Career Development Forum – March 2021 Cohort

Instructions:  A customer makes an appointment with you to find work. The individual needs assistance with housing and meals.

Answer these questions:

1. To whom in your local area do you refer them for this assistance?

2. What techniques have you found especially helpful to use in an intake interview to discover barriers that a customer might be facing? Describe 1-2 techniques you use that work well for you.

Make one original post and then respond to 1 team member’s post. You will make a total of two posts. For your original post, responds in a paragraph or two for the 2 questions. For your 2nd post, respond in several sentences.

Remember that our learning group works in a full value environment: We treat our colleagues with respect and professionalism. Our comments should reflect this culture.

17 thoughts on “Career Development Forum – March 2021 Cohort”

  1. Jaleen Walker says:

    To whom in your local area do you refer them for this assistance?
    I do not make referrals in my job capacity, but it was a priority for me as a former social worker. Before you help a client achieve goals such as work or training—basic needs must be met. Some if I had to, I would survey the community resources for food and shelter, starting with the government agencies that address homelessness and foodservice needs. I would also utilize the community resources such as food banks, clothing drives, homeless shelters, and local agencies that assist community members in need, such as our library’s summer meal programs during summer months.

    Being a professional who helps others requires me to assume nothing and make sure that a thorough assessment of my customer’s needs is conducted. It would be a disservice for me to focus on workplace needs alone, particularly in the community I work in with lots of challenging conditions. If those needs were scarce, I would consider my team looking to create a food and clothing drive—seeking donations from local community members and businesses.

    2. What techniques have you found especially helpful to use in an intake interview to discover barriers that a customer might be facing? Describe 1-2 techniques you use that work well for you.

    There are two skills I when conducting intake interviews to determine barriers. The initial technique would be using helping skills (understanding and empathy), and closed-ended questions are two techniques that I would use during intake interviews. By using helping skills, the customer and I can build a rapport and trusting relationship. When a customer believes that you are genuinely trying to assist them, they open up and share a lot of personal information.

    Professionalism is crucial and ensuring that the client-customer relationship is ethical and appropriate. To ensure a balance between relationship-building and needs assessments- I would also use the close-ended question technique. When asking direct close-ended questions, I may get the immediate answers that I need, thus determining the best way to service them effectively. Additionally, some clients need straightforward questions that allow them to be direct about their needs, desires ad goals.

    1. Holly Peoples says:

      Hi Roy,
      Open ended questions are one of those great techniques, putting someone at ease is important for that relationship. We also have a variety of fath based entities that can assist with a place to sleep or a voucher for a room, they are incredibly valueable for people who are in a difficult situation.

    2. Wilma Rivera-Rios says:

      Hi Roy and Holly,
      I agree with you both with the close-ending question technique. I would like to add that often times, the client in need hurries to get to the point and rushes in to a solution that might create additional barriers. The intake interview process with an closed-ending questions will be helpful for the client to slowdown and also it will assist the client and myself in obtaining a clear focus on past and present issues in order to target and remove those barriers.

  2. Roy Savoca says:

    The Daytona area is very faith based. I would refer them to one of the local church based organizations for help with housing and meals. I would probe a little to determine if their background aligns with any of the local groups. I have found one of the most effective methods is casual conversation. The first step is to put the person at ease by engaging in small talk. After the person is relaxed and comfortable I would give them the opportunity to discuss their situation. The next step would be to ask questions which will start the person talking about the barriers they face.

    1. Mari Schupp says:

      We have a few churches that we can refer to also, but sometimes I forget that they are in existence. It seems like we utilize the same paths and don’t think outside the box to engage some of those smaller, less known opportunities.

  3. Holly Peoples says:

    We have scattered service providers throughout our region with some communities where there are no services for the hungry or those experiencing homelessness. Some examples of providers where they exist include: The LINK, Feeding America Trucks and food banks, Room at the Inn, HUD, Salvation Army, DHHS, various faith based entities, County based veterans services, Tribal resources.
    It has been many years since I did an intake interview but what I would say here is that building a relationship that has healthy boundaries would be the primary technique to use. We have a couple of people on our staff who have had training and certification in Motivational Interviewing. This technique is also what our Michigan Rehabilitation Services partners use and has had a lot of success. Empathy is another key to obtaining information about how to develop a trusting working relationship.
    While I do not work directly with job seeking customers or non-work ready customers, I do have a team of people that I support each day to help them navigate the systems and have the tools and resources they need to do their jobs effectively. I think these relationships are similar to helping job seekers achieve goals. I think it is important to get to know people and understand what it is they value about work. It is important to give and receive feedback regularly and take action on that feedback, so people know they are truly being heard. It is also important to hold people accountable for what they are responsible for doing, these concepts are true when assisting job seekers as well.

