Tag Archive | self-sufficiency

Vermont Works for Women: Connecting Women and Girls to the Transformative Power of Work

By David T. Applegate, Research and Policy Assistant, National Initiatives on Poverty & Economic Opportunity

TJat Intervale 2014

The impacts of poverty are deeply felt across racial and gender divides – but there is no denying that poverty is a particularly important issue for women. The numbers don’t lie: there are nearly 18 million women living in poverty in the United States and women are twice as likely as men to retire into poverty.

Vermont Works for Women (VWW) was founded 27 years ago with the intent of bridging the gender gap in employment – particularly in traditionally male-dominated fields like carpentry, plumbing, and other trades. Over time, VWW’s mission has expanded and evolved to a broader focus of promoting economic independence for women and girls.

Recently, Rachel Jolly – director of women’s programs at VWW – took the time to talk with the National Initiatives team about the employment services provided by VWW to women and girls in Vermont. In our interview, we discussed VWW’s emphasis on meeting individual participants where they are at in their employment and educational needs and the importance to the economy of increasing and diversifying the career opportunities for women and girls.

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Growing Careers: FarmWorks Combines Transitional Jobs + Contextualized Learning  

By Caitlin C. Schnur, Workforce Research and Policy Fellow, NTJN

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With the weather in Chicago (finally!) warming up, the National Transitional Jobs Network (NTJN) team traveled to East Garfield Park to visit FarmWorks, an urban farm developed by Heartland Human Care Services (HHCS) that provides transitional jobs (TJ) to low-income residents overcoming barriers to employment.  Splitting their time between the farm and the Greater Chicago Food Depository, transitional workers develop employable skills in urban farming, landscaping, and warehousing and distribution.

While the workers gain experience that will help them obtain entry-level work, FarmWorks realizes that entry-level jobs are a first step, not an end goal, for TJ participants.  “HHCS has run TJ programming for many years, and we’ve also been working on enhancements to the TJ model to ensure participant success in career pathways that lead to self-sufficiency,” says Jay Landau, HHCS’ Director of Education and Program Development.  To this end, FarmWorks has integrated its TJ program with a contextualized adult learning curriculum so that workers can build literacy and numeracy skills along with knowledge of career pathways with family-sustaining wages.

With FarmWorks’ strategy already showing positive results, the NTJN sat down with Jay and Dave Snyder, FarmWorks’ Program Manager, to talk about how this promising program design can help workers succeed and advance on the job.    Read More…

“A Beautiful Way to Live”: How One California Farm is Helping Individuals Experiencing Homelessness

Rep. Sam Farr and HGP’s Executive Director, Darrie Ganzhorn, tour the Homeless Garden Project’s farm.

Inspired by the National Transitional Jobs Network’s (NTJN) Getting America Back to Work Campaign, the Homeless Garden Project (HGP) recently hosted an in-district site visit from Congressman Sam Farr, California (D), at its three-acre organic farm in Santa Cruz.  Given Congressman Farr’s commitment to protect California’s agricultural sector and strengthen resources for vulnerable populations, HGP’s farm was the ideal spot for Congressman Farr to spend a sunny—and busy!—afternoon learning more about Transitional Jobs (TJ) programs for individuals experiencing homelessness.

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