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Workforce Innovation Submitted By:
WorkForce Central

Employment and Housing Navigator

Innovation photo or program logo

Community Challenge/Problem

WorkForce Central identified a need to increase participation by homeless families in the workforce development system, as they face specific barriers that keep them from accessing and engaging in employment and training services. WorkForce Central applied for a grant to leverage resources and allow for combined case management to work with individual families and engage them in services. This comes at a time when TANF benefits are being ended for families who have received benefits for over 60 months.

Board Solution/Innovation

WorkForce Central obtained a grant funded by the Washington State Building Change Project through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. These funds are being leveraged with WIA dollars and Washington Family Funds to prepare families for the workforce. The grant specifically funds an Employment and Housing Navigator, who will work with individual families that are currently homeless or at risk of becoming homeless to identify occupational training needs and job readiness skills. A partnership of case managers from WorkForce Central, DSHS and Pierce County Housing Authority are working together to identify barriers to employment with these families and engage them in the employment and training services through WorkForce Central.

Outcomes & Results

Ten participants are currently engaged in the program. Seven of the ten are enrolled in a Certified Nursing Assistant program with a local college and will be completing their course March 2011. Three other participants are engaged in intense case management with DSHS, Pierce County Housing Authority and WorkForce Central. The outcome of this project will be self sufficient families, as a result of their engaging in employment and training opportunities and support received from the program.

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