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A Road to Self-Sufficiency

Program provides job training pathways

A Road to Self Sufficiency

Program Overview

A Road to Self-Sufficiency was a holistic job training program for those in the county over the age of 18 who were seeking employment. This program was thanks to a grant from the California Workforce Development Board.

The program, which wrapped up at the end of March, 2024, opened doors to many employment opportunities in high-demand industries. Some of the pathways were in early childhood education, hospitality/food, commercial driving, medical assisting, office administration, and construction.

In addition to job training and employment placement, participants engaged in monthly peer learning sessions, received a monthly stipend, had access to financial and career coaching, and received support with developing and accomplishing their personal goals.   

Highlights

During the program, 65% of participants maintained employment while participating in job skills training. Additionally, 74% transitioned to sustainable employment, suggesting that their skills and training helped them secure more stable and long-term job opportunities. Other program participants went on to postsecondary education, enrolled in a state approved apprenticeship, or experienced a promotion at their current employment.

Of the program participants who took the survey at the end of the program:

  • 62% reported an improvement in their peer and professional support networks
  • 85% of the program’s English language learners took an English language proficiency assessment and 79% enrolled in English language classes to work toward increased proficiency to foster their success and integration into the community
  • 83% actively engaged with career coaches to create written employment and training plans to support their personal and professional development and career readiness 
  • 82% enrolled in the program for six months or longer, demonstrating their dedication to maximizing the program’s resources and opportunities for skill development and career advancement
  • 84% indicated a 50% or greater improvement in their confidence level in the labor market after completing their training
  • 83% reported they had access to personal checking and savings accounts at the end of the program, an essential for individuals to manage their finances, save for the future, and build a foundation for long-term financial security.

 

Participant Pathways

Path Taken by Participants  Number 
Industry Certificate or Credential  13 
Postsecondary Education  32 
State Approved Apprenticeship  17 
Career Advancement/Promotion  17 
New Employment  31 

Participant Stories

“I feel that in recent months the program has helped me obtain employment opportunities, training information, and support with rent payments in the moments when I needed it. I’m a single mother of three little ones and I want a better job for my children’s future.    

In the Peer Support Specialist training, it was a very nice to share our experiences and skills on how to help a client. I also was able to make friends with the group and interact with quality people who have the same feelings of wanting to help our community.   

With this training I have gained more experience in peer support ethics, recovery techniques, mental health, and substance abuse. It has also helped me a lot to understand more about the people in my community and my family and friends so I can give them support. I believe that our community needs the support of these programs for people with financial and learning resource needs.”

Despite the challenges of balancing work, home life, and school, six of the program’s English Language Learners decided to pursue a career in Early Child Education (ECE). Their determination and gratitude for the opportunity to participate in the supportive ECE employment program was inspiring. It was heartening to see how they embraced the chance to further their education in a new country with the support of the workforce accelerator program team and a local community college.

The proactive steps taken by their instructor to address challenges, such as connecting with UC Riverside to enroll them in a second Early Childhood Education course, highlighted the importance of supportive and dedicated educators in facilitating students’ success. The collaborative efforts between Community Action Marin, College of Marin, and UC Riverside demonstrated a commitment to overcoming barriers and ensuring access to educational opportunities for all learners. 

The fact that these six participants completed three Early Childhood Education classes and earned units toward their Associate Teacher Permit is a testament to their hard work and dedication. Moreover, they are continuing their education and are on track to achieve their goal of obtaining their teaching permit. 

The collaboration with CareerPoint to support job placement and one participant’s decision to open her own in-home childcare business showcases the diverse pathways to success available through our program. The supportive services provided are making a significant difference in the lives of these individuals as they work toward their career goals. 

Through a partnership with our local America’s Job Center of California, CareerPoint Marin, Donald was introduced to Community Action Marin and began to access resources and supportive services on his journey toward self-sufficiency. 

Our agency’s CARE Team and Workforce Development Coordinator worked closely with Donald to develop a comprehensive plan addressing his housing, employment, and other basic needs. This joint effort and shared commitment to Donald’s success demonstrated the power of collaboration in supporting individuals experiencing homelessness and seeking employment.

The holistic approach recognized that stable housing is a prerequisite for successful employment outcomes, especially when navigating regulatory requirements such as those imposed by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), a necessity based on Donald’s desire to participate in commercial driver training. Donald faced challenges meeting the DMV’s residency requirement, so our agency and Vivalon partnered to advocate on his behalf and find a solution. This collaborative effort and shared commitment to Donald’s success demonstrated the importance of leveraging resources within the community to overcome systemic barriers.  

Although Donald was not able to complete driver training initially, Vivalon offered Donald a part-time job as a Bus Attendant, showcasing their commitment to supporting his full potential. This opportunity gave Donald a stable income while he continued to work towards obtaining permanent housing and completing the training. 

Donald’s progress from living in his car to securing employment as a Bus Attendant reflects his personal growth and the positive impact of the support system provided by our agency, CareerPoint, and Vivalon. 

Lynette’s journey with Community Action Marin began in August 2022 when the Community Alternative Response and Engagement (CARE) Team received a concerning referral about a mother and her son residing in their car. Meeting Lynette for the first time in a parking lot in Marin City, a CARE team member swiftly took action, tapping into COVID-19 funds to repair her car, which served as their shelter and means of transportation.   

Guided by the CARE team’s support, Lynette was connected to essential services tailored to her specific needs, including housing assistance and CalWORKs. Thanks to these resources, Lynette secured a hotel voucher before transitioning to a domestic violence survivor transitional housing program, marking a pivotal step towards stability.  

Lynette’s determination and proactive approach were instrumental in her journey towards self-sufficiency. When she learned about the Road to Self-Sufficiency Program, she eagerly seized the opportunity to join and immediately focused on her training and employment plan. She fully immersed herself in monthly group meetings and individual sessions, setting her sights on a career in medical assisting. With the guidance and support from the program, Lynette enrolled at the College of Marin, embarking on a path to attain a Medical Assisting Administrative Certificate.  

Another door opened in the summer of 2023 as Lynette seized the opportunity to join the Associate Teacher Apprenticeship program. Driven by her lifelong passion for education, she launched into early childhood education courses at the college, fueled by the dream of securing her Associate Teachers’ Permit by May 2024.  

Alongside her academic pursuits, Lynette prioritized housing stability for her family, also seeking guidance from Community Action Marin’s financial and credit coaches. Determined, she worked towards her financial goals, paying off credit card debt and increasing her credit score. Shortly thereafter she received news of her successful housing application, culminating in the joyous moment of receiving keys to a new home.

Today, Lynette stands as a testament to the transformative power of support, determination, and community collaboration. Her success is not just her own but a result of the collective efforts of the staff at Community Action Marin and other community based organizations. She is poised to realize her goal of working in the field she loves, and she remains an active voice in the community, advocating tirelessly for affordable housing and raising awareness of the challenges faced by families like hers. Lynette’s journey is a beacon of hope, inspiring others to navigate their paths to self-sufficiency and success, knowing that they are not alone in their journey.