One of the many innovative workforce-services programs that achieves exceptional results through the KRA San Diego Metro Region Career Centers, operated for the San Diego Workforce Partnership, is Breaking Barriers San Diego (BBSD).
Critical to supporting jobseekers with mental-health challenges, including substance abuse, BBSD provides comprehensive assistance, resulting in competitive-wage employment with area businesses. BBSD also provides for 6-months’ post-placement follow-up services that support both the employer and the new employee.
Our Spotlight! is shining brightly on Olivia Young, who after release from 5 years in prison, enrolled in the Harmony Women’s Recovery Center (HWRC) for addiction treatment—a condition of parole and a requirement for custody of her son, born during her incarceration and placed with her mother.
Knowing that Olivia needed to start preparing for a “fresh-start” future, the HWRC referred her to KRA/San Diego, confident that BBSD staff had the expertise, resources, and services required to assist Olivia in finding and following a productive pathway.
A prison record and no work history were formidable barriers to overcome. However, Amy Vance, KRA/San Diego Employment Specialist, guided Olivia in developing an aggressive Individual Employment Plan, which encompassed intensive mock job-interviews, workplace-readiness skills, and most important, total honesty with potential employers.
Amy’s strategy proved successful. Two weeks after BBSD enrollment, Olivia interviewed with a local restaurant and was offered a food-service position, which she has held for 8 months now!
Her mother maintains legal custody of her son, but Olivia is happy living in the same household with him, becoming more self-reliant, and enjoying a new-found confidence that their future holds great promise.