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Special Initiative Programs

Click below for important information, including guidance for staff and project contact information for the following Workforce Solutions special initiatives: Hurricane Harvey, Income Now, Jobs Plus, Food Bank and THRIVE.

  • Hire Houston Youth


    Workforce Solutions is partnering with the City of Houston to support Mayor Sylvester Turner's summer jobs program, Hire Houston Youth. Hire Houston Youth aims to provide the young people of Houston and surrounding areas with opportunities to both earn and learn.

    From March-August 2018, the career offices will host a multitude of youth-focused job readiness seminars and hiring events in conjunction with the City's events. 

    Special Guidance

    Workforce Solutions' efforts to support Hire Houston Youth cover the entire 13-county Houston-Galveston region and not just the city of Houston. Notify all young adults (16-24) and their parents about Hire Houston Youth and provide them with a list of upcoming hiring events in the office. 

    Encourage all that are interested to attend a Fast Pass to Work job seminar before participating in any hiring events. The seminars are youth focused and are geard to help them learn how to find employment opportunities in their local area; complete a job application; market their skills and talents and excel at an interview. 

    No registration is required.

    To download customer outreach materials to use in the office for Hire Houston Youth, Click Here.

    For More Information, contact:

  • Job Candidate and Employee Transportation Pilot

    Working together, Workforce Solutions, United Way THRIVE, Houston-Galveston Area Council's Commute Solutions group and a number of transportation organizations, will expose staff, customers and businesses to mobility options such as, public transit, on-demand transit, van-pooling and car-pooling.

    We have developed a small pilot to evaluate the efficacy of integrating public transit programs into the public workforce system and providing public transit information as a service to both customers and employers. We would like to develop best practices with the intention of scaling the Job Candidate and Employee Transportation model across our system.

    We will pilot the transportation model with the following Workforce Solutions offices and THRIVE agencies to test the model in large, small, urban and rural locations:

    -Cypress Station/ Northwest Assistance Ministries
    -Conroe/ Volunteers of America
    -Northline/ Volunteers of America
    -Rosenberg/ United Way Fort Bend County
    -Southeast/ United Way Bay Area
    -Waller/ United Way Waller County

    The transportation partners are:

    -Star Vanpools
    -Harris County Transit
    -Colorado Valley Transit
    -Fort Bend Transit
    -Conroe Connection

    We will also include the Workforce Solutions employer service group(s) in the pilot. If businesses express needs or challenges finding or keeping employees due to transportation issues, we would like the employer service staff assigned to our pilot locations to provide general information and offer to make a connection to the appropriate service provider. Due to the addition of a new Workforce Solutions employer service contractor, we have delayed the integration of the employer engagement component of the pilot. We are planning a six-month pilot from April - September to introduce employers to reliable transportation solutions for their workforce.

    Timeline & Project Goals

    9 months (Jan 2018 - Sept 2018) - Customer Interest/ Referral

    -THRIVE - 10/ month
    -WS large office - 40/ month
    -WS medium office 20/ month
    -WS small office - 10/ month
    -Monthly Total - 200/ month
    -Grand Total for 9-month pilot - 1,800
    -WS Employers (6 months) - 20/ month
    -Employer Total for 6-months - 120

    Provide mobility service to - 50% of interest/ referral goals

    -THRIVE - 5/ month
    -WS large office - 20/ month
    -WS medium office 10/ month
    -WS small office - 5/ month
    -Monthly Total - 100/ month
    -Grand Total for 9-month pilot - 900
    -WS Employers (6 months) - 10/ month
    -Employer Total for 6 months - 60


    We have developed the following outreach and assessment materials:

    -Customer flyer
    -Mobility Assessment for customers
    -Staff Desk Aid and Transportation Provider Contact List
    -One-pager for businesses (in progress)
    -Employer Packet with detailed information about mobility options and contacts (work in progress)

    Documentation & Tracking

    -Career office staff will file the Mobility Assessment in DocuWare using the Mobility Assessment label
    -Career Office staff will enter TWIST notes for individual customers
    -Career Office staff will also tag customers in TWIST - "Office 5 - 2806 - Transportation Solutions"
    -Employer Service staff will document service in WIT

  • Income Now


    Workforce Solutions has partnered with the Coalition for the Homeless and other homeless service providers to help individuals experiencing homelessness find employment.

