Vocationalizing Homeless Services SONOMA COUNTY CONTINUUM OF CARE Goal of Initiative Define a living wage for exit to Permanent Housing Increase employment of homeless individuals and families at exit Ensure that people experiencing homelessness have the opportunity and support to re-enter the job market Desired Outcome of Initiative HEARTH Act – requires system-wide reporting on 7 performance measures, including homeless persons’ growth of income and employment When we began the project 18.7% of people exiting homeless services programs have employment income Our goal is to raise the percentage exiting programs with employment income to 21% system-wide Research: Best Practice Strategies Silos-to-Systems: Connecting Vulnerable Families to Work and Incomes to Prevent and End Homelessness (Paper developed by Building Changes, Seattle, WA) Workforce Development Council of Seattle – King County Goal: Align housing and workforce interventions and coordinate with ongoing supports to facilitate access and success for those who experience or are most at risk of homelessness Research: Best Practice Strategies “Vocationalizing Homeless Services” will: Redefine the homeless provider role to support participation in the workforce system Embed the expectations, practice and service delivery of employment in all facets of program operations Establish a culture of ability and high expectations Research: Staffing Agency Surveys What type of work do you hire for? What kind of person are you looking for? What qualifications do you need? What would disqualify someone form employment with your company? How can we work with you better? Is there any way we can offer an incentive to you hiring people long-term? What is the application process? What can we do to prepare our clients for work with you? Are you aware of the bonding opportunities and tax incentives that are available when you hire from our agencies? What is your policy regarding hiring ex-offenders? Ex-felons? How do you prefer people contact you? Research: Staffing Agency Findings Recent & Relevant Experience is Key It is an Employer’s Market – they can be picky with hires Importance of Preparation(Resumes, Cover Letters, etc.) Gaps in Employment are very hard to look past Research: Staffing Agency Findings What did this mean for our group? How do we incorporate the employment training resources we have(Coach 2 Career, Joblink, etc.) throughout the entire Continuum to ensure that clients are properly prepared to compete into today’s job market? How do we build upon current vocational training programs (Catholic Charities’ Workbuild Program, COTS’ Intern Program, etc.) to give clients recent experience and training for living wage work? Standardizing Employment Preparation Reviewed Resources to avoid duplication of efforts (VOS, Coach 2 Career, etc.) Standardized online tool that would provide job search resources for all agencies in our Continuum Assessment to gauge which tools the clients should utilize Where are we now? Created the Assessment Collected the Resources Working on creating a Wiki so that all agencies would have access to these resources Need more partners to help design this implementation of the Wiki to ensure it works across the different agencies Questions? Meetings are the 2nd Tuesday of every month from 12:00pm-1:30pm at Family Support Center (465 A. Street, Santa Rosa, CA).