KRA Monthly Spotlight!

KRA’s Spotlight! continues to shine on a series of articles related to the Power of Partnership.  As much as they’d like, KRA programs cannot be all things to all jobseeker-customers.  Whatever the program…youth or adult, and whatever the funding…WIA or TANF, the firm’s foremost responsibility is to provide workforce development services that result in quality education and/or training that leads to meaningful and sustainable employment.  Since customers do not come to KRA with single and solitary needs, the development of strategic community partnerships expand the impact of KRA operations by providing critical, employment-enhancing auxiliary services.  Two KRA/TANF programs in Washington, DC provide an excellent example of this principle in action.

KRA’s Job Development/Placement Program*, managed by Thomas Davis, and the Work Readiness/Placement Services Program**, managed by Nicole Odom, have solidified a partnership arrangement with Deborah J. Johnson, MS, NCC, LCPC, a nationally board-certified and licensed Clinical Therapist and founder of Changing Generational Legacies, LLC.***  Through Johnson, KRA is able to provide TANF jobseekers with free Psychotherapy services onsite at their District of Columbia office.  Group sessions will be conducted in 8-week increments to allow as many customers as possible to volunteer for services, and Individual services will be scheduled with customers following a voluntary Intake Session with Johnson.  KRA/DC staff believe that building bridges to overcome mental health barriers is essential to customers’ obtaining and sustaining employment. 

Johnson is qualified to provide a unique combination of therapeutic modalities to evaluate physical and emotional wellness, identify disease, render diagnoses, and recommend treatment options. Her overall vision is to eliminate disparities among underserved communities by empowering individuals to take charge of their life and legacy. Johnson believes that one individual can redirect the course of future generations by first changing his or her thinking and then changing his or her behavior.  She will facilitate sessions that specifically address mental health challenges that impede employment and quality of life.

By all accounts, KRA/DC staff members are extremely excited about this new endeavor.  Davis stated, “Addressing mental health issues onsite will allow us to alleviate a fundamental obstacle our customers face”, and Odom added, “I’m excited about the new partnership with Changing Generational Legacies. Onsite counseling will allow our customers to be serviced in a location that is comfortable to them.  According to Eric Shakir, KRA Career Agent, who provided the original recommendation, “Ms. Johnson is highly sought after and has shared her expertise as a speaker and panelist for Black Entertainment Television Symposium, the American Counseling Association Annual Conference, the African-American Men’s Health Conference, and her work also has been featured in Counseling Today.  CGL will be a valuable asset to our KRA customers because she has the enthusiasm and experience that our customers need to assist them with their mental health needs.  She has a proven history of providing excellent services to underserved and disadvantaged communities.”

Lisa Henderson, KRA Employment Specialist, who contacted Ms. Johnson to work out the specifics of the partnership, offered, “By uncovering and treating psychosocial and behavioral barriers onsite, our customers can began to erase the stigma associated with ‘therapy’.  In addition, they can now confront the real challenges of unemployment in a therapeutic format that will ultimately propel them into successful careers and robust emotional well-being.” And, Vivian McCray, KRA Career Agent, concluded, “I am so excited about this partnership that will be especially beneficial for our demographic, who often suffer from emotional or mental health issues that go undiagnosed and untreated.  CGL is a great addition to our program!”  

*The Job Development Program provides customers, who are ready to enter the workforce, with outreach; orientation, intake, and assessment; career planning; intensive wraparound case management; job development, including structured job searches; job-specific employment/interview preparation; and follow-up services.

** The Work Readiness Program provides all services described above, with the significant addition of GED and/or occupational-skills training, for participants who need intensive job-readiness preparation.

***CGL is dedicated to researching, designing, and implementing programs that impact the mental and social well-being of individuals.  CGL focuses on leadership development by providing management consulting services and program development, and by securing collaborative partnerships with professional organizations to raise awareness and shatter myths about mental and emotional health in communities that are historically missed or hard to reach.