INFORMATION FOR PROFESSIONALS IN INDY’S WORKFORCE ECOSYSTEM
Ecosystem Enrichment, held on the fourth Thursday each month, is intended for career navigators, frontline staff, and other workforce development professionals to share best practices, learn new opportunities for clients, and provide a space for shared strategic direction of local workforce development. Browse the topics below for key takeaways and resources from previous Ecosystem Enrichment meetings.
Intro to Self-Care
February’s virtual Ecosystem Enrichment provided attendees a look into the importance of self-care for service providers and their clients as well as examined why this area of our work is often neglected. Meg Kovacs, Behavioral Health Academy Coordinator at the Sandra Eskenazi Mental Health Center, presented an intro to self-care for frontline workers that included discussion on topics including:
- Vicarious Trauma
- Compassion Fatigue
- Mind Body Medicine Techniques
- Certifications in Mind Body Medicine
- Soft Belly Breathing Exercises
- Past Self-Care
- Present Self-Care
- Future Self-Care
Attendees also had the opportunity to hear from EmployIndy’s Ecosystem Advancement team as they gave a comprehensive overview of EmployIndy’s new Learning Hub + Resource Library. This online tool, free to all frontline staff and service providers, provides learning and training courses as well as the opportunity to participate in discussions with peers in forums. With a goal of providing best and emerging practices training for career coaches as well as knowledge about where & how to leverage strengths, tools & supports that exist in the ecosystem, the EmployIndy Learning Hub will have over 60 courses available by the end of 2021.
Addressing Generational Differences in Career Services
For the first edition of Ecosystem Enrichment for the 2021 calendar year, attendees had the opportunity to listen in on a roundtable discussion from Career Services representatives from Edna Martin Christian Center, Martin University and Goodwill of Central & Southern Indiana. During this roundtable session, best practices for serving youth clients, adult clients and senior clients were shared in the areas of:
- Engagement: Tapping into Client Motivations
- Retention Strategies
- Transferable Skills
- Career Exploration
- Recruitment Methods
- Work-based Learning & On-the-Job Training
- Learning & Using Technology
Use the links to the right to view the session recording or download the session presentation.
Serving Diverse Populations
November’s edition of Ecosystem Enrichment welcomed administrators and facilitators from Wayne Township Adult Education to share their insights and tools as they serve diverse populations. During this portion of the webinar, we heard about:
- Core resources and programming pertaining to learning english, improving academic skills and accessing career training.
- Evaluating needs based on interests and skill levels
- Tackling common barriers for ELL students/jobseekers
- Virtual Resource Fair for adult ed students
- Credential evaluation and transfer
- Career Training Scholarship Portal and more…
We also heard a short presentation from Exodus Refugee Immigration, Inc on their efforts throughout Marion County. Since 1981, Exodus has helped thousands of refugee families from more than 50 different countries through language trainings, employment trainings, reception services and more.
Labor Market Information
October’s edition of Ecosystem Enrichment provided an overview on labor market information from Goodwill Industries of Central & Southern Indiana, geared towards career navigators and service providers. Topics discussed include:
- Labor Market Information
- Indiana Career Ready (indianacareerready.com)
- LMI Certification Planning Tool
- Breakout session practice in using the LMI Certification Planning Tool
Participants also heard from Project Azul about their Logistics training courses and process. Topics discussed include:
- An overview of Project Azul logistics trainings and availability
- Supported career growth path
- The Project Azul process including how program participants are guided by their Workforce Success Coach
- Job Placement
- Employer Benefits
Child Care Resources and More
During this month’s Ecosystem Enrichment, we saw presentations from Child Care Answers (A program of Early Learning Indiana), Family & Social Services Administration (FSSA) and 10 East Voter Headquarters.
