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Final Products Report

  1. 1. WIRED Final Products Memo Facilitated Employment Program for Offenders (FEPO) Product User The product user will be community based private or non-profit organizations desiring to implement job readiness programs targeting those with a criminal background. Additional users could include corrections staff located inside prisons, jails, work release centers or half-way houses, as well as probation and parole agents; workforce development/job service centers; faith- based organizations; prison or urban ministries; or various government entities. Target Audience The target audience is those interested in reviewing and/or replicating WIRED Funded Offender Program. Product Use The outcome for using this product will vary based on the viewer’s needs, and will fall into one of the following situations: program replication, program modification, or simply utilizing resources or elements of the program. Program Replication Program replication or duplication can be accomplished quite easily due to the fact that the “model” has a simplistic designis simple – find candidates, assess them, offer orientations and enrollment into program, fill out paperwork, put a plan together to meet participant goals, create job opportunities and placements, and follow up. The other elements of the program can be pieced together based on an organization’s needs, resources, and community relationships. FEPO will make available any needed documents or resources to assist others in replicating this program in their area. Program Modification As was mentioned above, the FEPO model is a replicable modelrelatively simple. Any aspect of it can be modified to suit a particular organization’s needs, resources, interest, and funding. 1
  2. 2. Utilizing Resources or Key Elements of FEPO There may be organizations or entities out there that do not wish to replicate or modify FEPO, but rather, would be interested in utilizing key resources developed by FEPO staff. Again, FEPO will make available any needed documents, resources, or information to assist others in better serving those with a criminal background. WIRED Final Products Report PROGRAM CONTEXT, PURPOSE, AND FUNCTION History and Context In July and August of 2007, Kaiser Group, Inc. and WDI successfully facilitated a seven- week case management and employment pilot for Huber inmates. During the pilot, intensive one-on-one case management and business services were offered to assist Huber inmates with job preparation skills and guided efforts to secure employment. Services included intensive case management, resume and application completion, mock interviewing, job seeking skills and facilitated connections with area employers. In summary, 75% of those who were offered case management services became employed, and one-third of those individuals were still employed one year later. In an effort to continue this innovative approach, Kaiser Group, Inc. and WDI proposed a one-year demonstration project designed to facilitate employment for the offender population (FEPO). We proposed to continue the work with Huber inmates and to expand case management and business services program to include anyone with a criminal background. By combining intensive case management services such as one-on-one counseling, job preparedness workshops, basic education and training opportunities with business services such as individualized job marketing and development, employer linkages, and retention services, we expected to see effective job placements and reduced recidivism rates. Based on our research of similar programs throughout the state of Wisconsin, and from experience in the Huber Pilot Program, our realistic industry targets were the manufacturing and food service industry. Other industries such as hospitality would also be targeted. Our hope was that through intensive case management and business services support, we could place customers into employment and discuss the key elements that can move them up the career ladder. We 2
  3. 3. planned to capitalize on the career pathway model that Technical Colleges had already begun, and intended to work closely with Waukesha County Technical College in an effort to get our participants on the career ladder to gainful manufacturing jobs. This workforce innovation targeted the offender population in Waukesha County. We planned to have discussions and work with Ozaukee and Washington Counties to explore their interest and capabilities in delivering this project. Our goal was to not only to assist the offender population in Waukesha County but across the Southeastern Wisconsin region as well. Waukesha County Huber Facility In order to work effectively with the Huber population, orientation sessions would be held at Huber following work search orientation meetings with the Huber correctional counselor. At this session, the Case Manager would give a comprehensive overview of the facilitated employment program. Interested inmates would receive an assessment/intake form to complete and then enroll in the program. Immediately following selection to the program, participants would work with a Case Manager and later a Business Services Representative to develop an Individual Employability Plan. They then would begin to acquire job readiness skills and employer connections. Supportive service needs would be evaluated and referrals and linkages made in order to ensure success. Participants securing employment would receive follow-up and retention services for a one-year period. These