New Program Focuses on Serving Pierce County’s Homeless Community

June 26, 2023

WorkForce Central, in collaboration with WorkSource Pierce partners, is offering a new program aimed at supporting one of Pierce County’s most vulnerable populations.

The Stabilization Training and Employment Program, or STEP, combines services provided by our housing system partners with workforce development services. Participants are residents of or experiencing homelessness in Pierce County and are engaged in services through our housing system partners.

Through the program, participants complete 16 hours of coursework spread out over 8 modules. These classes help them with personal development, goal setting, budgeting, preparing for job searches, resume and interview assistance, and other activities. The classes are really intended to set up participants for success. The first cohort started in May with 4 participants.

STEP participants interacting with each other during meeting in center.

After completing the modules, each person also works on an employment portfolio and is connected to a Work Experience internship, which averages 120 hours and is generally completed in 3-4 weeks. WorkForce Central’s Business Solutions team is working with employers to find the best Work Experience opportunities for these job seekers, ones that will be appropriate and accommodating to the challenges that come with experiencing homelessness.

Along with each accomplishment in the program, participants are rewarded with a stipend to further support them through the program and as an incentive to keep going.

The stipends are funded through STEP and then leveraged with federal dollars through WorkSource Pierce to provide further wraparound support services and to pay wages for their Work Experience internship.

Once they have completed their internship, participants are further supported by WorkSource Pierce in finding permanent employment. However, if they are struggling to meet the program goals, they are still enrolled in WorkSource programs and have additional support services and programs available with the assistance of their career advisors.

STEP runs through the end of 2023 and has a goal to get a minimum of 40 people experiencing homelessness into permanent employment.

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