Presenters addressed solutions to barriers to child care for current workers, citizens returning to work, and discussed child care issues related to COVID-19. View the recap video using the link to the right to hear helpful information on topics including:
- Type of child care programs in Indiana
- Paths to Quality and signs of a quality child care program
- How to pay for child care (including info on Child Care Development Fund – CCDF)
- Steps to take when looking for child care
- Child Care Subsidies
- On My Way Pre-K
- Trends Since COVID-19
A representative from 10 East Vote Headquarters ended our session with valuable information for the upcoming election:
- Key Dates
- A 10 East Voter Headquarters overview
- 3 easy ways to get involved leading up to the election
Hosted by staff from EmployIndy and Ascend Indiana, this month’s Ecosystem Enrichment served to provide Career Navigators and service providers with a high level overview of what’s available from the state’s rapid recovery efforts including Next Level Jobs, Workforce Ready Grants, Rapid Reskill, and 180 Skills and more.
Topics covered in more detail from both a job seeker and provider perspective include:
- Rapid Re-Employment Response
- Rapid Reskilling Grants
- NLJ Workforce Ready Grants
- 180 Skills
- Rapid Recovery Learning Pathways
- Recover > Reskill > Re-Employ
Resources for a Recovering Economy
- Identifying and addressing jobseekers struggles such as child care, lack of resources, healthcare and more.
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Learn updates, program details or ask questions by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Jane Pauley Community Health Center: Increasing need for COVID testing, enrolling families, free enrollment assistance, location updates and more.
- Commuter Connect (CIRTA): Promotion of smart travel, lowering emissions, utilizing commuterconnect.us for helpful resources, Emergency Ride Home program for participating employers and more.
Upskilling Job Seekers
Presenters from InvestED, EmployIndy, Ivy Tech, and Eleven-Fifty Academy discussed various methods and resources for upskilling jobseekers. View the presentation or watch the session recording to learn more about the following topics:
- Market Trends
- Jobseeker Trends
- Jobseeker Tips
- Scholarship Options
- Postsecondary Options
- Workforce Ready Grant
- GWC’s Rapid Recovery for a Better Future
- First 10k participants can get free classes and trainings
- Indy FLEX – virtual lunches and professional development
- Software Development
- Web Development
- Cyber Security
Virtual Client Engagement
Team members from Wayne Township Adult Education, Warren Township Adult and Community Education and Washington Township Schools presented on methods, tools and best practices for successful virtual client engagement from the perspective of adult education.
- Virtual learning and virtual registration is a must-have and is here to stay.
- Seeing faces is important to the work we do as service providers.Use technology that allows face-to-face interaction whenever possible.
- Use this time as an opportunity to keep students/jobseekers engaged with digital literacy, English learning (like career skills vocabulary), and recorded lessons.
- Virtual learning has been used successfully by all three school systems with a myriad of tools and platforms, discussed in the presentation.
- The pandemic has accelerated changes to work and learning that we already knew were coming and had started preparing for. As Todd stated “Change, even when positive, can still be difficult,”. Keep up the good work and know that the investments in new technological infrastructure and digital tools you make now will pay off.
- New ways to serve students may include hybrid class models with both in-person and virtual learning as well as smaller classes.
- It’s important for teachers and administrators to keep students engaged by contacting them regularly via phone and email.
- Have clients that need remedial skills in literacy or math? Have clients that are ready for career training? Adult Education providers are happy to accept referrals from community partners!
Workforce Ecosystem Resources & Tools to Combat COVID-19
Kevin Duffy shared information regarding WorkOne Indy and EmployIndy’s immediate responses during this time as well as unemployment insurance and the CARES Act. Tracey Everett explained Skillful Indiana’s vision and strategies, including links for career coaches to access resources and sign up for webinars. Bryan Gilbert from John Boner Neighborhood Centers emphasized the support that they are continuing to offer virtually.
- Individuals should go to unemployment.in.gov for FAQs, benefits information, and to file for unemployment insurance.
- The CARES Act expanded the individuals eligible for unemployment insurance benefits and the length of the benefits as well as added to the benefits available. View this helpful flowchart explaining the process of applying for benefits.
