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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.

  • HURRICANE HARVEY, 2017 REBUILD YOUR FUTURE AND THE GULF COAST

    Overview:

    To address regional workforce challenges post-Harvey, Workforce Solutions is providing Public Works Employment, career training, and support services 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. 

    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 – 400 temporary positions exist

    Currently, Workforce Solutions is partnering with the City of Houston to provide over 400 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 Offices must determine candidates eligible before they can be considered for a temporary position. Career Office recruiters will help source candidates and 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.

    Special Guidance:

        • Provide customer support to affected Hurricane Harvey and long term unemployed customers needing employment and career training services

        • Assist customers to help them find immediate employment while also determining long term career goals and training needs.

        • Share temporary (service level 3) job opportunities in Work-In-Texas that might be a perfect fit for the eligible customer. ( NDW 2017)

        • If applicable, determine NDW eligibility and 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.

        • Once eligibility is determined, assist the customer to apply online with assigned staffing agency and refer customer contact information to the recruiter assigned to the NDW 2017 temporary job posting.

    For more information, contact: Traci Nolen, Project Manager, Gulf Coast Workforce Board, traci.nolen@wrksolutions.com 713-993-2468

    Please include a link for the additional guidance to:

    Hurricane Harvey Desk Aid (DOC)

     

    Process for Filling and Tracking Temporay NDW2017 Jobs (DOC)

     

    Post Harvey Public Works Employment Opportunities (Customer Flyer) (PDF)

     

    Public Works Employment Flyer (Local Governments) (PDF)

     
     

    Turnaround Houston Disaster Recovery Flyer (PDF)

     
  • Income Now

    Overview

    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

    Overview

    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

    Overview

    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:

  • THRIVE

    Overview

    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 OfficeTHRIVE Partner
    AstrodomeWorkfaith Connection
    Neighborhood Centers Inc.
    Cypress StationNorthwest Assistance Ministries
    East EndSER - Jobs for Progress
    KatyUnited Way Waller County
    NorthlineVolunteers of America
    RosenbergUnited Way Fort Bend
    Family Services
    SoutheastNeighborhood Centers Inc.
    Family Services
    United Way Bay Area
    SouthwestChinese Community Center
    WallerUnited Way Waller County
    WestheimerMemorial 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: