KRA Program is Lifeline for Dislocated Workers

KRA’s workforce development programs for Dislocated Workers successfully provide quality employment and training services to assist eligible jobseekers in qualifying and finding meaningful employment, as well as to help employers find the skilled workers they need to compete and succeed in business.  Essentially, to qualify for the program, an individual must have been terminated or laid off (or received a notice of termination or layoff), and is eligible for or has exhausted unemployment insurance (UI) benefits.  Once eligibility is confirmed, dislocated jobseekers qualify for an intensive set of KRA services that includes comprehensive assessments, development of individual employment plans (IEP), counseling/career planning, occupational training/re-training, and, of course, job-search and placement assistance.  Additional “supportive services” such as child/dependent care, housing, and transportation assistance are also available to allow an individual to participate in the program.  Below are representative examples of how KRA serves the needs of Dislocated Workers in the Waccamaw Region of  South Carolina:

Barbara Aaron, a 59-year-old mother of two, enrolled in KRA’s Dislocated Workers Program on August 9, 2010, after being laid-off by the local arm of a worldwide manufacturer and supplier of electronic components.  Her chances of being called back to work were slim-to-none.  Based on an assessment of Barbara’s abilities, aptitudes, and interests, she and Jamie White, KRA Career Agent, decided that she should pursue re-training in the high-growth Health Care industry.  Aware of the training opportunities available under the TAACCCT Grants Program*, White recommended the Medical Record Coder Program at Horry Georgetown Technical College.  Barbara agreed, applied, and was accepted.  White reported, “Barbara was a little intimidated about going back to school after so many years, but her fears were unfounded.  She studies really hard and has made the President’s list for the last three semesters!  Barbara expects to graduate in August, so we’re already focusing on potential job-placement opportunities for her.  Also, it turns out that Barbara is quite a writer. Her English instructor from last semester stated that one of her assignments was so well written, he wants to use it as an example for his classes! I am so pleased that Barbara’s ‘hidden talents’ are coming to light. ”

*The Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grants Program provides community colleges, and other eligible institutions of higher education, with funds to expand and improve their ability to deliver education and career training programs that (1) can be completed in 2 years or less, (2) are suited for workers who are eligible for training under the Trade Adjustment Assistance for Workers program, and (3) prepare participants for employment in high-wage, high-skill occupations. The targeted population of this Program is workers who have lost their jobs or are threatened with job loss as a result of foreign trade.  In 2010, the TAACCCT Grants Program was amended to include the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act.

Louis Jackson met with Gwendolyn Brown, KRA Career Agent, on July 27, 2011. During intake, Brown discovered that Louis, who was 55, and married with no children, had been employed with a local School District as a custodian, and had been laid-off…for the second time…as a result of District-wide reductions-in-force.  Brown certified Louis as an eligible Dislocated Worker, and began working with him through the process: first, comprehensive assessments and development of an IEP, then career planning/counseling, followed by occupational-skills training, through the TAACCCT Grants Program, in commercial driving/trucking.

Louis was diligent in completing assessments, submitting required documents, ensuring that his resume was in the state-wide VOS (Virtual One-Stop) System jobs database, and regularly checking in with Brown.  Subsequently, based on his application and a stellar 10-year driving record, Louis was accepted for a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) course with a local school that specialized in over-the-road driving.  Soon after he started training, unexpectedly, Louis was called back to the School District. Since he was receiving UI benefits, as a result of the second lay-off, Louis had to return to work…but, he really wanted a shot at a new career.  He and Brown contacted the school and inquired about the possibility of Louis attending training on the week-ends, which was acceptable to the company.  Brown reported, “While Louis was in training, school personnel remarked to me that he was a highly committed student and was always on-task. So, it was no surprise to me that when he completed the course, he had no trouble getting his CDL.”

Brown continued, “While Louis continued working as a custodian, we pursued employment opportunities for him in the field for which he was now trained and licensed.” In December 2011, Louis informed Brown that he was giving notice to the School District because he had found a job and would begin over-the-road driving for a local trucking company on January 2, 2012.  Brown concluded, “Louis continues to express his appreciation to KRA for the assistance he received here.  He is pleased with his career choice, and is already earning almost double the minimum wage, which is also $3.35 more than his previous job. We are all very pleased with Louis’ success. ”