Community Canvassing Program Connects Atlantans With Workforce Training

Posted January 7, 2020, By the Annie E. Casey Foundation

Individual is canvassing residents in the neighborhood with information about job training

An inno­v­a­tive door-to-door com­mu­ni­ty can­vass­ing pilot in Atlanta’s Neigh­bor­hood Plan­ning Unit V (NPU‑V) is har­ness­ing the pow­er of face-to-face con­tact to con­nect res­i­dents with employ­ment oppor­tu­ni­ties. Led by Emmaus House and Cur­ry Davis Con­sult­ing Group, the ini­tia­tive — fund­ed by the Annie E. Casey Foun­da­tion — already has con­nect­ed 66 com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers with work­force-train­ing pro­grams to help increase their income and achieve eco­nom­ic stability.

The NPU‑V neigh­bor­hoods include Adair Park, Capi­tol Gate­way, Mechan­icsville, Peo­plestown, Pitts­burgh and Sum­mer­hill. In Peo­plestown alone, 33% of res­i­dents do not have a high school diplo­ma, and 25% are unem­ployed. To com­bat these dis­par­i­ties and his­toric dis­in­vest­ment, NPU‑V res­i­dents active­ly are lead­ing com­mu­ni­ty-dri­ven efforts to halt dis­place­ment and pro­mote qual­i­ty education.

The res­i­dents of Peo­plestown and oth­er NPU‑V neigh­bor­hoods are fac­ing the under­stand­ing that if they don’t want to be dis­placed, they need liv­ing-wage jobs,” says Greg Cole, exec­u­tive direc­tor of Emmaus House. Becom­ing aware of these train­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties can make all the difference.”

Emmaus House over­sees all the finan­cial, oper­a­tional and man­age­r­i­al aspects of the can­vass­ing pro­gram, includ­ing hir­ing res­i­dent can­vassers, mak­ing train­ing and employ­ment refer­rals and pro­vid­ing sup­port­ive ser­vices — such as rent and child-care assis­tance — to help indi­vid­u­als over­come bar­ri­ers that may pre­vent them from enrolling. 

Can­vassers pro­mote an array of proven train­ing pro­grams, includ­ing Con­struc­tion Ready, Generation’s hos­pi­tal­i­ty pro­gram and Per Scholas’s IT train­ings. At Per Scholas, for exam­ple, the aver­age participant’s pre-train­ing pro­gram income of $9,000 ris­es to $36,000 post-train­ing — a 400% increase which is also notably above the pover­ty lev­el for a fam­i­ly of four.

Now six months into the pilot, the com­mu­ni­ty can­vass­ing effort has received near­ly 180 con­tact cards for res­i­dents and con­tact­ed 72% of them. In some cas­es, res­i­dents reached out before the pro­gram even had a chance to con­tact them.

The most pow­er­ful part of the com­mu­ni­ty can­vass­ing pro­gram is the authen­tic­i­ty of the process,” says Karen Davis, pres­i­dent of the Cur­ry Davis Con­sult­ing Group. Can­vassers receive first-per­son accounts from peo­ple edu­cat­ed on the train­ing offer­ings, and, in some cas­es, who have even com­plet­ed train­ing pro­grams them­selves. Employ­ing can­vassers that live with­in these com­mu­ni­ties has been inte­gral to our suc­cess in get­ting res­i­dents con­nect­ed to programs.”

Read more about Casey’s work­force efforts in Atlanta

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