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OHH Monthly Focus on Employment: Adopting an Employment Mentality - A Look at International AIDS Empowerment

This monthly focus on employment, provided by U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of HIV/AIDS Housing (OHH), discusses International AIDS Empowerment strategies.

International AIDS Empowerment, in El Paso, Texas, illustrates how vocationalizing is a process to embed employment-related expectations, practice, and service delivery into all facets of program operation and culture.

International AIDS Empowerment began the HOPWA Getting to Work Employment Initiative (GTW) with very little programming in place to address the employment service needs of their clients. The approach adopted through this project can best be described as a highly collaborative, community-focused model designed to deliver employment services by accessing existing local employment programs and opportunities.

International AIDS Empowerment named its new program Accessible Resources in Action (ARIA) and developed a Community Advisory Board (CAB) charged with identifying and securing education, training, and employment partners and opportunities in the El Paso community. Two staff positions were re-purposed and became responsible for developing and operating the CAB.

The Vocationalizing Process: International AIDS Empowerment Strategies

ASSESS services and gaps in resources.

  • Established a CAB to identify relevant partners in the community.

PREPARE internal policies, procedures, and programming.

  • Named its new program Accessible Resources in Action (ARIA).
  • Developed internal programming around employment.
  • Re-purposed roles of two staff members to develop and operate CAB.

IMPLEMENT new services and collaborate with outside organizations.

  • Opened a computer and internet workstation for clients.
  • Utilized a screening and vocational assessment.
  • Developed over 20 referral and partnership connections.
  • Created volunteer opportunities for clients.

SUPPORT staff by evaluating successes and outcomes.

  • Identified that self-sufficiency includes integrating vocational issues with housing stability.

In addition to providing a continuum of community resources, staff developed internal programming to engage, prepare, and support clients around employment. ARIA created a workstation with a computer and internet access available to clients to use for both job search and computer skill development. ARIA also provided volunteer opportunities for clients, brought in guest speakers, and developed a screening and vocational assessment process to match clients with available employment resources.  

The ARIA staff members are not considered employment specialists; rather they believe their community connections will allow them to serve their clients in the employment services realm. Their holistic approach extends beyond traditional employment services, recognizing that achieving self-sufficiency includes integrating vocational issues with housing stability, wellness and social service need.
 

International AIDS Empowerment: Built 20 Connections

During the year-long initiative,over twenty different referral and partnership connections were made. Examples include:


Learn more now:

Resource Guide for Individuals Seeking to Enter or Reenter the Workforce

Workplace Flexibility Toolkit from DoL Office of Disability Employment Policy

GTW Vocational Assessment Webinar

GTW Vocationalizing Webinar

And, stay tuned!

The next email in the series is: Building Partnerships - A Look at Cascade AIDS Project.

 
            
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