- For a collection of job seeker, community, and employer supportive resources, browse (and share) the WorkOne Indy COVID-19 Resources page.
- Skillful’s Job Posting Generator pulls from websites like O*NET to provide examples of skills-based job postings.
- Join the free Skillful Community of Practice – it’s open to anyone that supports job seekers and is run through Microsoft Teams to offer resources, webinars, and discussion for those in the field.
- On the John Boner Neighborhood Centers’ website, there is a form for individuals to share how they have been impacted by COVID-19 and get connected to a case manager or navigator.
- Customers can still receive EAP assistance from the Boner Center. They should state in the comment box of the intake form that they will need EAP. Documentation needed for EAP is the same as other assistance, but it will have its own application. Anyone with existing EAP may be eligible for emergency assistance if they have not utilized that already and their utilities are in disconnected status.
Disability Inclusion Training
Angela Vandersteen and Curt Sutterfield from Tangram presented on disability inclusion. Tangram supports people with disabilities by designing services to meet their specific needs and desires. Disability inclusion training helps you to think differently so that you can best help your clients and be a better advocate for them.
- Neurodiversity is a concept where neurological differences are to be recognized and respected as any other human variation.
- Natural supports are methods of inclusion and assistance that exist in any given workplace, and that an employee with a disability can tap into. These supports help the person to perform her role, and also to feel socially included—which is crucial for high performance and job retention.
- Support your client’s decision to disclose their disability or not. Coach your clients that disclosure is need to know.
- Use person-first language.
- When working with an employer, make sure assessments as part of the application are job-related.
Indianapolis Barrier-Busting Resources
Representatives from United Way of Central Indiana, IndyGo, Proteus, and the John Boner Neighborhood Centers spoke about the barrier-busting resources they offer. Some of the topics discussed include:
- 2Gen approach to case management
- Income supports
- Process for riding the IndyGo buses (Plan, Pay, Go)
- IndyGo “Text for Next” service and MyStopMobile app for finding out when your bus will be arriving
- Open Door: IndyGo’s paratransit service
- Explanations of each organization, the individuals they serve, eligibility requirements
A Lesson on Trauma Informed Care & Resilience-Focused Culture
Goodwill of Central and Southern Indiana engaged participants in an introduction to trauma informed care and emphasized the focus on resilience. Many of the clients that we serve on a regular basis have experienced trauma in one form or another and it’s crucial to meet with them through an unbiased lens.
- Because trauma has a direct impact on a how an individual perceives who they are in the world, it is crucial to view your clients from a holistic approach
- Instead of meeting at your desk, consider walking around or allowing them to pick a spot to sit in your office in order to give them a sense of control in that situation
- Both acute (an incident) and chronic (stress of the unknown) trauma have a cognitive impact on people
- Many individuals who have experienced trauma have emotional triggers, such as loud noises, touch and body language. If you are able to regulate these triggers, clients will be more likely to open up and will feel more comfortable in their environment
Introduction to Motivational Interviewing
Ashley Jones from Nurse-Family Partnership with Goodwill of Central and Southern Indiana engaged participants in an introduction to motivational interviewing (MI) and encouraged audience participation through partner exercises to demonstrate the reasoning behind MI.
Motivational interviewing is a collaborative conversation style during which the practitioner aims to recognize the client’s strengths and needs. It is important because it can help create lasting change by empowering the client.
- The two essences of MI are spirit and change talk. Spirit is the way that the practitioner approaches the conversation, whereas change talk is what the practitioner aims to identify in the conversation.
- If the practitioner hears any change talk in the conversation, explore it, affirm it, reflect on it, and summarize it.
- Avoid using closed questions like those starting with “Did you…” or “Do you want to…” as well as potentially judgmental questions starting with “Why.”
- Highlight characteristics or behaviors when giving affirmations in the form of “You” statements instead of “I” statements.
- Elicit – Provide – Elicit (EPE) is a method for providing information that the client will actually use. Elicit the information needed, provide the information, then elicit their response (ask what this information means for them).