    1. Roy Savoca says:

      Hi Holly. We have a salvation Army facility here in our area, I did not even think of them until you mentioned them. They are often not thought about, unless it is at Christmas time. Building a relationship is very important. People in the situation described need to know someone is on their side. You mentioned holding people accountable, I believe this is very important. It goes towards having a person feel they are being listened to.

    2. Shawna Brooks says:

      I love that you have a team of resources that can readily assist an individual with these needs. These community relations are essential to helping job seekers and honestly being successful as a workforce worker and provider. Having these strong relationships do help build confidence in job seekers and ultimately that makes them more employable. I don’t work directly with any of the services I mentioned either, however, I think the value is in being able to have access and provide access to the resource for others. I also love that you mentioned accountability, because that is a large part of longevity in results for job seekers. Being accountable for your personal decisions and effort can take them along way.

  4. Mari Schupp says:

    Local tribal entities and our local university has a food bank that is exclusively for their members/students. It is exclusive funds, though, and not open to the full community. The Community Action Agency and Salvation Army provides assistance in the community that isn’t tied to any specific population. Going through the intake process, it is a few of the questions that are asked to ensure all the assistance can be tapped into. We ask questions to get a full 360 degree view of the person and it is done through developing a relationship that doesn’t seem overburdening to them. It may take multiple meetings to get the full view, but the investment can be beneficial in providing the best assistance to the participant.

  5. Aaron Leson says:

    Great work you guys. Insightful and thorough. Thank you.

  6. Shawna Brooks says:

    If I had an individual who was seeking working but also needed housing and meals, I would start but getting all of their information. I would provide help with setting up all the necessary online profiles with family services and help them start an application for food stamps. Next, I would provide a list of places that the individual can go to receive open pantry food goods. Lastly, I would provide a list of churches and programs that help with housing and shelter needs. I find it extremely important to help with the personal issues first because these issues will stem as potential barriers and make it hard for that individual to maintain work even when they do find employment.
    Two techniques that I have found helpful during the intake process are completing a personal interview and a basic skills assessment. This allows you to explore the background of an individual so that you can help expand on their future. I believe there is not enough value placed on that first initial interview, but it truly is the most important step in my opinion. The more you know about a person the more you are able to tailor services and help them specifically to address their needs. The basic skills assessment is also essential to providing appropriate services and making the best placement suggestions.

    1. Melina Lopez says:

      We refer our participants base on their needs, access, and location in which they live. The referrals are mental health, food pantry, legal advocacy, child care, substance abuse, shelter, medical, and social services. It is rare when a participant has to be referred to a place that is over 20 miles distance. Most of them are within the local nearby towns. However, if a participant is moving out of town or state and needs assistance, we then search for social services that will be close to them. Our participants tend to be referred to us from nearby local school districts, libraries, and local college.

      The first initial technique that I have found to be helpful is meeting the participant where they are at making a transition to using Client Centered Therapy. With Client Centered, we provide Empathy, congruence, privacy, and independence. Throughout the intake we mostly used open-ended questions, reflect, and summarize.

      An initial technique that is helpful for me is to treat each participant as new individual that is coming in with no similarities from the rest of the participants. Inform and educate on expectations and services of the program along with clarifying. Listen to the participant and make suggestions but not pressure into making decisions.
      Throughout the enrollment, as the time passes by, continue to maintain contact with the participant and ask open-ended questions, educate and inform, and always summarize. In my experience, most participants require information to be educate and give scenarios (examples) for them to understand and grasp. I do not assume and tell them to not assume as well. In my conversations with them, I tell them to continue to ask questions even if it is the same one and only a day has passed.

