SuperJobs Center Gets a New Name

Our SuperJobs Center officially gets a new name tomorrow.

The one-stop job center will be renamed OhioMeansJobs Cincinnati-Hamilton County. This is in line with an attempt by the state to re-brand all 88 one stops in Ohio with the OhioMeansJobs name, making it easier for employers and job seekers to identify their local center for job resources.

OhioMeansJobs is also the name of the State of Ohio’s job matching website. It allows job seekers to post their resumes and search tens of thousands of job openings. Employers can post job openings directly to OhioMeansJobs.com and can search for candidates by education, experience and other factors.

The local one-stop will also have a new website name: ohiomeansjobs.com/Hamilton.

The one-stop is the place to go for both employers looking for workers and the unemployed who are looking for jobs. We help with training, matching employers and potential employees, candidate screening, job fairs and more. In its first year under our direction, the one-stop found work for 665 local residents.

 

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SuperJobs Center Turning Out Super Numbers

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This bell rings at the SuperJobs Center with each new job!

I looked over some of our numbers from the SuperJobs Center today and I am very happy with the work being done there. Our employees are to be commended for their outstanding work.

You will recall that we took over operation of the SuperJobs Center in July 2012. After Workforce Investment Act funds were cut by 45 percent in 2012, the city of Cincinnati and Hamilton County sought a more efficient provider to run the SuperJobs Center. Hamilton County Job and Family Services was selected and given the mandate of spending $500,000 less on administrative costs, instead using that money for direct services to benefit local workers and businesses.

Several other goals were laid out at the time, with an eye toward improving the local workforce and fostering economic development. The agency has met or exceeded all of those goals:

Increase spending on direct services to consumers by $500,000 to a total $1,330,000. Spending on direct services has increased to $1,732,789.  The increases have been in two categories: $1,531,172 on additional training and subsidies and an additional $201,617 on transportation and work supports.

Reduce operating costs (staff and overhead) by $500,000. Operating costs have been reduced by $706,928. (Arbor had previously spent $2,470,160 on staff, shared, profit and indirect costs. HCJFS has reduced operating costs to $1,763,232.)

Enroll 750 individuals in WIA. 1,631 people were enrolled in the first year under HCJFS. (Arbor enrolled 664 individuals in the prior year.)

Provide training and wage subsidies to 200 individuals. 478 people received training and wage subsidies in the first year. (Arbor served 140 individuals in the prior year.)

Help 450 individuals find employment. 665 of those the agency provided with in depth services managed to find employment in the first year. (In the previous year, Arbor helped 422 find employment.)

Serve 200 employers more than once. 302 employers were served repeatedly in the first year. (In the previous year, Arbor served 219 employers.)

Meet or exceed state and federal performance measures. In the last report, SuperJobs met four state measures and exceeded two. Four of the six increased relative to the prior quarter. Five of the six increased compare to one year prior.

Fantastic work!

New Year’s Resolutions

In case you missed it, here is my latest column in Update, our community newsletter. It lays out some of our agency goals for 2014. If you are not an update Subscriber, here’s a link to the latest issue, where you can sign up to receive the monthly newsletter: http://www.hcjfs.hamilton-co.org/UpdateNew2014/January/Cover.htm

 

Like everyone else, I like to make New Year’s resolutions. There is no better time to take stock of your life and set new goals for yourself.

I do the same with our organization. While we are constantly looking at ways to improve how we serve the public, the annual turning of the calendar is a great time to publicize our plans for organizational improvement.

This year, the number one goal at JFS will be to improve the customer experience. We want to make the experience with us as quick and simple as possible. I realize that with the volume we serve – we serve more than half a million people in this community annually – “quick and simple” is a relative term. Still, I would like it to be less cumbersome.

Therefore, we will be working on doing all of the following:

  • Emphasizing answering/solving consumer contacts at the initial contact, thereby reducing the need for follow up contacts
  • Reducing hold times in our busy call center
  • Maintaining statewide metropolitan county leadership in food stamp timeliness and work participation rates
  • Matching or passing our next closest metropolitan county in Child Support incentive categories
  • Increasing our mobile/web presence, making it easier to conduct business with the agency
  • Increasing our social media presence to educate the public about JFS
  • Examining current-day best practices in customer service and implementing the best

Another major goal is to oversee the expansion of Medicaid and the implementation of the Ohio Integrated Eligibility System (the computer system used to process public assistance applications). The expansion of Medicaid is expected to add 42,000 more people to our caseloads, pushing us to over 200,000 recipients, which is one fourth of all county residents. These two projects together will take up much agency time and effort in 2014.

