Another KRA Lifeline: Adult Workers Program

Last week, we took a look inside KRA’s successful workforce development programs for Dislocated Workers in the Waccamaw Region of South Carolina.  Essentially, dislocated jobseekers have been terminated or laid off (or received notice of termination or layoff), and are eligible for (or have exhausted) unemployment insurance (UI) benefits.  Question: What if the customer wasn’t laid off or fired, and is just plain “unemployed?” Answer: KRA’s Adult Workers Program, which provides quality employment and training services to assist jobseeker-customers in qualifying for and finding meaningful employment, as well helps employer-customers find the skilled workers they need to compete and succeed in business.  Jobless Adult Workers  qualify for an intensive set of KRA services: comprehensive assessments, development of Individual Employment Plans (IEP), counseling/career planning, occupational training/re-training, and, of course, job-search and -placement assistance. Additional “supportive services” such as child/dependent care, housing, and transportation assistance are also available to allow customers to participate in the program. Below is a representative example of how KRA serves the needs of unemployed Adult Workers in the Waccamaw Region.

Karen Correia is 54 years old, married, and has no children.  Unemployed since March 2011, she came into the KRA office on June 21, 2011 with an interest in pursuing a new career path.  During the intake session with Joseph Watson, KRA Career Agent, it became obvious that Karen considered herself “underemployed and undercompensated”, and wanted to train for a new career.  Watson reported, “Karen’s career goal included two major objectives: that it provide more security than her previous clerical positions, and that it pay more than minimum wage.” Almost immediately, Joseph thought of the Healthcare sector, a high-growth industry that is projected to grow in the future due to advances in medical knowledge/technology, as well as the increased need for medical services by an aging population. But first, there were specialized assessments to be completed, as well as Karen’s IEP.

After completing the career-assessment process, Karen and Watson began to seriously consider training in the Healthcare area.  Watson commented, “We decided Karen would be a good fit for Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) training. With several options available, she decided to attend the Professional Medical Training Center for her CNA classes. Karen was approved for an ITA*, so she started class on August 2, 2011, completed it, and received her license on September 9th, 2011! We discussed the option of her taking more classes…like EKG and Phlebotomy…but Karen was anxious to get a job as soon as possible.”  Because the KRA job-placement process is a collaborative one between Career Agent and customer…and encourages self-directed job-search activity…both are engaged in uncovering job opportunities.  Watson concluded, “We discussed different healthcare businesses in the area, and I supported her when she applied to a few places not currently in our job system. The position Karen was hired for was actually a job she found on her own. I was very proud of her initiative.”  On November 29, 2011, Karen started working as a Certified Nursing Assistant at a local Healthcare facility, earning $9.00 an hour.  Through KRA’s Adult Workers Program, both of her career objectives had been met successfully.

*An ITA (Individual Training Account) is a voucher, funded under Title I of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), that is granted to eligible KRA customers who need occupational-skills training to become gainfully employed or re-employed. Paid through WIA directly to the training provider, an ITA voucher allows Adult (and Dislocated Worker Program participants) Program jobseekers to pay for the cost of approved training services from eligible providers they select in consultation with the KRA Career Agent. Supported by assessment and informed decision-making, KRA customers can use their ITAs to purchase training slots in any program on the statewide approved program/provider list. An ITA is provided only after a comprehensive assessment of customer needs and area demand occupations, and in accord with the policies of the local Workforce Investment Board.