    Homeless provider employment counselors are stationed at the Workforce Solutions offices that have a higher volume of customers who experience homelessness. Currently, these offices are East End, Northline, Southwest and Westheimer.

    Similarly, Workforce Solutions employment counselors are also working at homeless shelter locations and provider sites, such as Covenant House, The Salvation Army - Harbor Light, The Salvation Army - Young Adult Resource Center, Star of Hope Men's Development Center and Star of Hope Women & Families.

    We expect the integration of the workforce and homeless service systems to lead to an improved service experience for people experiencing homelessness. By learning from our partner agencies, Workforce Solutions staff will be better prepared to provide employment assistance to those experiencing homelessness and partner agencies will better understand Workforce Solutions services and resources.

    To help with this effort, Workforce Solutions navigators will work with career office staff to help each office understand the resources available to better assist people experiencing homelessness find employment.

    Special Guidance

    Office managers should invite navigators to attend meetings and huddles to share information about Income Now, employment services and resources for individuals experiencing homelessness.

    Office managers may periodically receive surveys about the Income Now initiative. Please distribute the surveys to career office staff, and ask them to complete it. 

    There will also be opportunities for staff to participate in trainings, both in a classroom and online. We encourage all staff to visit the Learning Management System and review the eLearning - "Connecting the Dots - Homelessness and Employment."

    Income Now participants may visit any Workforce Solutions offices for service. Provide employment service as you usually would to any customer.

    If a customer requests financial aid, check TWIST for open service records and provide assistance as appropriate.  We may provide work support, work search support, and education support for both short-term and substantial assistance for Income Now participants.  This includes transportation assistance and other support during the job search.

    TWIST Data-Entry Instructions (for participating offices only)

    For more information, contact our system navigators:

  • Jobs Plus


    Jobs Plus is a pilot project among the Houston Housing Authority, Workforce Solutions and a number of various community partners to bring employment resources and support services onsite to housing communities. The initial pilot will take place at the Houston Housing Authority's Cuney Homes development, located in Houston's Third Ward.

    Jobs Plus seeks to develop locally-based, job-driven approaches to increase earnings and advance employment outcomes for residents of public housing through work readiness, employer linkages, job placement, educational advancement, technology skills, and financial literacy.

    Cuney Homes has converted an entire complex of apartment units into community space, which will house an onsite Workforce Solutions itinerant office, adult education classes, food pantry, clothes closet, mental health counseling, onsite childcare services and more.  The idea is to utilize a place-based approach to not only make access to service convenient, but to also bring a diverse set of services, resources and community partners into one location to quickly overcome job readiness challenges and help people find employment.

    Special Guidance

    Jobs Plus participants may visit any Workforce Solutions office for service. Provide employment service as you usually would to any customer.

    If a customer requests financial aid, check TWIST for open service records and provide assistance as appropriate. We may provide work support, work search support and education support for both short-term and substantial assistance for Jobs Plus participants. This includes transportation assistance and other supports during job search.

    TWIST Data-Entry Instructions (for participating offices only)  

    For More Information, contact:

  • Food Bank


    Many customers in our region face food insecurity challenges. While some are able to address these challenges through public benefits, such as the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), others still experience gaps in finding adequate food support for themselves and their families. The Houston Food Bank seeks to tackle some of these issues by distributing food to pantries and hunger relief charities throughout the region. Last year, the Houston Food Bank distributed over 74,000,000 nutritious meals!

    At Workforce Solutions, many of our customers are unemployed and face significant hurdles, such as food insecurity, when looking for work or training for a career. As a result, we have partnered with the Houston Food Bank to build awareness about Food Bank services and pantry locations as well as provide food support to eligible customers.