The Importance of Coaching Financial Literacy
This week at Ecosystem Enrichment, Nathan Miller from Goodwill of Central and Southern Indiana introduced attendees to the Your Money, Your Goals curriculum from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
The many barriers that inhibit career progress for clients can also inhibit financial empowerment. One of the biggest barriers for those wanting to learn about financial literacy is simply finding the time to do so. Even if the financial literacy information and coaching is free, transportation and time away from work are sometimes hard to come by.
- In order to start a conversation with your client about money, you need to try to understand their perspective, background, and personal realities.
- Involvement in the criminal justice system is not included on a credit report.
- Financial Empowerment = Financial Literacy + Skills & Confidence to Use Knowledge
- The more financially empowered you are, the more you’re able to work with others to help them become financially empowered.
- In each module within Your Money, Your Goals, there are symbols that indicate whether a section is a tool or a handout. They also give recommendations based on how much time is available. The entire curriculum is available for free on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau website.
Question, Persuade, Refer: QPR Suicide Prevention Training
Whitney Nixon with Community Health Network led a QPR training this week at Ecosystem Enrichment. QPR – similarly to CPR – is a preventative method to identify that a person is at risk and then keep them alive long enough to get to a trained professional that can help.
- You cannot put the idea of suicide into someone’s mind; they are either thinking about suicide already or not.
- Offer hope through listening – listening is the power tool that restores hope in the hopeless.
- Asking a question can save a life.
- You don’t have to be a mental health professional to do QPR and keep people alive.
- When you apply QPR, you are planting seeds of hope.
Indianapolis Housing Agency: Resources & Section 3
The Indianapolis Housing Agency (IHA) joined us at this week’s Ecosystem Enrichment. Aside from resident services such as community resources, programming and financial coaching, IHA highlighted their Section 3 Employment and Training program under HUD. This program is available to qualifying individuals with funds for additional job training, uniform assistance, employer connectivity, and more.
Additionally, all individuals meeting these income requirements are eligible to receive Section 3 HUD funding; including all IHA community residents and anyone qualifying for/residing in Section 8 or public housing. IHA partners with local businesses to host job fairs and workshops as well as utilizing their own IDA (Individual Development Account) with an asset development program with a 3:1 match:
- Saving for education or certifications
- Saving for home ownership
- Starting a new business
When screening your clients, it is valuable to inquire about their income limitations and if they reside in Section 8 or public housing. Any resident meeting any one of these requirements will be eligible to receive free training dollars and benefits through Section 3 and IHA.
Healthy Indiana Plan (HIP) and the Gateway to Work Program
Throughout 2019 and into 2020, the Healthy Indiana Plan is integrating “Gateway to Work” requirements for its participants to remain eligible for benefits. Gateway to Work mandates that HIP participants begin logging work, education, or volunteer hours. The discussion also unveiled some discussion around exemptions and what activities qualify for logging hours. Much of this is because they are evaluated case-by-case. Download the PDF presentation, read through key takeaways, and watch the highlights video to learn more.
- “Work” hours can include time spent with a career coach, workshops, resume help, etc.
- “Volunteer” hours can include a variety, such helping family members in need
- Hours logged is on the “honor system,” but exemptions are managed by the state
- HIP clients should use the FSSA Benefits Portal to apply and check benefit status
- Representatives also mentioned using the website AuntBertha.com to find services
Family Social Services Administration: TANF, SNAP, and IMPACT
Representatives from the Indiana Institute for Working Families and Indiana’s Family Social Services Administration (FSSA) shared info about Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and Indiana Manpower Placement and Comprehensive Training (IMPACT).
