KRA customers enrolled in the Work Participation, Placement, and Support Services Program, operated for the Baltimore City Department of Social Services, are required to complete KRA’s Job Readiness Program (JRP) prior to occupational-skills training and/or job-placement opportunities.
Prior to March 2020, JRP workshops were conducted in person, classroom-style—not a suitable venue with the onset of pandemic-related physical-distancing requirements.
However, KRA/Baltimore City remained responsible for providing JRP workshops—critical to successful career-development planning—that focus on workplace-readiness skills, e.g. resume-building, interviewing, and dressing for success and soft-skills development, e.g. worksite communications and problem-solving.
Inspired by the Baltimore City School System’s virtual-learning program, Alyssa Elliott, KRA/Baltimore City Operations Manager, a Senior Career Agent at the time, established an innovative Google Classroom system for JRP participation.
Since May 2020, an average of 170 customers a week have been registering in Google Classrooms led by their Career Agent and an assigned Subject Matter Expert (SME), who facilitates and monitors the classes. Once registered, they are able to enroll in that week’s classes and access related assignments.
Inside the “classroom”, customers can make comments or pose questions to their Career Agents and SMEs, and access informational posts on valuable community resources and services.
Ms. Elliott stated, “We are pleased with the positive feedback from customers on the ease of taking classes at home, avoiding transportation and child-care challenges, having flexible timeframes for completing courses, and communicating with me and the SMEs one-on-one when they need to.
“Many comment on the value of the option to take courses on non-traditional JRP topics, e.g. local food pantries, summer activities for children, and mental-health resources for dealing with feelings of anxiety, isolation, and/or depression brought on or exacerbated by the onset of the public-health crisis.”
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