Job training program for residents experiencing homelessness seeks participants

In the fall of last year, Pacific Gateway was awarded $300,00 from the Department of Health and Human Services to develop and implement an employment program serving high-need residents experiencing homelessness.

The program, Pathways Advancing to City Employment (PACE) was developed to move residents through a sequence of activities to build job skills, support personal development and equip people for entry-level work within the City or private sector.

The pilot was designed to serve 30 residents in two separate groups.

The first group of 15 residents was served through an intensive City site work program. The second 15 were connected to career development and employment opportunities through traditional workforce development services.

Participants had the following objectives:
• Work an average of 310 hours, earning $4,650 ($15/hour)
• Gain employment skills to equip themselves for non-subsidized work
• Connect to an employment opportunity either in the City or general job market upon completion
• Gain access to support to help them become job-ready
• Experience positive support from staff and fellow cohort members, further advancing their self-sufficiency

Once a week the team participates in work readiness and skill development workshops facilitated by Goodwill at the Long Beach Multi-Service Center.

City departments benefitted from the program via no-cost labor, enabling them to advance specific projects or backlogs of work.

Meeting program needs also makes Pacific Gateway more knowledgeable, fiscally nimble and responsive to the unique needs of residents experiencing homelessness.

Program elements for the cohort model via the City site work program include:
• Transportation provided daily from the Multi-Service Center to the job site (Willow Springs Park)
• Participants initially paid out each day, then through a weekly paycheck and then a biweekly paycheck to assist in the transition to regular earnings
• Lunch provided at end of each shift
• Number of work hours increases through the cohort
• Pacific Gateway case manager works with participants in partnership from city staff
• Pacific Gateway collaborates with Multi-Service Center and its partner Goodwill to provide additional skills development

At completion of hours, participants are placed in new employment, either at City site (non-career or part-time) or in job market roles similar to their City site work

Those in the traditional workforce development program experience a variety of support to complete workforce programming, skills assessment, supportive services, work experience and support to transition to a new job.

The COVID-19 pandemic has created some barriers, but so far, 17 participants have been enrolled in the program as of Sept. 15.

Of those 17, 10 are enrolled in the intensive Willow Springs cohort, two of which have temporarily paused in the program due to personal matters. The other seven are enrolled in supportive workforce activities. Five have already completed the program and two will continue.

There are 13 available participants slots to be filled by Oct. 31 of this year. This will include an additional cohort for Willow Springs and eight additional non-City site participants.

After completing the first phase of the program, participants able to complete a course of study will be offered vocational training scholarships of up to $7,500 to continue with their education.

Residents can find more information about the program by contacting Deputy City Manager Teresa Chandler at (562) 570-5116.

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