Customer Service: KRA/VIEW Style – Part 1

Whether jobseekers or employers, KRA Corporation customers are the absolute center of our workforce development services and programs.  For KRA, the customer is always right, because it is that individual who best knows what they need or want when they come to us for assistance.  Thus, our job is to use all the resources we have—internal and external—to help them achieve that goal or objective.

KRA operates three types of workforce development programs.  One kind, funded through local or regional WIBs, actually are called One-Stop Career Centers and provide services to Adult and Dislocated Workers, and in some areas In-School and/or Out-of-School Youth.  Another type, broadly referred to as TANF Employment Programs (TEPs), are funded through local human- or social-services agencies for recipients of public assistance.  The third kind of program is really a unique combination of the first two, providing services to both TANF, non-TANF, and other eligible customers.

This article focuses on a TEP—the VIEW Program, operated by KRA for the Norfolk Department of Human Services (NDHS).  VIEW stands for Virginia Initiative for Employment not Welfare, aptly describing the Program’s commitment to both the jobseeker- and employer-customers it serves.  “TEPS” may not have “one-stop” in their nomenclature, but for KRA, operationally, they might as well.

The NDHS website states, “VIEW provides job readiness, job search, and job development/placement services. Child care, transportation, and other services are included to give a participant the best opportunity to enter and remain in the workforce.”  There are unique aspects of VIEW—representing both program and staff accomplishments that attest to the commitment of one-stop customer service—which are well worth highlighting.  Two are featured below; others will be presented in future articles, including success stories of customers, who through gaining self-sufficiency also gained a renewed sense of pride in themselves and for their children.

  • KRA/VIEW employees are co-located with NDHS staff as integral components of the Norfolk Workforce Development Center (WDC) system.  Alisha Bazemore, Program Manager, commented “Rarely, if ever, is a jobseeker-customer referred to us with a single, solitary need: employment.  Joblessness is an extremely stressful condition, and often is the root cause of many other life-stressors.  This is one reason, as the VIEW Program operator, KRA is so fortunate to be co-located with NDHS employees and other WDC staff.  As a cohesive unit, we can effectively integrate the customer’s employment needs with the amelioration of other family dynamics that may present serious obstacles to successful job-readiness and placement.  Areas needing attention may be related to effective early childhood education, health and nutrition, homelessness, medical insurance, prisoner re-entry, etc. Our ability to collaborate with one another—with the “whole” customer at the center of our efforts—is about as good as it gets in our industry.”
  • An article in the June 2013 issue of Have You Heard—the NDHS newsletter in which Program achievements are regularly featured—headlined “National Customer Service Award Goes to KRA/VIEW‘s Tiffany Haynes” and reported that the KRA Instructor Supervisor for the VIEW Job Readiness Program (JRP), had won the National Association of Workforce Development Professional’s Jodie Spiegel Enhancement of Customer Service Award, due to her “distinct customer-service skills and abilities, building relationships that reflect a true advocacy for the workforce development profession. Under Ms. Haynes’ leadership, the JRP’s reputation as a rather formal job-skills training program has been transformed and re-born as a holistic learning experience, fueled by Ms. Haynes’ positive synergy, superb customer service, and engaging instructional style.  Ms. Haynes exhibits leadership qualities in managing the class-room environment, coalescing community resources, and creating innovative instructional programs.”

Part 2 of this series on Customer Service: KRA/VIEW Style will appear in a future posting soon.