    Special Guidance

    1. Office Visits

    In June of 2016, Food Bank staff began visiting career offices in Harris, Montgomery and Fort Bend counties to attend office huddles and meetings to provide Workforce Solutions staff information about Food Bank services, pantry locations, and special opportunities and initiatives.

    We will contact career office managers to develop a schedule for office visits. We are also working with the Food Bank to expand service to Workforce Solutions customers in our other counties, and will notify offices as additional details develop. In the interim, staff members may refer customers to food pantry locations throughout the region.

    2. Food Scholarships

    The Houston Food Bank administers its Food for Change program, which allows select agencies to provide high-dollar food scholarships to their eligible customers. These food scholarships typically equate to 60 pounds of food every two weeks.

    New customers who are enrolling in an education and training service with Workforce Solutions are eligible to receive the food scholarship. Many of our customers begin a training program, but are unable to complete it due to having to work to pay bills or provide food support for their family. By helping to address one of these critical issues, we believe that more customers will have an opportunity to successfully complete their training programs. We are beginning this project with the Southwest and Cypress Station career offices and will work with the Food Bank to expand service to additional offices.

    Participating offices only - See documents below for detailed information regarding the food scholarship process.

    All Participating Offices:

    Food Scholarship Process (PDF)

    Food Scholarship Consent (PDF)

    Food Scholarship Script (PDF)

    3. Workforce 101

    Workforce Solutions facilitators will visit the Houston Food Bank periodically to offer Workforce 101 classes to Food Bank staff. These classes are designed to help outside organizations become more familiar with Workforce Solutions service to do a better job of connecting their customers to our system's resources and opportunities.

    Similarly, facilitators will also conduct onsite job readiness seminars for customers and Food Bank volunteers to help them find a job, keep a job or get a better job.

    We will work with the regional facilitator team and Food Bank staff to arrange seminar dates and times.

    For more information about Workforce Solutions' partnership with the Food Bank, contact:



    At Workforce Solutions we strive to help customers find a job, keep a job or get a better job. While we have a variety of services to prepare customers for well-paying career opportunities, oftentimes customers settle for an immediate job opportunity. The reality is that many of our customers are in a financial crisis mode, living paycheck to paycheck, and the prospect of getting a job, any job, far outweighs the effort needed to get a good job.

    How do we break the cycle so that more customers find good jobs and experience financial stability? The United Way THRIVE (PDF) initiative helps families earn sufficient income, coupled with responsible financial habits, to meet ordinary expenses and set aside funds for emergencies and future goals. Through United Way THRIVE, families achieve financial stability by focusing on three key strategies: increasing income, building savings and acquiring assets.

    As part of the THRIVE initiative, the Workforce Connector project blends the financial literacy resources of United Way THRIVE agencies with Workforce Solutions to provide a seamless service experience to customers by helping them access training, find employment and build financial stability.

    Additional Details

    Currently, there are ten United Way agencies paired with Workforce Solutions offices to enhance customer access to job opportunities, vocational training and financial resources:  

    Workforce Solutions Office

    THRIVE Partner


    Workfaith Connection


    Volunteers of America

    Cypress Station

    Northwest Assistance Ministries

    East End

    SER - Jobs for Progress


    United Way Waller County


    Wesley Community Center


    Volunteers of America




    United Way Fort Bend
    Family Services


    Family Services
    United Way Bay Area


    Chinese Community Center


    United Way Waller County


    Memorial Assistance Ministries

    We will work to expand the partnership model to other offices.  In the interim, we have included the full list of THRIVE partner agencies (PDF) and their respective training offerings  (XLS) for customers who need financial literacy coaching or vocational training outside of Workforce Solutions' supported career training.

    Workforce Development Professional's Guide

    We have also included a link to the THRIVE Workforce Development Professional's Guide (PDF), which contains a host of resources and information to help workforce professionals do a better job of meeting employer needs and connecting customers to employment opportunities.

    TWIST Data-Entry Instructions (for participating offices only)    

    For more information, contact: