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.