Natividad Perez, Job Developer at KRA’s multi-service* Job Skills Training Directly Related to Employment Program in Camden, New Jersey, was working hard to meet the employment goals for the Program’s jobseeker-customers. But as the winter months passed, she became really concerned; the Program’s business-customers were slow in responding to her inquiries about their hiring needs. But then the weather began to warm up, and so did Perez’s spirits. The office was suddenly alive with positive energy; the phones started ringing on May 1st, and didn’t stop until the 25th.
During that time frame, 20 customers began working for a dozen different employers representing an impressive cross-section of local private and public industries: Allied Health/Medicine [Cooper Medical Center and Vital Services Home Care], Entertainment [Loews Theater], Multi-Media Communications [Comcast], Sports [Riversharks Campbell Field], Retail [Dollar Tree and Walmart], Warehousing and Maintenance [Public Storage and Total Maintenance], Restaurant [Outback Steak House], Professional Services [Accounts Receivable Management], and Sanitation [Mt Ephraim Public Works].
Customers hired also represented the Program’s diverse job-seeker population: 11 TANF, five General Assistance, three Open Entry participants, and one Out-of-School Youth participant. An elated Perez reported, “The movement of all of the hires in and out of the office was positively electric! Our customers now have a more positive outlook and are more motivated than ever to stay in compliance with our requirements, to meet regularly with their Job Developer, and to complete job applications when requested.”
*KRA Camden operates four distinct programs for its jobseeker populations: (1) The Community Work Experience/Job Skills Training Program for TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) participants; (2) the General Assistance Program for public-assistance recipients who do not have children in their care; (3) the Open-Entry Program for customers “under sanction”, i.e., without TANF benefits due to noncompliance; and (4) the Youth Employability and Success Program for Out-of-School Youth.