Unemployment often feels like a maze. It can be hard to know where to turn – for CalWORKs recipients; the Career Connections Job Club is there to help.
Offered through the Department of Human Assistance’s Employment Services Division
, Career Connections Job Club is an interactive employment training program that provides strength-based skills training and an enthusiastic support team to help clients get back on their feet. After being assessed by their caseworker to determine employment barriers and overall eligibility, participants referred to Career Connections Job Club receive child care and transportation assistance, interview practice, resume rewrites, guidance in pursuing specialized certificates and learn innovative strategies for competing in today’s job market. Job Club staff work with participants to demystify the process and keep them on track with clear, achievable goals.
The journey to self-sufficiency can be particularly difficult for those without a strong support network. Before they even walk through the door participants have often already tackled a number of challenges that day – finding safe and affordable childcare, navigating public transit or arranging a ride, coordinating their schedule to fit an eight-week course. Career Connections Job Club staff know this and work hard to ensure participants receive the encouragement they need. This often comes from other participants as well and many leave with valuable friendships as well as outside resources to help them stay focused.
In the words of a Job Club veteran, “I have truly grown so much since I first started over one year ago…what once was a laissez faire attitude of mine has been taken over with a whole new amazing outlook on life. I feel great. This is exciting and honestly I would not be where I am today without you.” Another participant wrote to say, “I felt so down until you all believed in me, my courage then grew and miracles happened.”
By the end of the nearly two-month training, participants feel differently about themselves. In addition to having one-on-ones with Workforce Coordinators, Vocational Assessment Counselors and Social Workers, participants receive any necessary referrals for services such as wellness counseling and homeless assistance to help tackle any personal barriers they may be facing. Participants found this approach so helpful that 96 percent of all survey respondents said they would recommend the program to family and friends
Career Connections Job Club is one of several opportunities offered through DHA’s Employment Services division. Participants, through their case worker, can locate a community volunteer opportunity to build work skills, access a job matching tool that connects participants with opportunities through DHA’s subsidized employment providers and direct hire program. Participants who meet the criteria of a job are referred to the employer and scheduled for an interview. This provides employers with pre-screened candidates and CalWORKs
families with quality jobs.
Employment is about more than just a paycheck. It provides purpose and drive, opens up new social communities and future possibilities. It’s crucial not only because it pays the rent but because of the self-confidence it fosters. For parents in particular, finding employment has a lasting ripple effect on their relationships with their partners and children. For these reasons and more, Career Connections Job Club is just one of many employment assistance programs offered by the Department of Human Assistance
for Welfare to Work participants. DHA strives to provide clients with every opportunity to overcome obstacles and improve their lives.