The “Team Approach” to Employment
Through trial and error over the past 20 years, Beyond Shelter developed an innovative, individualized, client-centered, team approach to helping TANF parents, particularly those in single-parent households, to transition successfully from welfare dependency to employment. In the “team approach,” a case manager and employment counselor work closely together with each participant over time, helping her to address each barrier, while moving her slowly toward independence and self-sufficiency. While the case manager addresses basic issues related to family stability and resources, such as housing, child care, money management, household management and transportation, the employment counselor focuses on employment-related needs and addresses psychological barriers that prevent women from participating in job development and job placement activities. Once the barriers have been overcome and the client is employed or in training, the case manager and employment counselor continue to share responsibility to promote job retention, providing appropriate interventions and support for the new worker and her family for at least a 12-month time period. The team of case manager and employment counselor can provide a valuable resource to the employer willing to hire TANF recipients with little or no previous employment histories. The basic responsibilities of each are described below.
The Role of a Case Manager
- Conducts a Family Needs Assessment and identifies strengths and weaknesses
- With all family members, develops an individualized Family Transition Plan
- Provides one year of case management support to help the family follow through on the plan
- Provides ongoing crisis intervention support and counseling to help the client through the transition from welfare to work.
The Role of an Employment Counselor or Specialist:
- Conducts an Employment Needs Assessment, identifying psychological and other barriers to employment
- Develops an individualized Welfare-to-Work Plan to address the barriers
- Provides individualized job readiness activities and pre-employment counseling and support
- Provides direct job placement and ongoing support to the client to ensure job retention
- Maintains contact with the employer and case manager during the transition from welfare to work
Participants should be identified in two job readiness areas: those with employment potential and those with employment histories. Formerly employed adults can often participate immediately in job placement activities. Participants should be assessed through personal interviews that examine needs, desires, abilities and interests. Barriers to training and employment should be candidly discussed and background checks made in order to help plan ways to overcome barriers.
The team approach and individual activities targeted to a participant’s particular strengths and weaknesses can be easily integrated into many existing programs. Provision of individualized job development and placement support might include the creation of a functional resume, identification of appropriate entry-level jobs, obtainment of interview clothing and the development of a job search strategy.
(Reports, studies and other resources that support the “team approach model: coming soon.)