Help 80 Women Find Jobs & Financial Independence

by Women's Employment Network
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Help 80 Women Find Jobs & Financial Independence
Help 80 Women Find Jobs & Financial Independence
Help 80 Women Find Jobs & Financial Independence
Help 80 Women Find Jobs & Financial Independence
Help 80 Women Find Jobs & Financial Independence
Help 80 Women Find Jobs & Financial Independence
Help 80 Women Find Jobs & Financial Independence
Help 80 Women Find Jobs & Financial Independence
Help 80 Women Find Jobs & Financial Independence
Help 80 Women Find Jobs & Financial Independence
Help 80 Women Find Jobs & Financial Independence
Help 80 Women Find Jobs & Financial Independence
Help 80 Women Find Jobs & Financial Independence
Help 80 Women Find Jobs & Financial Independence
Help 80 Women Find Jobs & Financial Independence
Help 80 Women Find Jobs & Financial Independence
Help 80 Women Find Jobs & Financial Independence
Help 80 Women Find Jobs & Financial Independence
Help 80 Women Find Jobs & Financial Independence
Help 80 Women Find Jobs & Financial Independence
Help 80 Women Find Jobs & Financial Independence
Help 80 Women Find Jobs & Financial Independence
Help 80 Women Find Jobs & Financial Independence

The last year and a half have been extraordinarily challenging for women as they struggled to navigate an unpredictable employment landscape while juggling multiple family responsibilities. Many women were forced to leave the job market to stay home with children, often supervising their online learning (Women in the Workplace, 2020). Whether returning or entering the workplace for the first time, the complexities caused by COVID-19 underscore the need for a tailored approach to finding employment and achieving financial security for women. The high cost of childcare and lack of a support structure bring additional stress—, particularly for women living in poverty. Case management is critical to helping them make important decisions about childcare, work schedules, and creating a support network.

Lack of access to transportation, affordable childcare, and other barriers are common among WEN’s client population, 80% of whom live at or below the federal poverty level (FPL). Women of color, who represent 55% of the women we serve, have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. Forty-eight percent of clients are African American and 7%, are Hispanic.

WEN offers employment preparation, financial coaching, and case management to help women prepare to enter or re-enter the workforce. Lessons learned during the pandemic inform our current delivery model. Based on the success of offering virtual workshops and one-on-one support via telephone conferencing, we now offer a hybrid model as we return to face-to-face program delivery. Key program components are:

 

-Career Exploration

 

-Essential Job Documents (e.g., master job application)

 

-Resume Review

 

-Interview Strategies & Mock Interview

 

-Assessment & Case Management

 

-Skill-building Workshops

 

-Custom Job Search Assistance

 

-Job Fairs

 

-Financial Coaching & Credit Building

 

-Special Assistance (e.g., rent, utilities, transportation, childcare)

 

-Alumnae Professional Development/Outreach

 

WEN's goals are to (1) increase employment skills and job retention strategies, (2) increase job search capabilities, (3) secure long-term employment, and (4) establish long-term financial stability while working with over 300 employers in Kansas City metropolitan area. We will serve over 850 clients in the 2021-2022 program year, including 250 financial coaching clients.

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2020-21 Summary

The Women’s Employment Network (WEN) is grateful to all our supporters who contributed via GlobalGiving for being there for women during one of the most challenging times in recent history. As women navigated the difficult road back to employment while juggling multiple family responsibilities, you were a beacon of hope. We want to provide you a summary of the difference your gift made in the lives of women during this turbulent time.

WEN Signature Programming

Virtual programming replaced face-to-face classes with extraordinary results. Staff was able to pivot to program delivery through virtual workshops and one-on-one support. They modified processes to ensure a seamless transition. Another notable achievement was the ability to support women as they needed help making decisions about work schedules, child care, and other important considerations during the pandemic. With the number of women working in service jobs, the hardest hit sector, case management and one-on-one support was crucial to finding financial stability.

The following outcome results demonstrate the importance of your gift to WEN clients.

  • Outcome 1: We served 1040 clients through our signature programming, including workshops and individualized services.
  • Outcome 2: Increased the financial stability and security of our clients by providing one-on-one Financial Coaching to 189 clients using the FOC model.
  • Outcome 3: Made 426 referrals with 106 jobs reported in with a full-time hourly wage averaging $16.36.

