MCCOG currently has two contracts with the State of Oregon Department of Human Services Self-Sufficiency Program. Whew – that was a mouthful!
DHS-SS is also known as the “welfare” or the “food stamp” office, although technically, there is no such thing as ‘welfare” or “food stamps.” What was previously known as “welfare” is now the TANF program – Temporary Assistance to Needy Families; and the “food stamp” program is now SNAP – Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
The largest contract we have with DHS-SS is the TANF JOBS program – and yet another acronym. JOBS is Job Opportunity and Basic Skills program. We work with TANF clients who are either job ready or near-job ready. When we first start working with a client, we ensure that they have all the tools they need for successful job search. This includes a current resume, the ability to complete a thorough and appropriate job application, a complete iMatchSkills profile, initial skills testing in Reading for Information and Applying Math as well as classes in interviewing, a mock-interview experience and a career exploration class (CIS – Career Information System). Don’t we love our acronyms! You have to admit – MCCOG is so much easier than “Mid-Columbia Council of Governments” and a lot quicker to type! As are most of the acronyms!
Once we’ve worked with the client to ensure they have the tools they need for a successful job search, they go down one of two tracks. For the first track, those clients who are job ready, we work with them on a structured and monitored job search. They meet weekly with their Advisor for job search review, potential job referrals, and encouragement. We also offer a weekly Job Search Strategies class designed to further educate them on the best ways to look for work.
Strategies of Success Job Club
In addition, we offer a weekly Strategies of Success Job Club designed to teach the ways to be successful on the job. This Job Club is also offered to the second track of clients – those who are near-job ready. These clients may have been out of the job market for several years, or may have other barriers that make it more difficult for them to find employment. These clients not only attend the weekly Job Club, but also are set up with a local employer in a Work Experience position. We are lucky to have several employers who work with us to provide a work experience opportunity for these clients (though we are always looking for more employers willing to offer this experience). This generally involves 20 hours per week of volunteer time for the client. Clients gain experience, work skills, a work reference, and then experience an invaluable boost in self-confidence.