From the onset of her involvement in CalWORKs, it was clear that Stacie would be confronted with a number of barriers to employment. Most of all, she did not actually want to participate in the WTW program. Many attempts to contact Stacie by telephone proved unsuccessful. Several letters were sent out and home visits conducted, and still we had little luck in engaging her. It was not until our third visit to her residence that we were finally able to meet with Stacie.
Stacie is a single mom with three young children, ranging in age from two to seven years. She has never before worked and her vocational goal was to become a receptionist.
After some discussion, it was agreed that the Case Manager would initially refer her to EWorks. However, from the onset, she was hesitant about her ability to attend the program due to what she considered to be insurmountable childcare and transportation issues. The Case Manager explained that the Family Resource and Referral Center could help her arrange for a babysitter or enrollment in a daycare facility. To resolve the transportation issue, we offered her a bus pass.
It was obvious, however, that these problems hid an underlying apprehension about the future. We assured Stacie that she was young and had her whole life ahead of her, that the CalWORKs system and the Case Manager were there to be of help. Finally, she agreed to at least attempt the activity.
Within no time at all, Stacie acclimated to the EWorks process, participated fully, and ultimately completed the activity without difficulty. Unfortunately, when the Case Manager called to congratulate her, she indicated that she was still unemployed.
We therefore scheduled to meet again, and we arranged for Stacie to attend an Assessment. Since the activity was still two weeks off, the Case Manager gave her a copy of some job leads so she could continue applying for work on her own.
Two weeks went by when the Case Manager received a call from Stacie very excited, reporting that she just been offered a position as a result of one of the flyers she had been given. She thanked her Case Manager for helping her to turn her life around.
The Case Manager was very proud, too. She felt special because she had had a part in changing someone's life for the better!
Now Stacie is making $15.80 per hour as a receptionist at a local college. As she describes it, Stacie has permanently stepped out from her welfare bonds and become self-sufficient.
John is a 35-year-old, single parent with two daughters, ages 18 and 3 years. After a 12-year career as a warehouse laborer, he found himself out of work due to a downturn in the logistics industry. Separated from his high school sweetheart whom he described as being an abusive alcoholic and unemployed for the first time in his life, he quickly lost control of his finances and found himself homeless. John began to question whether or not he had made the right decision to take custody of his children.
Now dependent on the welfare system, John was referred to CEO just prior to the Christmas season. At the time, he was embarrassed to be unable to provide for his children during the holidays and to be requesting public assistance. John stated that he simply wanted to get back to work, and would do whatever it took to make that a reality in his life.
CEO attempted to help John by referring him to EWORKs, and assisting with food donations and toys for his daughters. Not wanting to wait for the referral, he began to look for employment on his own, reporting back regularly to his Case Manager.
In early January, John went to a truck stop in order to buy gas, and observed another patron shoplifting. As was his nature, he intervened, alerted management, and held the perpetrator at bay until the police arrived. The owner of the truck stop was so impressed with John's willingness to do what was right that he offered him a full-time permanent job on the spot.
John began his new position on January 21, and reports being quite pleased. He is earning $14.20 per hour. Although it is too soon for him to have saved enough money to secure a place of his own, he reported that this is his next goal in life.
With his positive attitude and "take no prisoners" outlook, we are confident that he will succeed.
*Name has been changed to protect privacy
Susan is a single mother with two children. After completing the Office Technology Program with perfect attendance, she was desperate to find a job in the field. The Case Manager referred her to a number of job openings but none led to employment. Since she had exhausted her 12 months of Vocational Training, her Case Manager had no choice but to refer her to Unpaid Work Experience, and she was placed at HSA. Within two months, she was hired as an Office Assistant, making $12.00 an hour.
That same day, Susan visited CEO to thank her Case Manager. While there, she also reported to the agency Supervisor and Director what a great job her Case Manager had done for her. Susan indicated that he not only took the time to work personally with her, but also made it a point to encourage and motivate her. She reported that he gave her an opportunity to "put her foot in the door", and she will never forget that.
Earlier this month, Susan called to report that she is no longer receiving cash aid due to employment and she had just purchase a new car, thanks to her Case Manager.
Stacy is a 21-year-old, single mother with two young children. She resides with her 9 siblings and their mother in a two-bedroom duplex. Her father recently left the family and has remarried.
Stacy is the second oldest daughter in this large, extended family. Since her mother is disabled and the oldest daughter has married and moved to another county, responsibility for caring for the entire family has fallen to Stacy.
Faced with few options, Stacy applied for welfare and was assigned to CEO in June,. She was initially referred to Job Club but was not successful in obtaining employment.
In July, Stacy was referred to Community Service and placed at Lao Khmu Association as a clerical worker. Even though she had many barriers to face, she still managed to attend work on time and put her full effort into her daily assignments. After 6 months of service to the agency, Stacy was honored by the Lao Khmu Association staff with the annual Community Service award for her excellent job performance and ability.
In January, Stacy was hired as an Office Assistant, making $10.00 per hour. She is now off cash aid and recently reported that she will be moving into a 4-bedroom house with her family. Stacy has thanked the CEO staff for their encouragement and support.