WEN received referrals from multiple community organizations, including homeless shelters, domestic violence organizations, and social service nonprofits. While our partnerships are numerous, a sample of partners include : City Union Mission, The Whole Person, Empower Missouri, State of Kansas, Jewish Vocational Services, Catholic Charities of Greater Kansas City, Community Health Council of Wyandotte, Convoy of Hope, Johnson County Department of Corrections, Johnson County Library, Metropolitan Community College, The Grooming Project, Workforce Partnership, Family & Child Development Center, Rosebrooks, Jackson County CASA, Jewish Family Services, Kansas City Center for Inclusion, Kansas City Rescue Mission, MOCSA, The Family Conservancy, The Single Mom KC, Salvation Army, Operation Breakthrough, reStart, Synergy Services, and many more. 

 Here is how one client describes her WEN experience:

“I was working in the hospitality industry and immediately experienced the impact of the pandemic; I was furloughed at the end of March. I was concerned about how I was going to make ends meet and my next steps during this time of uncertainty.  A co-worker and WEN graduate encouraged me to connect with WEN for support.

Not sure what to expect, I decided to join WEN's virtual workshop "Silencing Your Inner Critic" presented by WEN's case manager. At the end of the workshop, the attendees were invited to participate in job search, financial coaching, or support creating a plan for managing during the pandemic. I reached out to Kim and received resource information for rent, utilities, and food. I talked with each staff member about my needs and goals and each recommended workshop that helped me find my footing. I had weekly phone conversations to make sure I stayed on track and on task, which made me feel connected.

I updated my resume, participated in mock interviews and followed up on the job leads received from WEN. Even though I got discouraged by not getting a job offer, I knew I would be supported and motivated by the WEN team to keep on task because something would come through. Fortunately, I was able to return to work.

WEN's support helped me focus on what I did have, what I could do, and kept me looking forward and open to the possibilities of what might be ahead.  I am grateful to be back at work and know that I am always connected to WEN.

Sheila-

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Changes
Changes

The Covid-19 pandemic began changing the way we work almost a year and a half ago. Since then, the Women's Employment Network has had a front-row seat to the employment and financial challenges women have faced. Now, vaccinations are more available and public health and government recommendations are responding with more changes for the way we work.

A quick look at the news will show you a flood of reporting on the economy, jobs, and household finance. WEN's mission of helping women achieve economic self-sufficiency through sustained employment is greatly affected by all of this change. We wanted to share our perspective as we look at a new wave of challenges for the women we serve. 

Many women are ready to look for jobs, and more employers are eager to fill open positions. May's jobs report shows a stronger employment recovery than many economists predicted, but you've also probably seen reports of a "worker shortage" affecting businesses looking to fill open positions, which some attribute to unemployment benefits. From our vantage point, the picture is a little more complicated. Some of our clients aren't quite ready to look for employment even if their jobless benefits end because they simply don't have the support structure in place to safely return to full-time work.

Challenge 1: Health & Safety

Vaccinations are a key to evening out worker supply and employer demands. Women may be unable to return to work that exposes them to Covid-19 because they or a household member may be among the millions of immunocompromised Americans who cannot receive the vaccine or for whom it will be less effective. 43% of Missourians and 48% of Kansans have received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, but children under the age of 12 are still ineligible to receive this protection.

Challenge 2: Vaccine Logistics

Women are more likely to work in the retail, service, and hospitality sectors which often don't include paid time off to go get the vaccine, or for any time they may need to take off for side effects they might experience after getting the shot.

Challenge 3: Child Care

WEN observes many of our clients cannot make a plan to find jobs until they have a reliable plan for child care and know what the 2021-22 school year will look like for their families.

Challenge 4: Transportation 

The reduced capacity of public transportation means some women lack access to transportation to and from work they once had.

Challenge 5: Mismatched Supply & Demand

The supply of women looking for employment isn't a perfect match for the demand right now, just like businesses of all kinds have struggled with supply chain issues during this time of rapid change. Ask anyone who's turned a faucet back on after shutting off the water main supply. You might encounter no water, followed by an explosive spray of high-pressure water before it evens back out to a normal flow.

WEN is ready.

Since these challenges aren’t going anywhere; neither are we. Over the past 35 years, our throughline through all the change has been our ability to meet a woman where she is, help her establish where she wants to go, and then support and guide her in that process. 