services would include one-on-one reviews to discuss goals and supportive services necessary for job retention. Employers would be encouraged to participate in these reviews. The main goal would be for Huber inmates to secure employment within a 30-day period and remain in Huber with work release privileges. Waukesha County Jail In an effort to work effectively with the Waukesha County Jail inmates, we determined that an orientation session should be held approximately six months prior to the inmate’s release. The orientation would allow attendees to sign up for workshops and case management services designed to make a successful transition into Waukesha County communities. If already assigned a probation/parole officer, the officer would be contacted to keep him/her informed of the inmate’s involvement and progress during the pre and post-release program period. Workshops would be conducted on a monthly basis with a focus on job readiness skills including 3
  4. 4. resume and job application preparation; interviewing skills; occupational interest assessments; labor market information; job availability; and career path information. Inmates who successfully participated in the workshops would be offered case management; business services connections, and retention services for the purpose of securing and maintaining employment. Department of Corrections – Probation and Parole In an effort to work effectively with individuals who are on probation and parole, job readiness workshops similar to those offered to the jail inmates would be offered. These workshops would be conducted at the Department of Corrections, Pewaukee Road facility. Case management and business services staff would work with the facility to support the establishment of a Day Reporting Center, including providing a computer dedicated to job search websites (i.e. State of Wisconsin JobNet). WIA Co-Enrollment Where appropriate, enrollment in the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) program would be considered. Enrollment in this program could include funding for occupational training. We also planned to avail all of the services of the Pewaukee Workforce Development Center to participants when appropriate. Employer Education, Recruitment, and Retention In light of the projected tight labor market, the Business Services Representative would educate employers on the benefits of expanding recruiting efforts to include ex-offenders. Employers would receive information and education on tax incentives available (i.e. Work Opportunity Tax Credit); the availability of free bonding services associated with hiring ex- offenders; and the potential for on-the-job training wage subsidy incentives. Employment fairs would be hosted at the Workforce Development Center to provide hiring managers and human resources professionals the opportunity to interview a pool of participants who have participated in an interview workshop offered in the program. Peer-to-peer mentoring would be facilitated between businesses that actively and successfully employ ex-offenders and businesses that have been reluctant to expand recruiting efforts to this unique population. Other resource connections would be identified within the community and offered to participants on an as-needed basis during the program to ensure job attainment and retention. These resources could include obtaining work clothing; financial 4
  5. 5. literacy training and budgeting assistance; involvement in a child support program; childcare assistance; housing (rent assistance, securing housing); ongoing AODA support; mental health services; transportation assistance (bus passes, bikes, car purchase loan programs, driver’s license reinstatement). Partnering and Structure In order to accomplish this workforce innovation, Kaiser Group, Inc. and WDI coordinated efforts with the Department of Health and Human Services, Huber staff and Corrections Officers, Waukesha County Sheriff and Jail staff, State of Wisconsin Department of Corrections, Probation and Parole Officers, and Waukesha County Technical College. Kaiser Group, Inc would be the lead agency responsible for ensuring that the goals related to the WIRED Implementation Plan Goal Matrix are being accomplished and that the “RSTI” Principles are clearly reflected in the project. Kaiser Group, Inc. would also maintain and manage the program budget in an effort to accomplish the measurable outcomes set forth in this demonstration project proposal. Kaiser Group, Inc. would provide the Case Manager position (1 FTE). As the major partner in this project, WDI would be providing the necessary collaboration and linkages with the employment community by providing a Business Services Representative (1 FTE). This position would work in concert with the Case Manager to provide seamless services to the offender population. WDI would also help to create the database system for tracking successful outcomes of this project. Both partners would share the responsibility for meeting, exceeding, and tracking performance outcomes. WDI would help to create a database system for collecting important outcome and performance information related to intake and enrollment numbers, employer tracking, supportive services utilized, workshop participation, case management/customer activities, job placement data, and retention/follow-up services. In order to sustain and grow this project, we will seek continued financial support through the Community Development Block Grant program, the Criminal Justice Collaborating Council, as well as WIA program funding. We also hope to seek additional money through the Department of Corrections and from competitive grants through the Department of Justice. 5
