth In School and Out of School. I have also worked with Individuals who need a second chance, such as in addiction recovery and those who have been released from incarceration. We work closely with the colleges and Adult Education to better assist the population. When we work closely with our other partners we are better able to assist our clients to the best of our abilities.

    1. rball says:

      that’s very similar to what I do as well.

  62. vcollier says:

    I do not work directly with clients, but our organization works with Adults, Dislocated Workers, and Youth. We are in a rural area, and many of our clients have multiple barriers to employment. A great resource that we can provide is supportive services, which can help cover the costs of the some of those barriers to employment such as work clothes. Additionally, we have regular partner meetings which expands our knowledge of the local resources and organizations that are also available to assist our clients.

  63. Marisol Rodriguez says:

    We offer Workforce opportunity to a diverse population. We provide services to individuals with mental health and/or diagnosed disabilities in an under served and low-income community. We offer Adult and Youth Direct Support Professionals Apprenticeship program. Our program support with barriers to employment, employment placement and retention services.

  64. mkwioacmanager3 says:

    Working in Eastern Kentucky, our primary population consists of low income individuals who fall into our Adult, Youth and Dislocated Worker clientele. We see strong diversity in different education levels, barriers, and backgrounds. I work with all age groups but have a special place in my heart for the Youth population. Within WIOA Youth Programs, we are able to assist clients who have barriers as basic skills deficient, pregnant/parenting, aged out of foster care, little to no work experience and those who have been in the criminal justice system, among others. All of these barriers bring a variety of clients with individual needs for assistance. Our biggest area of need for these clients is lack of transportation, child care and the need for Supportive Services. We are able to assist them with a large portion of their needs to help them achieve their ultimate goal in workforce or training services.

  65. mkwioadirector says:

    The major groups of people that we work with include youth, adults, dislocated workers, low income, offenders, pregnant and parenting, basic skills deficient, etc. These clients reside in counties of high poverty which leads to many barriers to employment. We discuss with our client their needs and help them develop an individual employment plan. This plan gives the client set goals to reach and accomplish. We utilize our community partners, interest inventories, referrals, supportive services, work experience, mock interviewing, etc.

  66. marie.wells says:

    Our career center consits of to rural counties that are low income individuals who fall into our Adult, Youth and Dislocated Worker. We see strong diversity in different education levels, barriers, and backgrounds. We are able to assist clients who have barriers as basic skills deficient, pregnant/parenting, aged out of foster care, little to no work experience, and offenders. Lack of transportation, and the need for Supportive Services. We are able to assist them with a large portion of their needs to help them achieve their goal in workforce or training services.

  67. a.brown says:

    We serve unemployed or underemployed adults, dislocated workers, displaced homemakers, and disadvantaged youth, Amongst these groups are individuals from several walks of life including those who reside in rural communities that are high poverty/low income areas, those who are HS dropouts, justice involved or at risk of becoming, pregnant or parenting, single parents, homeless, are in or have aged out of foster care, veterans, long term unemployed or have never held employment, those who have been dependent solely on a spouse, those have worked and become laid off and are receiving or have exhausted UI benefits, those looking to reenter the workforce, those faced with national emergency/natural disasters, those who may be mentally or physically challenged, etc. We serve a variety of individuals and diverse backgrounds facing many obstacles and barriers to employment. We offer WIOA services including work based learning opportunities like work experience, on the job training, apprenticeships, etc., as well as resume building, interviewing skills, career guidance, educational assistance, and supportive services. We partner with community agencies and programs to provide as many opportunities and supports to each individual client as possible. Our Career Centers serve as one stop shops with a lot of partners located in one office making them easily accessible for referrals including the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, Head Start, CSBG, Weatherization, Transportation, Unemployment Insurance, Skills U, VOCA, Parent Self Help/CCC, etc. We also connect with our local community colleges, training facilities, chambers of commerce, employers, DCBS offices, Beacons of Hope/Recovery Centers, and SITE program.

    1. jessica.dye says:

      I wish I had included the terms “unemployed and underemployed” in my response. This is the basis we use in order to help clients who fall in our Adult category. We are in such a rural area that I have only seen a few people who “made too much” to qualify. I am a big advocate that even people who are “doing well” deserve assistance when needed/wanted. Your office is very similar to ours in resources. The offices you listed are frequent referrals for us, both incoming and out.

