TJ Program Spotlight: Connections to Success

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Connections to Success (CtS) is a Missouri-based transitional jobs program with locations in St. Louis, St. Charles, and Kansas City Missouri and Kansas City, Kansas that uses a holistic model to provide adults and families in crisis the tools that enable them to overcome life-scarring experiences, leave the trappings of poverty, properly care for their children, and enter the workforce with pride and skill.  CtS was a recipient of a Department of Health and Human Services Responsible Fatherhood Grant to provide services that help fathers learn about responsible parenting. NTJN recently reached out to CtS to ask them how this grant has impacted their work and how TJ has helped their community. Here’s what they shared with us:

Q: How has Transitional Jobs programming impacted your community and the individuals you serve? 

A: TJ programming has impacted our community by providing an opportunity for employers to “try out” someone in the work place while also training them for positions within their companies or other companies needing similar skills.  Many employers see the economic value to TJ in reduced turnover cost and increased profitability.  Benefits to the participant include on the job training, hard & soft skills development , paid wages and opportunities for unsubsidized employment with that employer or a similar employer.  

Q: Why do you think Transitional Jobs programming is important for the individuals you serve? 

A: TJ programming has afforded employment opportunities for our participants that have significant barriers to employment. TJ has allowed them to learn work place skills (showing up to work on time, following instructions, etc) while also learning vocational skills. The majority of our participants who started as TJ have successfully transitioned into unsubsidized employment with their employers. The others have been able to build job history and have been able to secure employment with other community employers. 

Q: What has receiving the HHS Responsible Fatherhood Grant meant to your organization and the work you do?

A: The HHS Responsible Fatherhood Grant has allowed CtS to expand programming to include parenting, relationships, domestic violence and child support issues.  Many of the components in the relationship curriculum are transferrable to the workplace such as positive communication with co-workers and supervisors.  In addition, the parenting curriculum has allowed the men to recognize the need for financial and emotional support for their children.  They are excited about obtaining and retaining employment in order to provide support to their children.  

Q: If there was one thing you would tell someone who was “on the fence” about the import or value of Transitional Jobs what would it be?

A: It is a win/win for employers and participants.  TJ is a great way for employers to develop employees that can grow within companies at limited risk.  Understanding that a component of TJ is on the job training, participants are allowed additional opportunities to make mistakes and learn from them without the risk of losing their jobs immediately.  TJ builds partnerships between CtS and employers for long term relationships, provides job opportunities for the hardest  to serve, and provides economic benefit to the employers.

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To find out more about Connections to Success, check out their website.

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About National Initiatives on Poverty & Economic Opportunity

Heartland Alliance’s National Initiatives on Poverty & Economic Opportunity is dedicated to ending chronic unemployment and poverty. We believe that every person deserves the opportunity to succeed in work and support themselves and their families. Through our field building, we provide support and guidance that fosters more effective and sustainable employment efforts. Our policy and advocacy work advances solutions to the systemic issues that drive chronic unemployment.

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