  6. 6. ORIGINAL INTENTION Our main goal in this project would be to offer case management and business services support including any necessary wraparound services to meet other needs, in an effort to assist those with a criminal background in finding gainful employment. To that end we determined other supporting goals for this project, which included the following: Participants will • find gainful employment, have their wages increase, and will remain employed or earn promotions • have their employers contacted approximately once each month to check progress and performance • be referred and linked to area resources • be connected to employment services • acquire skills, training, and education in order to be more marketable in today’s workplace • acquire and/or improve soft skills • recidivate less • maintain stable housing or improve their housing situation The program will be • regional • replicable • sustainable • transformational • industry-driven • innovative The program will also • find employers who will hire people with criminal records • educate employers about the benefits of hiring people with criminal backgrounds • connect those with a criminal background to potential employers • facilitate employer/employee relationships • place 100 participants in jobs PROCESS DESCRIPTION The key staff that will be working on this workforce innovation will be the Case Manager and Business Services Representative who have yet to be hired. The project will also be 6
  7. 7. supported by the management infrastructure of both Kaiser Group, Inc. and Workforce Development, Inc. (see attached resumes). The Case Manager will be responsible for developing relationships with staff from the Huber Facility, Waukesha County Jail, and Probation and Parole. The Case Manager’s roles and responsibilities will include: Orientation sessions, intake and enrollment, employment preparation workshops, employment placement, retention services, education and training resource and referral, supportive service linkages, and intensive & ongoing case management. The Business Services Representative will be responsible for making the necessary employer linkages that will lead to successful hires for the offender population. The Business Services Representative’s roles and responsibilities will include: Orientation sessions, employment preparation workshops, employer tracking, retention services, job development, and job marketing. The Case Manager and Business Services Representative will work together to provide the necessary wraparound services that will lead to gainful employment for the offender population. OFFENDER EMPLOYMENT SPECIALIST (OES) we call this the Case Manager previous to this and now the “OES” I’m not familiar with this term but we have to be consistent in our use of terminology, so you should mention it somewhere earlier. The main role of the offender employment specialist would be to prepare those with a criminal background to find work, to understand their criminal background and how it affected their ability to become employed, and to ensure they had all the resources they needed to be productive citizens. This preparation included orientation, enrollment, preparation of an employability plan, coaching, and follow up. Orientations: • Introductions/orientations were given at multiple facilities such as Huber orientations, group orientation meetings at WFDC and P&P, and at workshops at the jail. • Local agencies were notified about FEPO through one-on-one contact, meetings, or through e-mail. • Were given with an opportunity to either enroll at that time or set up a time to enroll later • Included introduction of FEPO staff, and explanation of the program and how it worked, benefits of enrollment, expectations, and length of involvement 7
  8. 8. Enrollments: • People were enrolled if they appeared to be motivated and willing to do whatever it takes to improve and to find employment. • Enrollment involved filling out paperwork and meeting with the OES for an intake, to set goals, and get to work on implementing the goals. • Enrollment paperwork included: o Participant agreement o WIRED SE WI Participant Form for WIRED-funded Employment and Training Services o FEPO Assessment/Interview Form Supplement o Consent and Release of Information (WOW, Inc.) o General Release of Information (services and providers) o Acknowledgement (WOW, Inc.) o Additionally, participants were given the following as needed:  Resume Worksheet  To Do List  Goal Setting Form • Not all those that completed this step were formally enrolled. Only those that appeared to be motivated and engaged were enrolled. Employability Plan: • This plan included o Preparation of a resume, references, and cover letter o Completion of a Letter of Explanation o Ensuring the participant was ready for a job interview and necessary follow up o Following up with referrals for supportive services to address other needs, such as taking care of outstanding child support, acquiring economic assistance, or planning to enroll in further education o Strong encouragement to volunteer, network, and perform informational interviewing o Attending workshops at the Workforce Development Center  Interviewing  Effective applications  Coaching mature workers (if appropriate)  E-mailing resumes Coaching and Follow Up Participants were routinely coached and offered encouragement, support, and assistance with handling issues related to finding employment, staying motivated, and overcoming cognitive (and other) barriers in their lives. Additionally, job leads and job coaching advice was e-mailed out to all participants on a near daily basis. Follow up was done at one-on-one 8
