Our Spotlight! is shining brightly on a new collaboration between the KRA/DC TANF Employment Program (TEP), managed for the Department of Human Services; KRA/PGWorks, operated for the Prince George’s County Department of Social Services; and Emergency 911 Security, a new business partner that has demonstrated its enthusiasm and commitment to the DC Metro-area customers we serve.
Spearheaded by Anthony Featherstone, Program Manager for both TEP and PGWorks, the two programs joined forces to host the 2nd Annual Spring Job Fair, showcasing 80 capable, ready-to-work jobseekers.
Representing the Construction, IT, Maintenance, Plumbing, Protective/Security Services, and Staffing industries, 22 employers conducted interviews, hiring nine candidates on-the-spot. With Emergency 911 hiring two more, and selecting another customer for a targeted Work Experience (WEX) opportunity, the result was a 15% immediate-placement rate!
The Job Fair outcomes would have been gratifying enough, but equally impactful results emerged when Chris Vera, KRA/TEP Job Developer, who had recruited Emergency 911 for the Fair, and Darren Hayward, Senior Project Manager, explored the feasibility of a Home Improvement/Construction Workshop for both TEP and PGWorks customers.
Thus, for 19 jobseekers, Mr. Hayward, who has 20+ years’ experience in construction and security-hardware installation, conducted a 3-week, wildly-successful Workshop. Covering the basics of entry-level electrical, plumbing, and maintenance job skills, he also provided hands-on instruction in installing light fixtures, identifying the proper tools for each facet of the process.
Chris commented, “Job-skills development, not job-placement, was the intent of the Workshop. However, recognizing real potential in some of the participants, Emergency 911 hired six more customers, and chose another WEX participant!
It is a pleasure and a privilege to work with Mr. Hayward and Emergency 911. They ‘get it’ relative to our customer demographics, understanding the barriers they face–lack of childcare, inadequate education, chronic un- and under-employment, and other challenges. So, they ‘factor’ in that our jobseekers need a wider range of ‘opportunity’ to gain sustainable employment.”
Featherstone concluded, “There is no aspect of workforce development more valuable than engaging local businesses as partners, as well as employers, in preparing our customers for the demands of today’s workplace. Where would we be without the leadership and participation of local businesses, like Emergency 911, who succeed in making a positive impact on the lives of our residents, which, in turn, impacts the community and the economy.”