HCJFS Continues to Serve Record Numbers

Earlier this month, I wrote about adaptability in the monthly Update column. I want to highlight the following statistics, which I think are particularly compelling:

The number of Medicaid consumers we served in 2012 (178,000) is 40 percent higher than in 2007 (127,000) when we were at full staffing levels. The number of food assistance consumers is even more striking. In 2012 we served 135,000 individuals needing food assistance. That is nearly 90 percent higher than in 2007 when we served 72,000. And unfortunately, the numbers don’t show any sign of slowing.

We continue to do more with less and with the proposed Medicaid expansion, this will only be more important.

I encourage you to read the column here: http://www.hcjfs.hamilton-co.org/UpdateNew2013/March/Letter.htm

SuperJobs Puts Job Seekers to Work

The goal of the SuperJobs Center is simple: assist job seekers in finding the right job and assist employers in finding the right candidate.

Nearly all of the activities at the SuperJobs Center work toward that end and last year, I am proud to say, the SuperJobs Center was successful in placing 1,688 people in new jobs.

That’s up from 2011 when 1,500 people were placed in new jobs.

There are a number of factors that contribute toward this success:

  • Hiring events: SuperJobs regularly partners with local companies to connect the employer to local candidates. In the past six months, 1,449 job seekers attended events by 63 local companies.
  • The job board: Local employers are able to feature job postings through SuperJobs at both their building at 1916 Central Parkway and online at www.superjobs.com. Last year more than 190 employers worked with SuperJobs more than once.
  • Career coaches: Job seekers can get one-on-one assistance by signing up at the SuperJobs Center. There are currently more than 1,000 job seekers working with SuperJobs.
  • Education and training: SuperJobs is currently funding formal and technical education for 162 job seekers through partners such as Great Oaks and Cincinnati State.
  • On-the-job training: SuperJobs is working with job seekers and employers to help pay up to half the wages for 65 job seekers working in new jobs locally.

In addition to all of these reasons, the SuperJobs Center also provides computer and internet access, job search workshops and veteran’s services to local residents. And best of all, nearly all of SuperJobs services are free.

In a recent survey, the SuperJobs Center received these responses from local employers:

“Working with Super Jobs has been a great experience. This was our first event and we will be doing more in the future.  We were able to put to work over half of the candidates that came to apply today.”  – Trustaff

“My life has been enriched through and by the (business services unit at SuperJobs)!  I am so grateful for  the support they have provided…  I wish I would have followed through with them, and Super Jobs, months ago.  I could have spared myself a lot of grief and frustration.  – HCR Manorcare

Find out more about SuperJobs at www.superjobs.com or follow SuperJobs on facebook at www.facebook.com/SuperJobs.OneStop

Student drifters: How we are clamping down on student mobility in the foster care system

For foster children, moving into a new home is a reality. For some of them, a new home also means a new school, compounding the disruption and impact on their young lives.

Studies correlating student mobility to academic achievement prove what most of us know. The more a student changes schools for reasons other than grade promotion, the more their grades tend to suffer.

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This Wednesday, in front of a packed conference room at the United Way, more than 100 community leaders gathered to discuss a comprehensive mobility study that looked at more than 5 million student records in Ohio spanning a two year period. I had the pleasure of serving on the discussion panel, along with Superintendent Mary Ronan, as we discussed how to help stabilize our nomadic students.

This is not a new problem. We have been working together on this for years.  In 2007, we teamed with Cincinnati Public Schools to create Kids in School Rules! (KISR!). Since the inception, we have helped more than 700 Cincinnati Public School children try to stay in school by removing the unique barriers they face through improved coordination. Along with Hamilton County Juvenile Court and the Legal Aid Society, we work together to address enrollment, attendance, school discipline and other educational issues that foster children may face.

Here’s how it works: dedicated staff in Children’s Services pair up with a KISR! Liaison in each school to celebrate the student’s success and collaboratively work through problems. Juvenile court magistrates utilize a customized Judicial Benchcard for Education to intensify the focus on educational issues when KISR! students come before the court.  Legal Aid attorneys train magistrates, Children’s Services caseworkers, GAL’s, CASA’s and foster parents about education law and school issues.  In addition, Legal Aid represents students in enrollment, school discipline, or special education issues.

The result: this open communication between entities allows our caseworkers to help the children stay in a stable school environment by monitoring their progress and addressing issues as they arise.

When I read testimonials like the one below, I know we are on the right track.

“You were a support to me. If you hadn’t made sure that we met at the school in April, my schedule would never have been changed. I would not have been able to graduate. I was so anxious and worried about school that I quit going. You made sure that the staff knew what had happened to me at the beginning of the semester, and they helped me with everything after that meeting.” -Erica, KISR! Alumna, 2011 graduate of Woodward High.