  9. 9. meetings with the OES, by phone, or through e-mail contact to ascertain the client’s status on a given issue. Participants met with the OES as often as needed for coaching, guidance, information, research, referrals, brain-storming, job leads, resume and LOE assistance, other intensive case management, and homework assignments, etc. Frequency of contact varied based on participant interest, need, and motivation. Trainings and Workshops Trainings in the form of workshops were provided to all program participants and to anyone else in the area with a criminal background. Three trainings became the focus during this project:  Understanding Your Criminal Background and the Letter of Explanation  Resumes, References, and Cover Letters  Understanding Employer Expectations These workshops were selected based on participant need and the fact that these workshops were not offered elsewhere. Understanding Your Criminal Background and the Letter of Explanation This interactive workshop educated participants on their arrest and court records; how to access them, read and understand them; how to communicate the information to a potential employer; how to clean up these records where possible; and how to explain them in a positive way to an employer. Additionally, it reviewed the importance of knowing what is on an FBI report, accessing records from other states if needed, reviewing and cleaning up one’s credit report, and driving records. Other issues covered were the concept of “substantially related”, discrimination and what to do about it, and how to let go of the past. This workshop was offered at the Waukesha County Huber Facility, the Waukesha County Jail, the Probation and Parole Office, and the Workforce Development Center. Resumes, References, and Cover Letters Changes in the Workforce Development Center staff prompted changes to their workshops offered. Once there was a dedicated class for this topic, but later was changed to a lab setting. Whereas once those coming into the center could sit in a class and be taught by a 9
  10. 10. facilitator how to do these things, they now had to sit at a computer and be more self-directed. This presented challenges for some of the FEPO participants. This class utilized the power point presentation prepared by WCTC staff, along with worksheets and examples to assist participants with completion of their own marketing packages. Class was set up in a traditional fashion and attendees asked questions throughout the presentation. Additionally, they had an opportunity to prepare pieces of their resumes and receive feedback on them before they left class. Finally, they were informed they could e-mail their paperwork to the OES for review and feedback. Understanding Employer Expectations Many FEPO participants had a limited work history and an understanding of how to be successful in today’s job market. The BSR put together a power point presentation covering:  What employers expect from YOU  What YOU can expect from an employer  First Impressions  Applications  Resumes  Once you secure the interview  Grooming  The Greeting  Messages  Closing the interview  After the interview  You got an offer  Learning the Culture  Why you didn’t get the job…  Do not get discouraged Participants were referred to the Business Services Representative (BSR) when considered “job ready”. This meant the participant had completed a resume and letter of explanation, knew what kind of work they wanted to do, had worked out their transportation issues, knew how to look for work, interview, follow up, etc. BUSINESS SERVICES REPRESENTATIVE The Facilitated Employment Process for Offenders (FEPO) Business Services Representative (BSR) worked closely with the FEPO Case Manager along with the Business 10
  11. 11. Services Team to assist the offender clients in their job search with the end goal being a job placement. The Business Services Representative (BSR) develops and maintains relationships with local HR professionals or in smaller companies the hiring manager or person who wears the HR hat. The goal of the FEPO BSR was to educate/inform employers about the FEPO program through employer outreach, work closely with employers with job openings, work closely with the client to match their skills/experiences with job openings and advocate for the offender job seeker client with the end goal being a job placement. Educate/Inform Employers about the Program through Employer Outreach BSR Introduction Letter targeted to Waukesha area businesses on record in the BSU contact database (ACT). This area was targeted because of the availability of bus transportation and that they were within reasonable walking distance for many of our clients, including those clients in Huber. Letters were sent and in-person meetings were generated. As the current Business Services Unit (BSU) representatives found opportunities for FEPO program introductions, the FEPO BSR was invited along on employer visits with the WIA BSR. The FEPO BSR gave presentations on the FEPO program, handed out the FEPO brochure, their business card, bonding and tax credit materials to employers at events held at Workforce Development and also in the community. Some examples of this type of employer outreach are: Workforce Development Employer Open House events, Employment Guide Job Fair, Workforce Development Autumn Recruitment