Are you ready?

Now, in 2021, we're launching a new GlobalGiving project to lift up and highlight WEN's network of support, 35 years strong and more resilient to change than ever. Look on our organization profile for our 2019-2020 Annual Report to be published soon, and watch for our upcoming NEW GlobalGiving project. This benchmark year of giving is our moment to show you that your support matters to us and to the women we serve.

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Celebrating 35 Years of Perseverance
Celebrating 35 Years of Perseverance

Wow! We are blown away by your support for WEN to help women realize their true potential. The tenacity of these women plus the persistence of WEN have created a formula for success. With almost $68,000 of our $70,000 goal, your donations have made this formula available to our goal of 80 women,

On behalf of the Women’s Employment Network (WEN), we offer our sincere thanks. 

When women in our community come to WEN, they doubt their abilities, question their self-worth, and struggle to cope with change. Through your generous support, WEN provides these women with hope, courage, and strength so they can face the world again.

In 2020, we shared with you the ways in which we've pivoted to face the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic to women's employment and financial independence. Now, in 2021, we're launching a new GlobalGiving project to lift up and highlight WEN's network of support, 35 years strong and more resilient to change than ever. Look on our organization profile for our 2019-2020 Annual Report to be published soon, and watch for our upcoming NEW GlobalGiving project. This benchmark year of giving is our moment to show you that your support matters to us and to the women we serve.

Women who find employment with our encouragement gain more than a job; they discover the confidence they need to succeed for themselves and their families. Your generosity will help ensure that WEN continues its vital mission to help women achieve economic independence.

You help WEN change the lives of women: forever.

"This has been a great experience. It has helped me find my footing again. I am very grateful." - 2020 WEN Client

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Covid-19's Toll on Women
Covid-19's Toll on Women

Women have experienced higher rates of joblessness than men since the start of the covid-19 pandemic and Black and Latina women's jobless rates are recovering more slowly than White women's jobless rates. -Bloomberg News

Women's Employment Network's mission is to help women achieve economic self-sufficiency through sustained employment, so we are worried and discouraged by reports like this.

“Women are leaving the workforce at four times the rate as men. The burden of parenting and running a household while also working a job during the pandemic has created a pressure cooker environment in many households, and women are bearing the brunt of it.” -NPR News

We see first-hand the very real financial consequences that are being borne largely by women, and disproportionately by BIWOC (Black, Indigenous, and women of color) right here in Kansas City.

The pandemic is eroding progress made by women in the workplace, a new report by Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg's Lean In foundation finds. "COVID-19 threatens to roll back the progress we have painstakingly made over the last five to 10 years for women in the workplace." -Sheryl Sandberg, NPR News

The news is clear. Women need support-now more than ever. Women struggling don't just need help to find work or to learn financial skills, they need a network of support.

A new study shows that women are almost three times more likely than men not to be working due to childcare demands because of the pandemic. -CBS News

We're not sharing these reports to contribute to the anxiety and hopelessness many women are struggling with. Rather, we draw strength from the resolve of women like this mother who left her job in communications in July to care for her two-year-old son:

"'I’m determined to return to the workforce,' said Weindruch, even if that means 'starting a few steps behind.'"  -Nancy Weindruch, Bloomberg News

WEN is determined, too. We are determined to provide virtual training and one-on-one coaching to women seeking economic independence and sustained employment. We are especially determined to help those women who may not have a network of support in their lives and who may be facing additional barriers to economic recovery. Your gift lets us help women feel determined, too. 

"One of the things that my son always says when he goes to bed is, 'Who's gonna watch me?' He worries, he can't sleep right because he doesn't know where he's going to be." -Clara Vazquez, CBS News

We are having to be more resilient than ever to pivot rapidly to help the women in our project face the workplace environment with grit and flexibility. Women's Employment Network supports women with personalized coaching that approaches the whole woman, offering a network of support that addresses her job search, budget, credit, career development, and personal development. Your gift helps us directly address the real challenges women are facing right now.

WEN's Network of Support
WEN's Network of Support
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Organization Information

Women's Employment Network

Location: Kansas City, MO - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @OneKCforWomen
Project Leader:
Erin Cole
Kansas City, Missouri United States

Funded Project!

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
   

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