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Worknet Merced County Breaks Barriers and Gives New Life to Ex-Offenders and Homeless Participants

Worknet Merced County recently received two grants that will assist ex-offenders and homeless participants in obtaining and retaining employment. The Breaking Barriers program will work directly with probationers to provide job readiness services to program participants and their families. This program is a one-stop-shop for adult clients to receive Leadership for Life Classes, behavioral health and recovery services, and job readiness and job search assistance. Project Director Stacie Tury said, “By providing wrap-around services, we hope to provide guidance and support to both the participant and their support network.”

Ex-offenders face many obstacles to finding employment, including lack of work experience, deficit of job readiness skills, and discrimination due to their criminal history. Stacie said, “As part of this collaboration, we will offer job search assistance and workshops in resume development, interviewing, and employer expectations. Utilizing our relationship with local partners and employers, we will provide job readiness and employment services. We will strive to meet the needs of individual participants by creating an employment plan designed specifically for them.”

Worknet Merced County is also providing case management and career guidance services to unhomed or precariously housed persons through the New Life: Homeless Court to Job Readiness Project. In this program, a Homeless Court Navigator works with the participant during and after the judicial process. Participants receive assistance with case management and are coached to gainful employment using job retention strategies and training. This program aims to ensure the successful reestablishment of unhomed persons into society, eliminating legal barriers on their path to employment and self-sufficiency.

Stacie said, “Our county has adopted an innovative approach to homelessness. Our goal is to plan an inventive approach to serving these individuals by building a bridge to resolve two prominent issues: the clearing of fines, warrants, and records and to assist in the procurement of identification documents. We hope to learn more about the obstacles faced by this population as we work with them through the court process to job placement. By partnering with our community, we are collaboratively creating a therapeutic and judicial approach to improve the quality of life and the successful reintegration of these individuals into the community. Thanks to our dedicated staff, we are able to quickly adapt to new and innovative methodologies to better serve our community.”

Click here to learn more about Worknet Merced County.