  68. Valrey.easterling says:

    Homework Chapter 6
    Valrey Easterling
    Nov. 12, 2023
    As a Career Advisor for the last five years, I have worked with a diverse group of individuals. I have worked with the youth 18 to 24 years of age. They have had different barriers and challenges to employment, from child care and lack of family support to justice involvement. We have work with the Head Start Programs to help them with child care. For the justice involved clients we have worked with the Fire and Frame Program in our agency that assists with re-entry trainings. We have also worked with employers to see if they would hire clients with background issues. We have placed the client in Work Experience with the employer. This allows the employer and the client to see if they are a good fit for one another. Work Experience helps to eliminate any bias the employer may have about hiring someone who has a criminal background history. We have had a couple of our employers hire the client on when the program ended. They have given us positive feedback. Also we work with Adult clients that have the same issues as the Youth clients. We have had clients with disabilities and we work with Voc Rehab to assist the clients with any needs that we cannot meet.

  69. mblair says:

    The majority of my clients are either young adults from low-income families or dislocated workers. The personalities and stories of my clients vary greatly but the overarching theme seems to be their background being from poor families. Even some of the dislocated workers who had good paying jobs have talked about having to apply for assistance at times. Aside from some low-income families in the area who have relied on public assistance for years, many of the higher income families made a living working in the highly volatile coal industry and needed to rely on this assistance quite a bit themselves. With the coal mines running at maximum output then closing a few months or years later, families would have to bounce on and off public assistance just to keep food on the table. This resulted in periods of plenty and periods of poverty.
    The key resources I use are Career Scope and Career Coach to get a basic understanding of where the client’s interests are. The information helps me to offer the client help with either employment or training in a field they are interested in. There are additional programs as well as partners I sometimes refer clients to such as the Housing program, Vocational Rehab, and others. I use these resources in an attempt to learn about the client, assist the client, and steer the client away from the coal industry by informing them of the opportunities available to them through our services.

    1. legenevieve says:

      I’m learning more about Career Scope and Career Coach. I’m always looking to see what you’re using because we do similar work; however, we just started this Career Development journey for our youth. Please let me know if there are other things I should be checking out as well, or any advice you can provide.

    2. jhensley says:

      Assessing the client to determine their individual needs is the best way to provide relevant, and needed, resources to help them improve their quality of life.

  70. justin.siemens says:

    The major groups of people that I worked with as a Career Specialist were Adults and Dislocated Workers. A majority of my clients were either receiving social services assistance, transitioning from prison to civilian life or were recently dislocated because a company went out of business. I was responsible for coordinating enrollment and client services to eligible individuals in a one-stop system. I utilized a variety of assessment tools and interviews to provide clients with the best path forward. I utilized my network to develop relationships with community leaders and service organizations, so I could uncover additional opportunities for my clients. I performed workshops and attended job fairs with partner programs to communicate with potential clients.

    1. justin.siemens says:

      Communication and transparency are the keys to success in any program. One of the biggest mistakes in communication is missing signals and jumping to quick assumptions. According to an article written by Hannah Miller, “When leaders develop the skills to openly communicate in a constructive manner, trust increases and relationships grow stronger.” It is a great idea to find an ideal setting to pull an employee aside to address concerns. This approach indicates management’s ears and the line of communication is open. Team building exercises are a great way to improve communication in the workplace. Team building exercises allow management and employees to learn each other’s strengths and weaknesses. As a Career Specialist, I provided my clients with calm and care in often highly emotional solutions. I believe it is important to gain a solid understanding of the national public workforce development system and partner programs. Lastly, building relationships, following through on commitments, and not being afraid of a challenge were always important to me. I understood the risks that I took with my clients because they deserved a chance at greatnesses.

  71. jessica.dye says:

    In our work, we assist clients 18 years and older with training programs, work experiences, and job search/preparation. Our client’s face a range of barriers, primarily associated with low income, family disruption, offender records, and disability. For each client, we look at their individual situations, their personal strengths and weaknesses, and assist where each client needs it most. We have had clients who need financial assistance to obtain certifications (and all the supportive services included), some who just need the tuition assistance, and others who just need guidance to open positions in our area. Regardless of what demographic a client falls under, we treat each client as the individual he or she is and do our best to advise and help them on reaching their goals.

