KRA’s Camden, New Jersey, operation, which provides community work experience, educational preparation, and occupational skills training for Out-of-School Youth and TANF and General Assistance populations, has initiated a Pantry Points Program. A KRA innovation, first introduced for the Connecticut CTWorks program in January 2010, the Pantry is an incentive program, i.e., Camden customers who meet their program plan requirements can earn points and redeem them at the Pantry for a wide variety of personal and household products, such as toothpaste, soap, shampoo, dishwashing liquid, and many other everyday necessities. Karen Darby, KRA Career Agent, stated, “The Pantry has only been open for 2 months and already it is successful, having significantly boosted customer compliance with attendance, class participation, certification, and other requirements. Customers are very excited about redeeming their points for items they can get, and the money they can save! For many program participants, these non-perishable items are a blessing when circumstances sometime leave them with little to spend on anything other than food and clothing.”
KRA/CTWorks’ staff presented its innovative Pantry Point Program at the 4th Annual New England Professional Development Conference for Workforce Development Professionals in 2010, and it was extremely well-received as an example of a successful customer-incentive program. Since its inception, the Pantry has distributed more than 59,000 items, representing more than 9,900 orders, to CTWorks’ program participants.