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Developing Viable Communities through Housing, Services, & Economic Opportunities

OHH Monthly Focus on Employment: Building Partnerships – A Look at Cascade AIDS Project

This monthly focus on employment, provided by U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of HIV/AIDS Housing (OHH), describes how HIV/AIDS providers can take on a partnership approach to employment services and, in particular, examines how Cascade AIDS Project maximized their employment services through a partnership approach.

Collaborations with mainstream workforce services expand agency capacity to effectively engage, prepare, and support clients as they participate in mainstream services. Cascade AIDS Project maximized their employment services by partnering with a local One Stop provider. HIV/AIDS providers can take on a partnership approach to employment services by leveraging existing programs and services to help clients access the job training or other vocational services they need to pursue meaningful employment.

Taking a Partnership Approach

  • Become familiar with the mainstream workforce system such as community colleges, Vocational Rehabilitation Programs, and Ticket to Work/Employment Networks.
  • Initiate connections by visiting local employment programs and inviting employment service providers to your agency.
  • Assume an advocacy and educational role when creating partnerships to effectively promote clients’ needs and employability.
  • Build strategic relationships with local employers to facilitate mentoring, learn about hiring trends, and encourage private sector involvement.
  • Explore collaborations with community colleges and community-based organizations, as well as employment, training, and asset development programs.
  • Seek out both public and private resources to support your employment-related efforts and improve employment outcomes.

Joining Forces to Create Outcomes

Cascade AIDS Project, located in Portland, Oregon, began the HOPWA Getting to Work Employment Initiative (GTW) in the unique position of having just started a new HOPWA grant which included an agreement to work directly with Worksystems Inc., the local Workforce Investment Act (WIA)/One Stop provider. As a part of this collaboration, a liaison was assigned to Cascade AIDS Project responsible for connecting Cascade AIDS Project clients to services and opportunities provided by Worksystems Inc. Cascade AIDS Project clients were eligible to participate in career planning, job readiness, and placement services with Worksystems Inc. Cascade AIDS Project clients also had access to paid work experiences, on-the-job training opportunities, and funds for career training.

Prior to this collaboration, Cascade AIDS Project had been delivering employment services to clients through a full-time staffer who offered a range of direct services including vocational assessment, job search and job placement, but did not access a One Stop for services. Though Cascade AIDS Project experienced success with this previous model, the number of clients they could serve was limited because they relied upon one full-time staff person to provide the full spectrum of vocational services. The new arrangement with Worksystems changed the role of Cascade AIDS Project employment staffer, who became responsible for engaging, connecting and supporting clients while they participated in mainstream services. This change resulted in increased service capacity by accessing the full range of services offered by the local One Stop with support from the assigned liaison.

In the greater Portland area, a strong cross-system partnership developed to include workforce, housing, and social service providers. This collaboration increases access to mainstream workforce services for job seekers with complex challenges. Cascade AIDS Project and its clients have benefited from this regional commitment to partnership and inclusion.

Learn more now:

GTW Navigating Workforce Systems Webinar

Listing of State Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies

HIV/AIDS Service Providers with Employment/Training Services

Ticket to Work Directory of Services by State

Employment Network (EN) Profiles

And, stay tuned!

The next email in the series is: Understanding Benefits – A Look at Oregon Health Authority.

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