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:
-Essential Job Documents (e.g., master job application)
-Interview Strategies & Mock Interview
-Assessment & Case Management
-Custom Job Search Assistance
-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.