“Workforce Development” is a strategy focused on increasing an individual’s self-sufficiency by assisting them as they prepare to enter the workforce, find and apply for jobs, and gain employment. The ultimate goal is reaching success in the workplace and establishing a long-lasting career.
All of our clients are required to attend an orientation session before enrolling in our Workforce Development Program. When they attend, the first thing our staff asks is for each potential client to introduce him or herself and to tell the group what job they want to look for.
Instead of saying “I’ll take any job I can get,” we encourage people to identify specific career paths in which they have experience or could choose to begin.
Our program is set up to help each individual identify their own skills, talents, and barriers to employment. That will allow them to understand what kind of jobs they could potentially excel in and enjoy.
You must be aware of the jobs available to you to get the most out of your job search. Our Workforce Development Specialists guide clients while they explore the job market in relation to their personal characteristics and skills they have discovered.
An essential function of our Workforce Development team is the Job Developer. This person goes out into the community to tell local employers about our program and to inform them about the pipeline of workers our program is able to produce.
The Job Developer collects information from employers about open positions, what skill level is required, and if they accept applications from individuals with criminal background barriers. Our Workforce Development Specialists then use that information to present clients with a wide-range of employment options and opportunities. The program also works with a coalition of service-providers who help to coordinate resources for those whose criminal backgrounds pose a barrier to employment, the Southwestern Pennsylvania Reentry Coalition (SPARC).
Our clients benefit from access to the network of employers, built by our program, who are ready to willing to hire. We have regular employer participation in our weekly Job Clubs, such as Mock Interviews, Job Fairs, and employer presentations.
Once our clients identify their skills and learn how to navigate the job market, they can begin to pick out what jobs or career paths would be a fit for them. Carefully choosing a career, rather than just accepting any employment that provides income, helps promote job retention.
Unlike temp agencies, our program is not set up to find our clients jobs. Instead, we work with them and encourage them to get out on their own to visit businesses in person, fill out applications, and get the interviews, while assisting to remove barriers and connect them to resources as necessary.
Also a topic in weekly Job Clubs, our clients work with us to create their own resumes and cover letters. We have a computer lab for our clients to use to make these documents and to search for jobs. If clients need some assistance learning to use a computer, they can enroll in our 8-week computer literacy program to help build their skills. We connect clients to resources they need.
Do you have more questions about the Workforce Development Program? Let us know what else you would like to know in the comments below. To sign up for orientation, call 412-464-4000.