Winter 2011/Spring 2012

Employment Connection “Connecting For Greater Outcomes”
A Message from the CEO BRENDA MAHR
great depression, Employment Connection has continued its mission of assisting persons with limited opportunities to self-sufficiency through employment. Skeptics felt our population of homeless veterans, ex-offenders and others with major barriers to employment could not compete with so many seeking jobs with higher skills and educational levels. The “secret” of our success is in collaborating with the most effective agencies in the region to assure quality of service and minimum duplication. You’ll read about these new collaborations in this edition and along with client successes and new staff. Concurrently, the Board of Directors is engaged in developing a strategic plan to guide the agency into the future. Under the leadership of President J.D. Luhning, the Board is assessing our mission and vision, ByLaws and Articles of Incorporation, along with all programmatic and administrative functions. The primary focus of the Board is to assure our services positively impact the community and individuals served by the agency to achieve self-sufficiency.

Despite the worst recession since the

David Kessel, COO
Collaboration, Partnership, Collective Impact. These are all terms that express a tradition within Employment Connection’s culture. Staff recognizes that one organization can not be the best at providing all services that clients require to become successful and self –sufficient. Partnerships with other quality regional providers increases our outcomes. Cooperation between agencies on grant applications also increases the quality of applications resulting in more funding to the St. Louis region. “The United Way is pleased to support the Family Resource Center and Em-

ployment Connection in their new PathBuilder’s collaboration. Employment, housing and healthcare services are a serious challenge throughout our community. We appreciate the opportunity to partner with these two impressive agencies who are prepared to create long-term, positive change in people’s lives”, stated Becky Herschbach of the United Way of Greater St. Louis, when asked to comment on our most recent collaborative grant, a United Way Special Needs Grant. This grant provides funding for one Employment Connection staff member to be housed at Family Resource Center. Other recent collaborations include an application with St. Patrick’s Center to provide Supportive Services to Veterans Families. This VA funded grant assists Veterans and their families who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Combined with our other funding to serve Veterans, we are able to provide more holistic services increasing successful outcomes.

Employment Connection also was included as partner in a Pathways to Responsible Fatherhood Grant awarded to Fathers Support Center (FSC). This grant integrates FSC’s evidence-based Fatherhood Development curriculum with an impactful employment and support service model to reach the long-term goals of (1) helping fathers build mutually supportive and long-lasting relationships with their children, (2) helping fathers build supportive relationships with the mothers of their children and (3) helping fathers overcome barriers to economic self-sufficiency. Some FSC staff are now housed at Employment Connection and FSC services are embedded in our employment services. Please check future newsletters for information on other examples of how we are partnering to help our clients to achieve success.

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Changes to the Competitive Employment Program (CEP)
October 2011 Employment Connection changed the criteria for the Competitive Employment Program. The change was due to funding. The Competitive Employment Program over the years has provided job readiness training, case management , counseling, job placement and job retention services to adults seeking employment. The Back to Health, Back to Work component funded by the Saint Louis Mental Health Board is now in the fourth year. This component is to help adults with behavioral health disorders deal with their clinical problems in order to enable sustained employment. The criteria to enter CEP are: Homeless military veterans Immigrants/Refugees St. Louis City residents, who have been on probation or parole for 1 year or less or released from incarceration for 1 year or less and having a high school diploma or GED Adults must call (314) 333-5627 to schedule orientation and the World of Work class. We appreciate your understanding of this change.

Preparedness in the Workplace
Often times in the workplace employees do not think of the importance of disaster preparedness and contingency planning. With these two variables in place, Employment Connection is sure to recover rapidly from any damage that may occur to the agencies infrastructure and internal data. The Disaster & Safety Committee has plunged in full-force to ensure that Employment Connection is abreast with the most current knowledge on how to continuously improve our safety measures. In the last staff meeting, held on February 9, 2012, the Disaster & Safety Committee presented new ideas and recommendations for the revision of the agencies disaster plan, as well as procedures and protocols to follow in the event of a fire. During the meeting, the committee also provided a recap of the information that was learned at the Pandemic Prep Forum and the Faith Based Preparedness Conference.

