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.
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.
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:
- Traci Nolen
- Traci Nolen
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:
-Harris County Transit
-Colorado Valley Transit
-Fort Bend Transit
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:
-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
To address regional workforce challenges post-Harvey, Workforce Solutions is providing the following to eligible customers who have lost jobs because of Hurricane Harvey or find themselves unemployed for 10 weeks or more before or after the storm:
- Public Works Employment,
- Career Training
- Support Services
1. Public Works Employment
Workforce Solutions is actively seeking eligible customers to perform temporary clean-up and recovery efforts such as demolition, repair, renovation, inspection, and reconstruction of local public structures and facilities damaged due to Hurricane Harvey. Other temporary employment opportunities include direct support to families in need with local non-profits.
Once customers are determined eligible, jobs can last up to a year and pay comparable industry wages. Financial Aid and short-term training opportunities are available to those who qualify.
City of Houston - numerous temporary positions exist
Workforce Solutions is partnering with the City of Houston to provide temporary positions to help the city rebuild after Hurricane Harvey. This is a large block of jobs and Workforce Solutions will be the place that applicants come to access these opportunities. Career Office recruiters will refer eligible candidates to staffing agencies who will directly hire the candidates for the city.
Additional temporary employment opportunities, outside of the City of Houston, exist across the entire 13 County Houston-Galveston region.
- Provide customer support to customers needing employment and career training services
- If appropriate, help customers find immediate employment while also helping the customer to determine long term career goals and training needs. Staff may point out temporary (service level 3) job opportunities in Work-In-Texas that might be a perfect fit for the eligible customer. ( NDW 2017)
- Career Offices will assist customers interested to complete a financial aid application and submit it to the Financial Aid Support Center to confirm eligibility for funding. Help customer complete financial aid application while providing necessary needs assessment to determine support services for child care, transportation, clothing, and necessary tools for employment.
- Complete employment action plan with the customer.
For more information, contact: Traci Nolen, Project Manager, Gulf Coast Workforce Board, email@example.com 713-993-2468
2. Career Training
Short Term Introductory Construction Trade Courses:
In partnership with colleges across the region, Workforce Solutions is offering short-term introductory training opportunities to help meet the post-Harvey construction shortages in the Gulf Coast region. These short-term, fast-paced opportunities provide an easy way to onboard your career in electrical, plumbing, welding, HVAC Installation, and pipefitting, only to name a few, while learning basic construction skills needed to jumpstart your career in the craft trades.
We support training for high-skill, high-growth occupations.
We also offer many fast-track courses in basic construction. The courses provide short-term, fast paced opportunities that could help launch a new career. Local community colleges are currently offering introductory courses in dry-walling, plumbing, welding and HVAC installation at multiple campus locations throughout the Gulf Coast region.
Discuss all training opportunities with eligible customers and assist them with locating courses in the Eligible Training Provider System (ETPS).
3. Support Service
Customers are eligible to receive support services to help them get and keep a job. Help customer complete financial aid application while providing necessary needs assessment to determine support services for child care, transportation, clothing, and necessary tools for employment. Refer to the Financial Aid Limits Desk Aid for guidance.
Please review the following resources:
List of Fast-Track Basic Construction Courses (PDF)
Locating Fast-Track Courses in Basic Construction Desk Aid
Post Harvey Temporary Employment Opportunities
Public Works Employment Flyer
Harvey Recovery Information
Short-Term Introductory Constrution Trade Courses (PDF)
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.
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.
For more information, contact our system navigators:
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.
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.
For More Information, contact:
- Brenda Woods
713-694-5087 ext. 1801
- Brenda Woods
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.
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:
- Omar Fortune
- Omar Fortune
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.
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
Volunteers of America
Northwest Assistance Ministries
SER - Jobs for Progress
United Way Waller County
Wesley Community Center
Volunteers of America
United Way Fort Bend
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.
For more information, contact:
- Omar Fortune
- Omar Fortune