      1. Debb Brunell says:

        Melina it sounds like you have a very practical and consistent way to deal with each of your customers! I like the concept of Client Centered Therapy and how you are asking open-ended questions and listening to the answers. I’m sure you are very effective with your clients, they are lucky to have you!

    2. Melina Lopez says:

      I agreed with your post. My interpretation of your post is that as a staff, we look beyond (outside of the box), putting the puzzle together, providing the services as best needed and obtainable, no assumptions and open door policy.

  7. Wilma Rivera-Rios says:

    When a client expresses the need for resources such as housing and meal, I provide them with a Resource Guide that we have created that contains all the resources information provided in Philadelphia area and surrounding. The resource guide consist of information about services, location, hours of operation, and documentation required to be able to receive the assistance. Our Certified Medical Assistance (CMA) updates our resource guide and provides us with it once a week via email. I also refer the client to the clinical department which the client will be assigned to a Case Coordinator who provide clinical services and assist them with resources if needed.
    The technique I use in an intake interview to discover barriers that the client might be facing are the following: firstly, I review the enrollment package and the intake form prior meeting with the client face-to-face. by reviewing the intake form, it will help me to prepare and formulate questions prior to meeting with the client. it is very helpful to have the knowledge in advanced about the client’s education, family and status relationship, employment background, client’s biggest success and challenges. Once I review the intake interview, I place a phone call to setup an appointment to meet the client face-to-face.
    Secondly, In my initial meeting, I introduce myself and start a non- related topic conversation, for example: “The weather is gorgeous today! and it looks like its like its going to continue for the rest of the week, do you have any plans for this weekend?”…or another example, if the client has a book that they are reading, I will ask what is the book about? I can learn a lot about the client by what they read.
    Thirdly, Once a establish the trust, and I the client seems to feels comfortable with me, then I proceed to conduct the initial session by asking questions that are not in the intake form to be able to learn more about the client and to discover barriers that the client might be facing and the client decided not addressed in the intake form for any giving reason. During the initial session, I try to ascertain their goals and any barriers they foresee. I observe the non- verbal behavioral that the client might exhibit and will document it after the initial session is over and the client is out of my office. If the client expresses that they don’t have a career plan, I will introduce and assist the client with a self-assessment for self exploration and career discovery. Then the client and I will discuss the assessment results, and make a plan to achieve those goal. The written information and the verbal exchange will lay the foundation of engagement between the client and myself.

  8. Debb Brunell says:

    We have strong partnerships in our region and so I would reach out to a few of them to find the best fit for the need. Community Action Agencies, Salvation Army, Local Food Banks, and the Department of Health and Human Services would be a few of the places I would call. We also have a homeless shelter that can provide temporary housing if that is needed. This customer is putting trust in me by sharing this personal information and seeking help and I would focus on the housing and food needs first. But I would be sure to discuss their mental health and start the discussions about how we can look forward together and make a plan that works.

    Listening and following through with what you say you will do can make or break the relationship. Having a client’s best interests in mind and being committed shows you are trustworthy. This will be a case that takes time to work through each of the barriers to focus on the immediate needs at the time.

  9. timothy.bostic says:

    While I have not experienced a situation where I needed to refer someone for assistance, as a former supervisor in the federal government and having worked most of my adult life with the military, I am familiar with the programs geared toward a variety of assistance needs. One would be the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) which provide confidential support and services for a broad range of situations that a federal employee may need assistance. I would also, for military Veterans, leverage the Veteran’s Administrations Vet Centers, that are community-based counseling centers that provide a wide range of social and psychological services, including professional readjustment counseling to eligible veterans and their families.
    I believe utilizing fundamental helping skills of understanding and empathy are critical to me developing the relationship of trust necessary to assist my level of clients during initial contact.
    I endeavor that they come to consider me an experienced and trusted non-biased resource that they may leverage in their career and professional development. By leveraging helping skills, I am able to build the rapport and trusting relationship that is so critical for successfully being an enabler for my clients. Often, I use closed-ended questioning that are direct in order to receive immediate answers that can help me gauge the best way to provide service and support to them; and which resources would be most beneficial. This technique also enables my clients to bring straightforward questions and to be direct about their needs, desires and goals; as well as what knowledge, skills and practical experience they bring to the table to build upon.

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