    1. csexton says:

      I agree that you have to review their strengths and weaknesses with the client. Many times, individuals are so critical of themselves that they don’t see their strengths as much as they see their weaknesses.

  72. jblevins says:

    We serve a diverse population in a very rural area that includes Youth, Adults, Dislocated Workers and Offenders. Most of our clients face many employment barriers. Some of the barriers include homelessness, lack of transportation, no childcare and are basic skills deficient. Many have never been employed or have a limited or sporadic work history. Workshops are offered to help increase clients soft skills, resume writing and Interview skills.
    Our goal with each client is to help them find employment that is a fit for them and the employer. We also provide work based learning, on the job training, work experience, class sized projects, internships and apprenticeships to assist the client reach their employment goals.
    To eliminate some of the barriers, we can provide support services if available to help pay the first months rent, assist with transportation until they receive their first pay check, help with clothes for a new job or buy books or pay for assessment fees for training programs. These support services are essential in our clients being able to start that job or begin or continue their college career.
    Our community partners CSBG, Vocational Rehabilitation, Adult Education, SKCTCS our local community college, Goodwill and local ministries play an important role in helping the client reduce barriers while reaching their educational and employment goals.

    1. ramona.cortestoro says:

      This kind of structure and support is what will lead to the success of the committed individuals that we are working with and are ready for a new beginning. It sounds like we work with very very similar groups and the services that we offer and how we operate, but the housing assistance you are mentioning sounds wonderful as it is something we do not do with many individuals we work with due to limited funding. however as you mentioned towards the end, around having a strong support of community partners, is how we can overcome deficiencies that limits one agency from fully helping an individual.

    2. alykens says:

      Lack of transportation and childcare is also a barrier for my area.

    3. tcampbell says:

      Lack of transportation is an issue in our community as well. I have had several clients with no way to and from a potential job or training.

  73. legenevieve says:

    I work with a diverse group of youth, aged 14-24, predominantly from the Detroit black community but inclusive of various ethnic backgrounds. Our mission is to equip them with essential life skills, covering culinary arts, entrepreneurship, resume writing, interview techniques, scholarship application guidance, and advocacy education. Through our for-profit initiatives, we provide tangible employment opportunities, fostering a comprehensive approach to skill development. This collective effort aims to empower these individuals, preparing them for a successful future and creating a community of resilient, skilled contributors. Other key resources that we connect them with are mental health, college access, & food stability. We are still learning about workforce development and working with the youth to continue to identify the key resources that they need.

  74. rball says:

    As a Career Advisor, I mainly work with the youth population in our area ages 18-24 years, who are from various walks of life. Those include youth who have never been employed before, recent high school graduates, high school drop outs, justice involved, homeless, etc. These clients participate in a work experience program, receive one on one career advising, often they’re also referred to community partners for additional assistance.

  75. jcooper says:

    My work aligns with supporting Evanston residents that are 18+ years old. Much of our work is geared toward those 18-30 years old, but we are actively expanding our services, as we have noticed the population most impacted are those exceeding the 30+ age group. Many services are targeted towards underrepresented communities, un/underemployed and those re-entering from the carceral system. Such services include: career assessments – understanding their need based on their skill set and interest, workforce readiness training and employer connection for career opportunities. As a part of the municipal government body, we collaborate with non-profits, educational institutions and other social service-based organization, to provide resources to those who express interest in our programs.

  76. ramona.cortestoro says:

    In my line of work, I have the privilege of interacting with a diverse group of people, primarily focusing on low-income families who have relied on welfare for multiple generations and those with justice-involved backgrounds. These individuals have often faced significant challenges and barriers, making it crucial to understand their unique backgrounds and experiences.
    Addressing the community’s needs requires access to necessary resources that can help support them. One such resource is providing many educational opportunities to empower individuals with knowledge and skills that go beyond traditional farming practices and beyond the life of being justice-involved. Additionally, linking them with vocational training programs and workshops can open doors to long term career opportunities.
    Financial education and assistance programs are also crucial for empowering these individuals to break the cycle of generational welfare dependency and also a learning tool for those trying to reintegrate back into society and be financially stable. Offering budgeting, savings, and entrepreneurship guidance can enhance their financial stability and create a path toward self-sufficiency.