Finally, we are going to embark on an education campaign with the community that details the work we do and how we help this community. I worry sometimes that message gets lost. We are an agency that helps, whether it is protecting abused children and the elderly, ensuring children receive the financial support they deserve, providing a lifeline during times of trouble, assisting with the cost of child care so a parent can work or aiding in a job search. We do good work here and I want the public to know that.

That is our plan for 2014. Let’s make it a great year! 

 

Adoption Ceremony May Put a Lump in Your Throat

I am getting excited about our upcoming mass adoption ceremony on Nov. 22. We hold it every year to celebrate National Adoption Day and it always results in an emotional validation of the work we do here at JFS.

When you work in the field of abused and neglected children, there are a lot of tough days. The thousands of children we work with each year have really sad stories behind them.

Nov. 22 is going to be a positive day — a day of celebration. Fifteen children will forever join seven families. Believe me when I tell you that what happens in that ceremony will put a smile on your face and, possibly, a lump in your throat.

I wrote about the ceremony in our latest edition of Update. You can read what I wrote at  http://www.hcjfs.hamilton-co.org/UpdateNew2013/November/Cover.htm

We are livestreaming the event. I hope you will join in the fun!

Closed for MLK Day

Our offices will be closed Monday for Martin Luther King Day. We will open again on Tuesday. I hope you all have a wonderful holiday weekend.

2012: Year of Transition

Below is my latest column in Update, our community newsletter. You can check out the column and much more news about our agency at the link below. I encourage you to become a regular subscriber.

http://www.hcjfs.hamilton-co.org/UpdateNew2012/December/Cover.htm 

 

Our recent mass adoption ceremony – always an emotional, uplifting experience – gave me a chance to reflect on the past year here at JFS. While the ceremony always draws a lot of attention, we have many other positive events throughout the year that often get lost in the day-to-day work of serving Hamilton County residents. It is nice to sometimes take stock of these victories.

We have had a year of transition in many areas. We transitioned the county’s Family and Children First Council under our stewardship, saving the county about $150,000 in annual administrative costs. We also transitioned the SuperJobs Center from a private operator to JFS, allowing us to save $500,000 in administrative costs, which were funneled back into services to the community.

I am happy to report both have gone well, particularly the SuperJobs transition. We are serving more than double the people served the year before in our Workforce Investment Act programs and we expect to lead the state in on-the-job training accounts with private businesses. SuperJobs is a great economic engine for this community, helping the unemployed find work and training, while aiding local businesses in locating the skilled employees they need to complete their workforce.

We transitioned from worst to first in processing food assistance requests. Faced with a caseload that jumped nearly 70,000 cases in a four-year period, we had fallen to a state low in meeting the 30-day limit to process applications and reapplications. But our staff tackled the problem head on, working long hours to get caught up and implementing technology solutions, such as document imaging, for long-term improvement.

The result has been nothing short of unbelievable. Hamilton County became the first metropolitan county in history to process more than 90 percent of food assistance cases in a timely manner and then proceeded to do so for nine months running (and still counting). That is likely to be a record never broken.

While we are on the subject of success with public assistance cases, I would be remiss if I did not point out we again led all metropolitan counties in workforce participation rates for Ohio Works First clients. This is extremely important because the federal government has targeted the state for heavy financial sanctions if those rates do not improve. We have actually been asked by the state to help other counties understand our processes so they can increase their rates.

I am extremely proud when we lead the state in any category, but I am also happy to see us simply improve upon our own benchmarks. That is exactly what is happening in child support, where we are setting records for case establishment and paternity establishment. When you combine that work with the Division’s new programs – one to help provide safe visitation between parents and their children and another to help fathers work through issues that keep them from consistent child support payments – it is easy to see our folks are working harder than ever on behalf of Hamilton County’s children.

This year, we also transitioned from our traditional Pinwheels for Prevention child abuse awareness campaign to a more noticeable Wear Blue to Work campaign. The campaign drew a lot of support from around the county and was much easier for people to participate in. We look forward to another great campaign in April!

So, as you can see, there has been a lot of transition – all with successful endings – in 2012. While they are certainly the most notable events of our past year, they are just a small fraction of the work we have performed. In fact, they stand as symbols of a much broader success we have experienced on a daily basis.

I am extremely proud of the service we provide Hamilton County residents. Our staff is full of dedicated people who care about our consumers and are committed to doing great work. That sometimes gets lost in the grind of our day-to-day work. There is no better time than the end of the year to recognize their success and say thanks.