The Center for Working Families' Multifaceted Approach to Helping Struggling Families

Posted August 15, 2012, By the Annie E. Casey Foundation

Despite the con­tin­u­ing nation­wide employ­ment drought — keen­ly felt in Atlanta and its NPU‑V neigh­bor­hoods — the Cen­ter for Work­ing Fam­i­lies Inc. con­tin­ues to make strides, plac­ing 61 par­tic­i­pants in jobs in the first five months of 2012. This suc­cess is due in large part to the cen­ter’s strat­e­gy of build­ing strong part­ner­ships with employ­ers in tar­get­ed work­force sec­tors such as secu­ri­ty, admin­is­tra­tion, cus­tomer ser­vice and transportation/​logistics.

Part­ner employ­ers work hand in hand with the cen­ter in three key areas: 

  • recruit­ment through par­tic­i­pa­tion in onsite and vir­tu­al career fairs and mock interviews;
  • employ­ment by seek­ing to hire cen­ter par­tic­i­pants when pos­si­ble; and
  • infor­ma­tion shar­ing by pro­vid­ing the cen­ter with indus­try-spe­cif­ic knowl­edge it can incor­po­rate into spe­cial­ized train­ing pro­grams for participants.

These efforts help the cen­ter cre­ate a ready, pre­pared and com­pet­i­tive workforce.

Because many of the cen­ter’s par­tic­i­pants face a gap between what they earn and what they need to sur­vive, the cen­ter screens every res­i­dent who comes in for more than 20 pub­lic and pri­vate work sup­ports, includ­ing the Sup­ple­men­tal Nutri­tion Assis­tance Pro­gram (food stamps), Peach­Care, Med­ic­aid, Safe­Link cell phone and oth­er work supports.

The cen­ter also pro­vides free fed­er­al and state tax prepa­ra­tion each year. Dur­ing this year’s tax cam­paign, the cen­ter filed more than 750 returns, bring­ing a total $1.6 mil­lion in tax refunds and cred­its back to the com­mu­ni­ty. More than 300 of these fil­ers were eli­gi­ble for the earned income tax cred­it, the nation’s most effec­tive pro­gram for lift­ing chil­dren and fam­i­lies out of pover­ty. While it is the cen­ter’s goal to help fam­i­lies advance in their careers to the point where they no longer need these types of sup­ports, these ben­e­fits are often a crit­i­cal life­line for res­i­dents as they progress through the cen­ter’s trans­for­ma­tive process of ser­vice delivery.

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