- The basic descriptions of these programs are: TANF is “cash assistance,” SNAP is “food assistance,” and IMPACT is “job training/placement”
- There are five FSSA offices in Marion County which administer these programs – view the map
- There is no official referral form to pass a client on to the FSSA office, so understanding where to direct a client online or in person is important – application links are accessible on the FSSA website
- These programs offer support for individuals at various education levels, income levels, family status, etc. – however there are some nuanced differences between what participants can receive through TANF, SNAP, and IMPACT (particularly TANF, which is for families with children under age 18)
- Through TANF, SNAP, and/or IMPACT, clients can receive support or cash for things like food, childcare, transportation, clothing, job training, education, and more
- Training opportunities for IMPACT are through IN Training
- TANF expired in 2010 and has been renewed through short-term extensions since. It is due for federal reauthorization, since it was reauthorized through June 30, 2019
Preparing & Connecting Re-Entry Individuals to the Workforce
One of the largest challenges career navigators struggle with is the lack of assistance they are able to provide to the large number of re-entry individuals who come into their organizations. To solve this issue, Nick Reich from RecycleForce says “we need to work together to play to our strengths.” This was the overwhelming message from RecycleForce and the John Boner Neighborhood Center. RecycleForce hires mid- and high-level re-entry candidates (those who have the hardest time getting hired because of stronger offenses) to help them adjust to the workforce and get on their feet. Concurrently, Centers for Working Families, such as the John Boner Neighborhood Center, are pairing these individuals with case managers who assist with career navigation, financial stability, and personal support. By working together, the Ecosystem is able to best assist this population in re-engaging with society.
- The HIRE (Hoosier Initiative for Re-Entry) program maintains a list of businesses who actively hire individuals from the re-entry population and prepares them for the workforce pre-release
- There is no shortage of previously incarcerated individuals who need work and we need to partner together to assist this population in overcoming barriers such as housing, employment, and transportation
- To engage businesses, EmployIndy’s Employer Engagement Manger, Tracy Hartman, is on the Marion County Re-Entry Coalition which is an outreach strategy to connect and educate employers on this population
EmployIndy: Region 12 WIOA Data & Training Program Solutions
In this Ecosystem Enrichment, we reflected on EmployIndy’s (Region 12) WIOA data for Quarter 1.* Although EmployIndy met or exceeded most of the training goals for serving adults and dislocated workers, it was announced that there was a disconnect across the board when it came to serving and placing youth in training or education programs. We focused more in-depth on creating possible solutions in order to improve the number of individuals who receive credentials. Here were a few of the ideas:
- Explore information on Indiana Career Connect (ICC) and Hoosier by the Numbers
- Emphasize the importance of Next Level Jobs if individuals do not qualify for WIOA funding
- Utilize Indiana Career Ready and the available resources, such as INDemand Jobs
- Take surveys in Indiana Career Explorer
*Because of glitches in the system at the time, the numbers may not be exact
LISC Indianapolis: Taking Barriers into Account
Connecting qualified clients to jobs, training, education, and resources is a day-to-day struggle. Part of this basic connecting starts at the beginning – helping clients overcome transportation barriers in order for them to receive jobs a comfortable distance from their home or directly on a bus route. This is just one of the more popular barriers to assisting clients. In a group discussion, ideas were shared about how we can overcome some of these challenges:
- Increase number of clients in the referral portal
- Increase awareness of local programs and the training opportunities they offer
- Establish a central location for people to come and receive training, education, and resources
- Exchange information between programs to brainstorm and share best practices
- Create a form of employer engagement so there can be a ‘direct handoff’
- Design a referral process so partners are not operating in silos
Helping a Job Seeker Create a Great Resumé
Jennifer Walde from EmployIndy’s Business Solutions team highlighted some best practices for resume development based on modern ways businesses and recruiters receive, filter, and evaluate submissions. Download the presentation to learn more about the following key takeaways:
- Websites have made applying to jobs very easy – which means job postings get lots of applications, and competition has increased
- Resumés should be short, specific, and tailored to the job being sought
- Focus on accomplishments rather than job duties, and use action verbs
- Include resumes or degrees that are started but not yet completed
- Bullet points are generally easier to read than paragraphs