Despite another challenging year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have successfully met the needs of women struggling with unemployment, experiencing financial instability, and juggling family responsibilities. In September 2021, we resumed in-person programming, including employment and financial workshops. However, we have found a preference among clients for virtual programming as the virus remains a threat. We are extremely pleased that we have served a total of 1,240 women in the reporting period—a significant increase over our 750 goal for the fiscal year.
A key focus continued to be case management and support for women planning to return to work during a difficult period. For example, we supported women in making important decisions about childcare when they continued to experience uncertainty caused by the pandemic. WEN recognizes the difficulty in returning to work with more complications than ever before. Our response also included workshops specifically geared toward supporting women, including Learn the 3 C’s to Return to Work.
We hosted four job fairs with area employers, offering women a chance to learn about area companies and how their skills align with available jobs. The job fairs were offered virtually.
Another area of success is the increase in average wages for women placed in jobs. During the reporting period, the average hourly wage was $16.36, more than our goal of $16.00 for the year. Connecting women to employers and helping them build skills puts them on a path to success.
Overall, we are pleased with our progress during this unpredictable time. As we continued to be flexible in program delivery, making adaptations as the situations warranted, we continue to be a beacon of hope for women seeking to improve their skills to gain employment and move toward financial independence.