Fair, Project Return Dinner, and a Manufacturing Conference at Waukesha County Technical College (WCTC). The FEPO BSR along with a WIA BSR also targeted the Grandview, Silvernail and Sunset retail areas by foot, personally dropping off a packet of information including: program brochure, business card, Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC), Bonding information and upcoming employer events at Workforce Development. The FEPO BSR went into greater detail if manager was available and had time to meet. Follow up meetings were arranged where possible. Follow up calls were made after the visit. These retail areas were also targeted because of the availability of transportation and reasonable walking distance for our FEPO clients. From our partners in this grant and feedback from employer visits, it was also shared that many of these retail establishments hire offenders. 11
  12. 12. Challenges at the local retailers The hiring manager is not always on site, some require online applications, some retail hiring is centralized (gas station in Waukesha, HR recruiter’s home base is in a different part of the state, in town a couple random days per month), retailer had a bad experience with an offender employee or the offender employee quit without notice (usually because they were released from Huber & relocated to another city.) Response to challenges The following was implemented to respond to retailer concerns: • Employer expectations presentation was developed by the BSR • Employer feedback shared with the FEPO Case Manager (CM) on a daily/weekly basis • Job seeker client progress shared with FEPO BSR on a daily/weekly basis • FEPO BSR has better accessibility to online opportunities and would share these job openings with FEPO job seeker clients. • FEPO BSR was able to contact HR in a centralized system through established and new BSR contacts • Employers were very positive about having the FEPO BSR as a business resource at Workforce Development, especially if they had questions or problems with their new offender hire. The employers also liked the 30, 60, 90 day follow up. There was also this same follow up for the FEPO job seeker client as the BSR advocated & followed up with them. Work closely with employers with job openings (not always posted due to economy) The FEPO BSR worked closely with the WIA BSRs. Job openings are typically found in local newspapers, business journals, Job Center of WI and other online postings. Based on the recent economy, the number of postings in printed newspapers had decreased substantially. This made it difficult for offenders without computer access to find job ads. Based on the relationships the current WIA BSR team has built with local HR professionals, the WIA BSRs would share job openings with the FEPO BSR. Some of these job openings had not been posted yet. Employers have had good first response from the clients being served at Workforce Development. Workforce is not a placement agency and may not be able to serve all their recruitment needs, but would help the employer get some qualified candidates to start their process and sometimes resulted in a hire/placement. Challenge I’m not hip on these challenges but I do like the narrative in the “response to challenges.” You could just incorporate this data without using “challenge and response” 12
  13. 13. Not all jobs are posted, especially in this economy where it is an employer job market. Response to challenge Constant Contact with the employers is done via phone, email, mailings and employer events to maintain that relationship with employers and find out about their job openings for our clients. Work closely with the client to match skills/experiences of the clients with job openings The FEPO BSR would search for open positions that the current FEPO caseload clients would qualify for and follow up with via email or give to them as a part of their follow up meeting. Employers expected the job seeker clients being sent to them or being advocated for to be “job ready”. Job ready candidates are offender job seekers who are enrolled in program, have a resume, have practiced answers to the ‘gap in employment’ question, are motivated to work and understand employer expectations. The range of this expectation varies by the type of job, amount of supervision available and the employer’s HR policies and procedures. Challenge The FEPO staff wanted to assist as many offenders as possible to find jobs. Response to Challenge No matter how much a person wants to help another person find a job and even be willing to use a favor with an employer, if they cannot represent themselves well at an interview and/or do not have the skills required by the job, these efforts will not end up in a job. Employers are in a position, especially in this economy, to “help someone out”, “do the right thing” & take advantage of offered tax credits when the job seeker client is a fit for the skills & experience needed and can communicate that at an interview. Advocate for the offender job seeker client Calls were made on behalf of the FEPO client prior to and after hire. Some of the FEPO BSR services available were: calling an employer to find out more information on open posted positions and how to apply, some applications were picked up for clients (due to limited access), follow-up calls after an application was turned in and after interview follow up. Upon being hired, there was also a 30, 60, 90 day follow with the employer to gain perspective on the progress of the employee/client. This intensive follow-up gave the employer a chance to learn more about the FEPO program, tax credit information, follow services and resources available. 13
