The Center for Working Families: Multiple Pathways to Opportunity and Careers

Posted November 19, 2013

To improve the finan­cial sta­bil­i­ty of fam­i­lies in Atlanta’s Neigh­bor­hood Plan­ning Unit V neigh­bor­hoods, the Atlanta Civic Site began to imple­ment in 2003 a strat­e­gy that bun­dled togeth­er employ­ment, work­force devel­op­ment and asset-build­ing pro­grams in a fam­i­ly-friend­ly way. The civic site began with two six-month pro­to­types to test its assump­tions relat­ed to ser­vice deliv­ery and demand. Using what it learned from those pro­to­types, the civic site launched the Cen­ter for Work­ing Fam­i­lies Inc. in fall 2005.

The cen­ter, a pri­vate non­prof­it based at the Dun­bar Neigh­bor­hood Cen­ter in Atlanta’s Mechan­icsville neigh­bor­hood, pro­vides a com­bi­na­tion of eco­nom­ic stim­u­lus, employ­ment, job devel­op­ment, work sup­ports and asset-build­ing pro­grams to move NPU‑V fam­i­lies along a path­way toward finan­cial sta­bil­i­ty. The cen­ter part­ners with Edu­care Atlanta to ensure par­ents get on a path to jobs and careers at the same time their chil­dren are get­ting pre­pared for school

The Cen­ter for Work­ing Fam­i­lies Inc. serves as a hub, com­bin­ing its ser­vices with those of oth­er part­ner orga­ni­za­tions to respond to par­tic­i­pants’ needs and help reduce and elim­i­nate per­va­sive bar­ri­ers to steady employ­ment such as unsta­ble hous­ing, lack of child care, legal issues and poor health ser­vices. For exam­ple, upon dis­cov­er­ing that the lack of safe, sta­ble and afford­able child care pre­vent­ed some par­tic­i­pants from work­ing, the cen­ter part­nered with the Geor­gia Depart­ment of Health Ser­vices and Shel­ter­ing Arms to offer sub­si­dized, high-qual­i­ty child care to par­ents as they pre­pare for and begin to work.

Using a unique, cus­tomized-coach­ing approach, the cen­ter has devel­oped three dis­tinct path­ways to help adults achieve finan­cial sta­bil­i­ty and build careers: Mov­ing to Work, Mov­ing to Wealth and Mov­ing to Entrepreneurship.

Mov­ing to Work

The Mov­ing to Work path­way pro­vides unem­ployed and under­em­ployed res­i­dents with the skills and sup­ports they need to pre­pare for, secure and retain jobs that offer fam­i­ly-sup­port­ing wages and benefits.

Mov­ing to Wealth

The Mov­ing to Wealth path­way helps work­ing fam­i­lies make ends meet by pro­vid­ing income-enhanc­ing and asset-build­ing ser­vices to avhieve finan­cial sta­bil­i­ty, build assets and move toward homeownership.

Mov­ing to Entrepreneurship

The Mov­ing to Entre­pre­neur­ship path­way helps res­i­dents launch their own busi­ness­es, pro­vid­ing more job oppor­tu­ni­ties and increased access to goods and ser­vices in the neigh­bor­hoods. This is an impor­tant resource for those fac­ing bar­ri­ers to employment.

Addi­tion­al Resources

In addi­tion to help­ing peo­ple find work, the cen­ter helps fam­i­lies suc­cess­ful­ly work and con­tribute to their larg­er com­mu­ni­ty. As a part of its two-gen­er­a­tion approach, the cen­ter has offered Father­hood and Sis­ter­hood pro­grams to pro­vide par­ents with the inten­sive men­tor­ing, coach­ing and peer sup­port they need to build strong, suc­cess­ful rela­tion­ships with their chil­dren and com­mu­ni­ty. The Father­hood Pro­gram helped men address the bar­ri­ers that pre­vent them from being involved in their children’s lives, con­nect­ing fathers to legal and men­tal health ser­vices, job train­ing and oth­er sup­ports; the Sis­ter­hood Pro­gram helped women build con­fi­dence and devel­op stronger and more pos­i­tive per­cep­tions of them­selves and rela­tion­ships with friends, neigh­bors and relatives. 

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