Integrated Services Results

A Single Point of Service: KRA & Washington DC Department of Human Services

KRA Corporation is funded by the Washington, DC Department of Human Services to operate two co-located TANF Employment Programs (TEP), i.e. Job Development and Placement for customers who are ready-to-work, and Work Readiness and Placement for those who are not yet prepared to enter the workforce.

These services are critical to the local economy, as DC experiences the 4th-highest unemployment rate, on average, of  51 (50 States and DC) jurisdictions, attributable–in part–to many unemployed individuals lacking the job skills  necessary to obtain living-wage employment.  Exacerbating an already serious situation, many jobseekers also struggle with undiagnosed and/or untreated developmental, emotional, mental, and/or physical disabilities, creating additional barriers to achieving self-sustaining employment.

TANF recipients form a subset of this generally hard-to-place population, and through intensive case-management investigation, KRA/TEP Career Agents began identifying customers who appeared to be experiencing disability-related barriers, and in need of targeted remedial services. Thus, after reviewing their findings, they reached out for assistance to the DC Department of Health (DOH) and the DC Department on Disability Services (DDS), which formalized a partnership with KRA through a Memorandum of Agreement.

Subsequently, a DDS Case Manager works out of the KRA/TEP office, 2 days a week, providing assessment, intake, supplemental case-management, and customized job-placement services for customers with any type of disability.  In addition, DOH is providing monthly SNAP-Ed (Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program Education) Workshops for customers experiencing health-related challenges due to poor nutritional practices.

Under previous operating procedures, Career Agents had to refer these special-needs customers to DDS for services.  Now, as a result of KRA’s integrated services approach, TEP jobseekers with disabilities are receiving the counseling, medication, and/or treatment needed under a single point-of-service delivery system, enhancing their opportunities for successful employment and career advancement.

Systemic Approach Drives Efficiency: KRA & Capital Workforce Partners, North Central CT

The North Central Region of Connecticut is challenged by an unemployment rate of 10.7% (August 2015), which is higher than both the State and national averages. This is due, in part, to much of the available workforce lacking the experience, skills, and/or training to qualify for local employers’ job openings, creating a skills-gap leading businesses to recruit talent from outside the Region.  This already critical challenge is compounded by an aging workforce that is nearing retirement age, and a lack of future talent to replace their skills.

KRA Corporation is funded by Capital Workforce Partners (CWP), the Region’s Workforce Board,  to provide intensive and integrated workforce services for WIOA and TANF jobseekers through CTWorks,  an American Job Center operation of four One-Stop Centers and a satellite office at The Hartford Public Library.

Through successful CWP-funding partnerships, KRA has been able to expand CTWorks services for jobseekers through many special-population programs, including Disability Employment Services, the Free to Succeed Program, and the Secure Jobs Initiative.

Disability Employment allows WIOA customers, who are also eligible for the Ticket to Work program for those receiving SSI/SSDI benefits, to receive additional support for their employment goals through collaboration with the Division of Rehabilitation Services and its branch agencies.

Employed ex-offenders, referred to Free to Succeed through internal WIOA and TANF program sources, as well as community-based organizations, work with specially-trained Career Agents who support them in retaining employment and succeeding in the workforce.  They also assist their customers with applying for Certificates of Employability and/or pardons from the Board of Parole and Pardons, CT Department of Corrections.

The Secure Jobs Initiative, a collaborative CTWorks partnership between CWP, Community Health Resources, Journey Home, and the cities of Hartford and New Britain secures stable housing for homeless customers, or those facing homelessness, to improve their chances in finding employment that provides self-sufficiency and sustained housing.

KRA/CTWorks  also partners with regional adult-education programs, with staff providing career counseling for individuals receiving GED and ESL instruction through Adult Education East/West Hartford, Hartford, and Manchester, as well as Vernon Adult Education.

CTWorks‘ systemic, integrated services model increases efficiency by decreasing duplication and fragmentation of regional workforce-related services, resulting in a seamless system focused on innovative and exceptional customer service.  

KRA’s Knowledge2Careers Academy: Preparing Youth for the Future

In the California communities of Long Beach and Signal Hill, more than 20% percent of youth are unemployed. With funding from the Pacific Gateway Workforce Development Board (PGWDB), in partnership with the City of Long Beach, and with the support from many public- and private-sector organizations, KRA Corporation is addressing this threat to our youths’ future through the Knowledge2Careers (K2C) Academy.

KRA/K2C enjoys the full support of the Office of the Long Beach Mayor, Dr. Robert Garcia, whose “CALL” initiative, the heart of the Long Beach Internship Challenge, is supported by the PGWDB, the Long Beach Unified School District, Long Beach City College, and California State University-Long Beach (CSULB), all pledging to intensify efforts to provide more internships for youth, thereby developing a more educated and prepared workforce.

In addition, KRA/K2C has partnered with other organizations, including the Long Beach Unified School District’s Youth Employment Network, Transition Age Youth Academy, and the Educational Partnership High School to provide next-level career and educational guidance to prepare youth for high-demand careers.  YMCA Change Agent Productions, the CSULB Educational Opportunity Center, and the Harbor Association of Industry and Commerce are also valuable KRA/K2C partners, providing enrolled youth with additional academic remediation, educational advancement, work experience, and employment opportunities.

KRA/K2C equips youth to qualify for high-demand careers, within the Long Beach labor-market demographic, through occupational-skills training that is linked directly to educational attainment and national, industry-recognized credentialing in Manufacturing and Logistics, Microsoft Office, and Retail and Customer Sales and Service. Additionally, all enrolled youth are eligible to receive the National Work Readiness Certification offered through the PGWDB.

Enrolled youth are also provided “soft skills” development training, including work-readiness and retention skills; enhanced self-awareness as it relates to communication, judgment, and engagement in the workplace; budgeting and financial literacy; and civic-leadership participation.

The comprehensive array of resources available through the KRA/K2C partnership-network provides a cohesive integrated service-delivery system, resulting in promising career opportunities–and bright futures–for young people in the region.