  14. 14. Challenges Employers expected updated resumes, being able to explain their in gaps in employment, and being motivated and job ready. Response to Challenges The FEPO BSR & CM did a great job of developing workshops catered to the FEPO client’s needs such as “Understanding Employer Expectations” and “Letter of Explanation” along with informing clients about the other services available to them in the Workforce Development Center, such as: Resume Writing, Mock Interviews, Computer Skill Lab, and the WCTC Career Center. The FEPO Team, along with center partners planned and held a half day workshop called “Pathways to Success”. This workshop was well-organized and provided resources and motivation for the FEPO clients at the Workforce Development Center. 14
  15. 15. KEY PLAYERS Success of FEPO was largely dependent on establishing and maintaining relationships with various agencies and entities within Waukesha County. Because FEPO was a demonstration project operating on a limited budget, partnering with programs and agencies like Arbor Education and Training’s FSET or Children First programs assisted participants with receiving needed economic support. Additional benefits from these relationships were a “value added” situation for clients in that they had extra job coaches and cheerleaders, as well as accountability. Partnering with the Waukesha County Jail and Huber Facility staff enabled FEPO staff to seamlessly enter facilities and follow participants no matter where they might be. Free and routine access to both, as well as the ability to receive and transfer information in a timely manner allowed participants a continued flow of service. The Department of Corrections Division of Community Corrections Probation and Parole staff were also key partners in FEPO. Having an on site office allowed the FEPO OES to meet with their clients as a “piggy-back” to their agent appointments. This allowed the participant to not have to make extra trips out into the community, to have facilitated communication between them, their agent, and the OES, and both a cost and time savings to them. Additionally, the access to a computer in this office allowed the OES to provide maximum services to participants at meetings. Waukesha County Technical College (WCTC) was an important player in FEPO in that WCTC operated the career center at the Workforce Development Center and routinely came into contact with FEPO participants. WCTC staff was very open to working with this clientele and providing any needed services. In addition, WCTC routinely offers free or low cost trainings or assistance on applications, resume preparation, resume review and critique, interviewing (with an opportunity for mock interviewing), and others. WCTC was instrumental in the success of FEPO participants because many were referred to the WCTC retention specialist in order to complete financial aid forms; learn about, register, and enroll in programs and classes; and about all the items needed to be successful in school. The retention specialist understood working with this group of people, and as a result, a large number of participants have successful enrolled in, and are completing programs. 15
  16. 16. When FEPO began we did not realize the full extent of the needs that existed in Waukesha County. Program referrals came in very quickly and continued to do so. In order to assist as many referrals as possible, participants were sometimes referred to James Place, a local faith-based organization providing various resources to county residents. At James Place participants could receive a great deal of one-on-one attention to complete a resume, learn how to use the computer or to do a job search. Participants routinely indicated this was an invaluable resource to them. James Place also offered a “Holistic Hardware” program to assist those with barriers in becoming successful in their job search, along with other community resource information. Other organizations and entities that have been important to the creation and success of FEPO through providing funds include: Community Development Block Grant Criminal Justice Collaborating Council Department of Labor - WIRED Finally, another element of success for FEPO includes the partnership of both WOW Workforce Development, Inc. and Kaiser Group, Inc. The unique expertise that each company brought to the table provided FEPO participants access to highly qualified staff that were quickly and easily assimilated into each of their roles. CLOSING STATEMENTS Is this even necessary? In closing 16
  17. 17. “This workforce solution was funded by a grant awarded under Workforce Innovation in Regional Economic Development (WIRED) as implemented by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration. The solution was created by the grantee and does not necessarily reflect the official position of the U.S. Department of Labor. The Department of Labor makes no guarantees, warranties, or assurances of any kind, express or implied, with respect to such information, including any information on linked sites and including, but not limited to, accuracy of the information or its completeness, timeliness, usefulness, adequacy, continued availability, or ownership. This solution is copyrighted by the institution that created it. Internal use by an organization and/or personal use by an individual for non-commercial purposes is permissible. All other uses require the prior authorization of the copyright owner.” 17