  77. mturner2 says:

    I work with those who meet the federal poverty guidelines. Youth and adults who may have only a high school diploma or GED and in many cases no high school diploma at all. Most fall into a category with barriers that include homelessness, parenting youth, offender, in foster care or aging out of foster care, disability, basic skills deficient, transportation and child care. They come from backgrounds of broken homes, homes with domestic violence, low education levels, some with no family support, little or no work experience. Our program encourages obtaining GED or short-term training, work experience placement for 12 weeks where they gain not only experience in a workplace setting, but also skills related to keeping a schedule, problem solving in the work place, maintaining employment and meeting employer’s needs. We offer assistance to remove the barriers, especially financial barriers. For training we have funds for uncovered tuition, books and supplies and some transportation as needed. For work experience, we have funds for work attire and some transportation. We are making a difference in lives and families.

    1. tony.chan says:

      It looks like you work with diverse groups. I’ve had limited exposure to working with Veterans. What do you find to be the biggest challenge to working with Veterans? Thank you. – Tony Chan

  78. alykens says:

    I have worked with the Out-of-School Youth, Dislocated Workers, Adults and Veterans. The services provided are work experience and this gets their foot in the door that could led to full time employment. We also help dislocated worker get back to work by offering workshops or referring to help with job searches and interviewing skills. Also, I have worked closely with the local community college for trainings and GED instruction if needed. I also have worked closely with Vocational Rehabilitation.

  79. mfeltner says:

    As a Workforce Coordinator for eastern Kentucky I don’t normally work with clients directly. As a whole we serve Adult, Dislocated Workers, and Youth. During the recent flooding however I did work directly with clients. The clients I worked with had been affected by the floods and were in training to become Registered Nurses. In order for them to continue their training, we helped them replace things they had lost in the flood using Supportive Services money. Some items replaced were books, scrubs, shoes, and nursing supplies.

  80. Dottie Nolan says:

    I do not work directly with clients, but I have facilitated many soft skill trainings to the reentry population, especially with women. I truly love spending the day with them talking about next steps with employment, their families, their relationships and whatever else they want to discuss. The whole day is spent with just having casual conversations about who they are and listening to their stories and future plans. Some feel good about exiting the facility and returning home and finding work, but there are others who are nervous about starting over. I have been asked if I see them as criminals and I respond, “I see you as ladies.” I can say this, every person in the training is very capable of being the best employee they can be, and any employer would be blessed to call them a part of their team. They are some of the strongest women I have yet to meet. I have learned a lot from them.

  81. csexton says:

    I do not work directly with clients as a normal part of my daily job. However, there have been times when we have assisted our field staff with large events, a sudden influx of new clients during a mass layoff or natural disaster, or as part of supporting an individual staff member with assisting a client. We do experience clients with diverse backgrounds, Having open lines of communication to identify the needs of individual clients can help staff in determining the best resources that should be used.

  82. jhensley says:

    As a workforce director, I work both indirectly and directly with clients. Currently, our agency works with adults, youth (18-24), and dislocated workers. To assist these populations, we have several resources that include training assistance, interview tips, resume building, and supportive services to assist with their job search. To ensure that clients are receiving assistance tailored to their individual needs, we partner with many different agencies that can assist with housing, clothing for interviews, and assistance purchasing a vehicle.

    1. Zaida Bustamante says:

      Good afternoon, jhensley,
      We have also partnered with many other organizations that provide services in order for them to be successful. Most recently we began a relationship with the jails. This is something that we should have been doing for the longest time but the connection was not there. It is unfortunate that there was no contact because if you think about it we could have helped a reputing offender from returning to the system instead of offering our services. In fact, we have the Arizona Reentry team coming to our office to do a presentation so that we can offer services and have a better referral system and not lose the inmates or parolees.

      1. Britney.harris says:

        This sounds very interesting. It is so important to provide inmates with every opportunity to better their situation and hopefully change their lives before we just throw them back on the streets and expect them to just magically never commit another crime. Good luck! I hope it is a major success.

  83. tony.chan says:

    In my role as an Economic Development Specialist with the City of St. Petersburg, my primary concentration is on the Community Redevelopment Area (CRA) in South St. Petersburg. I collaborate with individuals from diverse backgrounds, with a significant focus on supporting re-entry hard-to-hire individuals and underprivileged youth as they transition into the workforce. The workforce programs accessible to residents within the South St. Petersburg CRA are supported through Tax Incremental Financing (TIF). These TIF funds play a crucial role in not only financing workforce initiatives but also supporting housing and business revitalization programs in the community.

