Crawford Works is a new non-profit organization that has been created for the purpose of assisting all willing and capable individuals with advancing to economic self-sufficiency through employment. Crawford Works, through a network of comprehensive employment services and employer partnerships, will serve two clients:
· Job seekers who want to work their way out of poverty (Members)
· Employers who pay a fair wage and offer health benefits (Employer Partners)
Job seekers in poverty face multiple barriers that prevent them from making a successful transition to steady and continuous employment. Barriers may include a pattern of broken commitments, mental health issues (often depression), lack of problem solving skills, unstable work history, lack of planning skills, lack of education, a criminal record, insufficient job skills, language barriers, legal barriers, poor financial literacy and money management, lack of transportation, or child care, or lack of confidence. Individuals and families that find themselves in a vicious cycle of poverty and dependency on public assistance do not usually have the ability to simply lift themselves out of their circumstances.
An effective approach to transitioning people into steady employment has to address the multiple barriers an individual faces and it must do so by addressing the whole person. This approach respects the dignity of the members while building them up to become responsible for themselves. Economically self-sufficient individuals are taxpayers, role models, and productive citizens who are able to provide for themselves and their families without public assistance.
By helping someone transition to steady employment, employers will benefit from a previously untapped source of entry- and mid-level workers; tapping into one of the largest labor pools available since women entered into the workplace during World War II. The community will benefit because there will be a decreased need for public resources and a solution-focused strategy to eliminate poverty in the county.
Poverty impacts individuals, families and communities. Cincinnati Works co-founder, Dave Phillips describes poverty in this way, “poverty is a cancer that keeps growing while killing our neighbors. Isn’t it time we come together to find a lasting cure for this disease?” In Crawford County, the economic and community impact of generational poverty is very real and apparent and the need to transition people into steady employment is serious.
The Business Model
Crawford Works is being modeled after the proven and successful Cincinnati Works program that is transferable to communities “desiring to improve the placement and retention of their chronically unemployed citizens in a cost-effective manner”. The Cincinnati Works business model is scalable to local communities and has been recognized nationally for its “persuasive results” that measures job placements, retention, and tracks the number of members who reach self-sufficiency. In fact, the retention rate for members who stay employed continuous for one-year is an impressive 70 percent.
The Cincinnati Works business model used research and data to identify that traditional workforce development processes for unskilled entry-level workers is often ineffective at keeping the chronically unemployed, working.
Because the Cincinnati Works business model offers a scalable business model that is research based, accountable, outcome driven, and includes UNIQUE services that are both employer focused and holistic, the founders of Crawford Works have chosen to implement and adapt this business model in support of the citizens of Crawford County.
The Crawford Works approach offers support services to help Members successfully manage barriers to employment. These services include:
· One-on-One Employment Coaching
· Educational & Training Resources
· Transportation & Housing Services
· Legal Advocacy
· Financial Coaching
A Crawford Works membership is a lifetime membership. Moving from poverty to economic self-sufficiency is a process that often requires years to achieve and many obstacles to overcome.