Helping the Unemployed Find Work: Center for Working Families

April 26th, 2010
Charles Marshall at his home in Detroit

After 16 months without a job, Charles Marshall felt his world coming apart. He was behind on his bills, and was at risk of losing his home. He also felt at risk of losing something more fundamental: his sense of self-worth and purpose.

“I’ve had a job since I was 11 years old,” says Charles, who is now 55. “It is devastating to be out of work for so long. Your confidence and hope fade away. You worry constantly: will I be able to eat, and will I end up on the street.”

Charles lives in the Rosedale Park neighborhood in Detroit. He had worked as a radiologist for a major hospital for 11 years before being laid off. He then sent out his resume to clinics and hospitals in and around the city. On his own, nothing panned out.

When his home lapsed into foreclosure, he came to the Housing Opportunity Center (HOC) at Southwest Solutions. At the HOC, Theresa Torres served as his foreclosure intervention counselor. Theresa also referred Charles to the Center for Working Families at the HOC.

The Center for Working Families (CWF) is based on a promising national concept and is designed to help families and individuals reach financial stability, access income supports, and develop educational and employment opportunities.

At CWF, Charles worked with Wendy Thornton, the workforce development coach. Wendy sharpened Charles’ resume and his interview skills. She also researched job opportunities and gave Charles a good lead at Henry Ford Hospital. Charles had applied there before, but now was better prepared. He landed the job.

‘Wendy’s assistance was superb and essential,” Charles says.

Charles is again making a good living. He has caught up on most of his bills and is in the process of working out a loan modification through the HOC to stay in his home, where he had raised a family and has lived for more than 25 years. With his new job, his chances of qualifying for a modification are significantly improved.

Since it began two years ago, the CWF has helped 24 individuals find work. In addition to a workforce development coach, CWF participants can receive guidance from a financial coach and benefits coach. More than 400 clients enrolled in CWF last year and received at least one counseling service. The CWF at Southwest Solutions is nationally regarded as one of the leaders in achieving successful outcomes.

The CWF is currently taking the lead in the Detroit GreenWorks Solutions initiative, which will provide job training and placement in the green industries sector for at least 360 employed or underemployed residents of southwest Detroit,

To learn more about CWF and GreenWorks, contact 313.841.9641 or email us.

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