  84. Zaida Bustamante says:

    Within my scope in Workforce Development in Southern Arizona, the population I see the most and work with the most are Hispanics. These are mostly Spanish speaking persons who work as migrant seasonal farm workers. Farm work is generational in this area so the grandparents, parents, and now children are in the industry. I cannot say that the grandparents want to join a training but the parent and children are the ones who are mostly interested in a training and usually it is a training within the industry.
    I am a Program Manager and EO Officer for the Adult Worker, Dislocated Worker, In school youth and out of school youth program. I do not do the case management part but I do try to work as directly as I can with the clients when I get the opportunity. I do like to get to know my clients and their background before getting into any services. A lot of them, most of them, are going through hardships so I let my case managers know that we must work with those hardships before giving them any additional luggage that they might not be able to handle in the future.

  85. fwattenberger says:

    The major groups of people I work with are Dislocated Workers, Adults who are unemployed or underemployed, In School Youth, & Out of School Youth.
    The Dislocated Workers have been laid off from a job, mostly coal mining. And the background of the Adult’s varies from long term unemployed, underemployed, and never worked. The In School Youth are mostly youth who have barriers such as a disability. And the Out of School Youth largely have no high School diploma and many are homeless.
    My clientele has shifted from many DW’s in the past to mostly Adults and ISY/OSY currently.
    Most of my clients have their basic needs met such as food, water, & shelter. Out of this category a large sector of them receive food stamps as their prime source of food. However, their greatest need is a job that pays a self-sustaining wage. They also need skills that will increase their ability to gain employment with a self-sustaining wage.
    The key resources that I use with these groups of people are: 1. A variety of assessments, both informal and formal. 2. Referrals to partners who can assist with homelessness, GED, transportation, food, etc. 3. Paid services to assist with training, work experience, books, general items for classroom training, work attire, etc. 4. Assistance with creating an individual employment plan, LMI, Resume Writing, Mock Interviews, & workshops tailored to the client need that increases their knowledge of work and work ethic as related to gaining and retaining employment.

  86. Britney.harris says:

    In my role I mainly work with Out of School Youth and underemployed/unemployed Adults. That is not to say I never work with someone that could fall under another category, but most of my clients would fall under those 2 areas. I live in a very rural, poor county in Eastern Kentucky and most of my clients are struggling in more ways than one. We have a lot of drug court referrals, homeless individuals, offenders, adults needing their GED, and etc.
    We work with partners quite often to make sure that our clients are getting all of their needs met. We send clients to Adult Ed., Food Banks, LIHEAP assistance. It really is a community effort to ensure that we are helping them meet as many of their barriers/needs as possible.

  87. sjones1 says:

    As a career advisor, I work mostly with Out of School Youth aged 18-24, Adults, and Dislocated workers. Most of these individuals fall under low income underemployed or unemployed. Some barriers my clients face is homelessness, criminal backgrounds, no prior work experience, pregnancy or parenting youth, youth in foster care or those who have aged out, and clients with mental and physical disabilities. Key resources I use include, working together to create an individual employment plan, referring them to outside sources that may assist in overcoming barriers, and using assessments to get an in depth look into their career paths. I strive daily to serve each client equally and to the best of my ability.

  88. tcampbell says:

    As a Career Advisor, I work primarily with Adults, Dislocated Workers, and with Out of School Youth. My clients face a wide variety of barriers that range from homelessness, being unemployed or with little to no work experience, to having no GED or having a criminal background. I’ve found that one barrier that they ALL seem to share is doubt, Doubt that there is help for them and that anyone cares or is willing to listen. One of the best parts of my job is when I am able to remove that barrier and see them realize their own potential and all of the resources that actually ARE available to them. I have so many resources that I use regularly to refer my clients to in order to eliminate barriers. Using online assessments to help determine what is a good fit for them and what direction we should go in for a career choice, being one of the first.
    Within our own community action agency, I have referred clients to our CSBG department for assistance with utility bills, to local food pantries for emergency food supply, to our local HUD agency for assistance with housing, and to a nearby homeless shelter for temporary emergency shelter. I have also referred clients to our on-site instructor for GED classes and for my clients who enroll into training, I refer them for paid services to assist with that such as books, assistance with fuel for travel, etc.

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