The Employment Initiative began as the Employment Transformation Mobilizer Project in August of 2015 and had one goal: finding meaningful employment in the Cranberry Township area for the residents of Butler County. The program is designed to pair an individual who may need support with a local employer willing to give back to the community and hire individuals who might struggle to find employment elsewhere. Individuals in the program may have a criminal background, a disability, are homeless, or are veterans who may need the additional assistance to find meaningful, sustainable employment. Through this project, a supported employment component comes into play allowing the Employment Initiative Coordinator to work with managers and human resources to assist with sustaining employment.
The Employment Initiative is a collaboration between United Way of Butler County and Butler County Human Services. It seeks to help bridge the gaps that may be holding people back from gaining sufficient employment. Referrals for the program generally come from Butler County agencies or schools. However, potential candidates can be referred through the United Way of Butler County office as well, and their information will be shared with the Employment Coordinator. Once he receives a referral, he assesses what assets and skills the client possesses and evaluates their work readiness. The Employment Coordinator will help with resume writing and mock interview skills to prepare the client for their interview. Once a potential employment match is made, he will assist as needed to help the client secure the job. United Way of Butler County and Butler County Human Services are continually working to adapt the program to the needs that become evident as it grows. The need for reliable transportation is one of the issues that has arisen as a barrier to many in finding and sustaining employment, and this is just one of the problems both organizations are working to address.
Beyond working with individuals to prepare them for and connect them with employment, the project also works closely with representatives from local businesses to help these candidates receive a chance when they might not elsewhere. In addition to simply offering these candidates a chance, the goal is to get them into a position that pays them a living wage and provides them with what they need to be self-sufficient. Partnerships are currently in place with the Pittsburgh Marriott North and St. John's Lutheran Senior Life, and partnerships with additional businesses are being pursued.
Though the Employment Initiative began as a two-year pilot project, conversations between United Way of Butler County and Butler County Human Services are ongoing to address the continued possibilities of the program.
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