Last month, KRA Customer Gains Employment…and a Place to Call Home featured a homeless-jobseeker served by our Greater Hartford AJC. This month, another tale emerges from our San Diego Metro Career Centers. Sadly, from Connecticut to California—and every KRA program in between—there is no shortage of stories. One east-coast operation reports that 1/3 of customers have experienced homelessness.
Regardless of the contributing circumstances, job-hunting as a homeless person presents a harsh, and perhaps—for those without assistance and support—insurmountable barrier to sustainable employment.
As November draws to a close, so does National Homelessness Awareness Month for 2016. However, the end of November is also the end of an OJT contract that resulted in a bright future for Ernesto, 28, whose relocation from Nevada presented severe under-employment challenges. Low-paying, part-time jobs were not self-sustaining, consequently forcing him to live in his car.
At the Metro Career Center, operated by KRA for San Diego Workforce Partners, Ernesto worked diligently with Tina Nichols, Career Agent, and Laura Bowden, Business Services Representative, whose expert knowledge of job-training programs, supported by KRA employer-partners, contributed to identifying the best match for his aptitudes, interests, and skills.
Following intensive career counseling and workforce-readiness workshops—as well as gift-cards for gas, clothing, and other interviewing essentials—Laura negotiated an OJT contract with Althea CMO (Contract Manufacturing Organization) for Ernesto as a Manufacturing Assistant at $18.25/hour, plus overtime-pay.
Promoted to Team Lead, 3 months into the 6-month contract, the employer commented, “We need more Ernesto’s to hire.” Now, in a permanent-job status, Ernesto enjoys generous fringe benefits, including the opportunity to attend college through tuition-reimbursement. Sharing housing with a couple of co-workers, Ernesto knows that, in time, he will again have his own place to call home.
On a national level, the National Alliance to End Homelessness “focuses on effective, efficient solutions…to ending homelessness” for all. On a community level, KRA also focuses on effective, efficient solutions—workforce-education, occupational-skills training, and sustainable job-placement—to ending homelessness for one customer at a time.