Employment Connection added three new programs and received an extension for another program during the fall of 2011 and winter of 2012.
Supportive Services for Veteran Families provides supportive services that promote housing stability for low-income U.S. Veterans and their families residing in or transitioning to permanent housing. The agency partnered together with St. Patrick’s Center to provide a collective approach to veteran services. The PathBuilders Initiative is a cooperative effort between Family Resource Center and Employment Connection that applies clinical best practices and specific community resources for a period of 18-24 months for St. Louis County families. Services will be provided to help clients caught in the generational cycle of child maltreatment to reach a sustainable level of progress in parenting, family interactions, and economic and social conditions. The partnership will break the cycle of abuse for these families. Employment Connection has partnered with Father Support Center to provide employment training services to low income fathers who are transitioned from noncustodial parents into active fathers through training programs which include healthy marriage/ relationship, responsible parenting, economic stability education and legal services. The New Americans and Employment program received support from the Daughters of Charity to continue providing services to legal immigrants who need help with barriers they face in their new home: includes life and job skills training. Thank you to the above partners and supporters who are dedicated to providing St. Louis residents with the services needed to attain self-sufficiency. Are you interested in partnering with Employment Connection, call Jonathan Walz at 314-333-5645.

2011 EC staff in service “Connecting to Our Future, Preparing for Transitions” was the theme of the 2011 EC in service Monday, November 21st through the 23rd 2011. In service provides EC staff in house training as well as time to review 2011 goals and update the agency strategic plan. One of the major challenges that staff discussed was increasing job placements for clients. Presenters for the 2011 EC in service were Susan Van Rees, District Administrator, Missouri Bureau Probation & Parole 7 South. Her presentation was on Motivational Interviewing. EC Board Director Walter Robinson facilitated a Sexual Harassment workshop. Chris Miller, Mission Center presented Social Entrepreneurship. In service was held at Employment Connection for one day and a half. The other day and a half staff were housed at Harris- Stowe State University AT & T Library and Technology Resource Center.

Jesse Payton Memorial Fund for 2011 (Toys for Tots)
The annual JPMF campaign was very successful. Thanks to Toys for Tots Coordinator Marine SSgt Hogle and Semper Fi Society Coordinator Jim Brooks the toy drive did exceed its wildest dreams. We received more toys this year than previous years. That meant we were able to serve more families. We provided toys for Employment Connection clients, families at the Christ Family Refuse Church and Lively Stone Baptist Church. The toys ranged from bicycles to skate boards. Every recipient expressed an openness of joy when they received their toys. The Jesse Payton Memorial Fund has been a beacon of hope for our families. Our staff enjoys sorting, selecting and wrapping the toys. We try to make a difference each year. JPMF will continue to support our families. Jesse Payton, a deceased EC staff person initiated the request to receive toys for our clients from Toys for Tots.

HVRP hosted a discussion over breakfast regarding programs in our region that provide services to Vets. Attending were over 35 organizations who serve Veterans in the St. Louis Metro Region. Through a Power Point and verbal presentation conducted by Senior Manager Eugene Fowler and Manager Yusef Scoggin a user friendly description of EC’s Veteran Programs: HVRP, SSVF, and PSH was rolled out to attendees. Each attending organization was afforded an opportunity to give an Page 3

overview of their organization’s services. In addition to those attending organizations who serve VETs in attendance were representatives of Federal, State, and Local governments including our City of St. Louis HVRP grantors and Brendan Fahey, Senator Claire McCaskills Office and Lou Aboussie, Congressman William Lacy Clay’s Office. Through it all we feel that we gained new partners and strengthened existing partnerships in providing a region-

al approach to serving needy VETs. There will be another meeting in April. Walking the Talk! At the InService meeting staffers of HVRP and various EC Housing Programs discussed and agreed to make changes in how HVRP operates in order to make improvements in our program. HVRP “walked the talk” by effectuating all of the suggestive changes and will soon analyze the effectiveness thereof.

EC Staff

Agency Needs……….
Donated white linen tablecloths Volunteer Graphic Designer Volunteers for mock job interviews Flash drives for clients Lunch donated for clients Furniture & household items for homeless vets

Visit our website for additional Information

All donations are welcomed

Statistics for 2011
Employment Connection 2011 Statistics Competitive Employment Program (CEP) Reservations Orientations WRT/WOW/Fast Track Admissions WRT/WOW Completions Job/Training Placements Job Retention (180 Days) Average Hourly Wage Active clients Managed Work Services (MWS) 2581 1364 1156 988 529 55% $8.50 437
2838 Market St., St. Louis, MO 63103 Phone: (314) 333-JOBS (5627) Fax: (314) 333-3627
Editorial Staff
Co-Editors: Veronica Travis Pat Brown Erick Abernathy

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Housing Outcomes Point in time December 31, 2011 St. Louis County Permanent Supportive Housing 19 families St. Louis County Rapid Rehousing 14 families St. Louis city Permanent Supportive Housing 18 families

Brenda Mahr David Kessel Jesse Lane Jonathan Walz Preston Vanderford Saffiyah Muhammed Pat Brown

Thank you to all the supporters of Employment Connection!

“Empower, Inspire, Employ”
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