Career Services to Multicultural Populations Forum – March 2021 Cohort


Create an original post and describe the major groups of people with whom you work and the backgrounds from which they originate. Identify the key resources that you use with this group.  Then respond to one classmate’s post. You will make a total of two posts.

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.

18 thoughts on “Career Services to Multicultural Populations Forum – March 2021 Cohort”

  1. Tressa Dorsey says:

    Diversity and multi-cultural populations is a great chapter. It discusses the broad spectrum of those we serve including those with disabilities, re-entry populations, older workers and more.

  2. Holly Peoples says:

    We do have a variety of people from diverse backgrounds that utilize our services:
    The ALICE population is a large sector of our customer base. Working with those people we apply a model called Bridges out of Poverty. It is a framework that helps us recognize the different frameworks experienced in a community by people who have wealth, people who are middle class and people in poverty and helps us help people experiencing poverty to solve problems.
    We work very closely with our partners who serve Veterans and have many success stories where our business services team and talent team have done wrap around work with veterans in order to find them the employment they are looking for. We also work with a group called VCAT (Veterans Community Action Team) and with the Veterans Administration employment services division who uses employment as a therapy for vets with various mental health issues.
    Individuals with disabilities are an important constituency for us and again we develop wrap around relationships with various partners. Michigan Rehabilitation Services are the primary vocational rehabilitation providers and we also have the Superior Alliance for Independent living. We work with employers and these partners to place those with disabilities in appropriate work settings.
    Returning citizens have become more and more a part of our customer base due to various initiatives such as prisoner re-entry/offender success programming. We get referrals from that program when they have someone who is work ready. We also recently kicked off a new program called Clean Slate where we can assist in the process of expunging the court/legal records for people under some specific circumstances.

    1. Melina Lopez says:

      The Veterans population in my experience has been underserved and misunderstood. The same is for the people whom have legal issues that resulted in being in prison. I am glad to read that your organization provides and works with partners to serve them. I hope your new program Clean Slate has success in which people can reach out for the services and follow through. From your post, I gather that your organization works with populations that have limited resources and services in some states, counties, and or towns in the United States. Sometimes some areas have the services but the funding is limited or cut.

    2. Wilma Rivera-Rios says:

      I am so glad to hear that your organization started with the Clean Slate program. In PA, we started our Clean Slate program in 2019. I am part of the team pilot. At this moment, we have this service available only for Philadelphia area until 2022. After 2022, we are planning to expand our Clean Slate program to all PA.

    3. Roy Savoca says:

      Like my students veterans are a challenging group to work with. In additional to the natural difference between the individuals they have the experiences and training associated with their service life. You must account for the impact of these along with all the other things you would normally evaluate.

  3. Melina Lopez says:

    The population based on ages that I work with is young adults ranging from 16 to 24 years of age with a diversity of backgrounds such as: low income, gender, race, education, justice system, English Language Learners, disabilities, single parents, and religion.
    We work with WIOA funds to allow the young adults to obtain high education and or HSE/GED certification. Our resources relied working within the college, social services in the community, and with departments such as; Adult Basic Education Center (English as a Second Language ESL and High School Equivalency HSE/GED) and ICAPS Support Program for the young adults to obtain their education goals.
    When it comes to using resources within the community, we refer to social service agencies for mental health, shelter, health, and trade schools. We do not have one particular agency we work with due to referral is base on the client’s need and location.
    Within our program, there are two services we do have contracts with, they are a license clinical psychologist and paid work experience sites. Our participants are able to receive mental health services without costing them the service. Participants whom are interested in PaidWorkExperience are placed with employers whom have allowed us to provide work experience to our participants. The participants are able to experience the work field of interest to pursue either a certification or degree. The employers are in manufacturing and health care.
    Overall, we tried to provide and meet the needs of each participant as best as we can with local resources, contracts, and college.

  4. Wilma Rivera-Rios says:

    Jewish Employment Vocational Services (JEVS) corporate is located in Philadelphia, PA. Besides Philadelphia, we service New Jersey and Delaware state. JEVS focuses on individuals with physical, developmental, and emotional challenges as well as those facing adverse social economic conditions including unemployment and underemployment.
    We service a variety of families from diverse backgrounds. In terms of behavioral health and recovery, we offer programs that focuses in providing services for those who are battling an addiction or for those who need comprehensive behavioral health services including outpatient and mobile psychiatric support at home through counseling and treatment. Our programs, ACT I and ACT II, operates two outpatient, state-certified opioid treatment which the facilities are in Philadelphia area. Both programs offer personal solution for those adults seeking medication-assisted treatment for opioid abuse, outpatient methadone, individual, group, and family counseling, free and confidential HIV/AIDS testing and so on.
    We also offer community support and adult residential for individuals living with developmental/intellectual disabilities and mental illness. JEVS provide care at home on the job and in the community. Some of our community support programs are: Community Collaborative- which offers a full range of adult day services and a senior program; Community Homes- which allows individuals with intellectual disabilities to live independent. We also have additional programs such as Community Residential Services, JEVS Independence Network, In-home Support, LifeSharing, Support Independent Living and Tikvah Residence.
    JEVS offers education and Careers Services regardless of the individual’s background, skills, and interest. We have a variety of services for job seekers to help them get from where they are now to where they want to be. Some of our educational and career services are Career Solution for 55 + which provides one-on-one employment assistance for mature job seekers. We have a program for refugees and asylees from all over the world called Center for New Americans. We assist those new Americans to getting a job and to discover that America is truly the land of opportunity. We also have a program who assist our returning citizens called Looking Forward Philadelphia. This program offers an array of social services and employment designed to meet the immediate and long-terms needs of individuals returning from incarceration. We also have an expungement clinic which we provide legal services as well.
    JEVS also provides employment services that will fit the individual needs. JEVS offers several specialized skill and job search programs for people with disabilities who would want to work. Some of our employment programs are: Hirability, Project Success, Pre-employment Transition, and more.
    In terms of financial services, JEVS provides financial management services and support brokerage to allow individuals with disabilities living in the state of Delaware to self-direct their own attendant care at home and in the community.
    Lastly, we provide youth and young adult services. We believe that our young people need attention, support and structure in their lives. Our youth program is designed to make sure at-risk youth don’t miss out on the opportunities to become successful adults. We offer free GED/HS classes and test, free post-secondary education (…yes, their post-education degree is on us!!!), ESL classes, internships, apprenticeships and more. Overall, JEVS does it all and we keep developing services in accordance with our community needs. We truly make hope happen!!

    1. Aaron Leson says:

      The programming sounds very good.

  5. Holly Peoples says:

    Wilma, it sounds like incredible things are happening in Philidelphia, New Jersey and Delaware! What a great opportunity to serve diverse populations. I would love to hear more about Center for New Americans and your Clean Slate program. Typically, urban area programs don’t translate perfectly to our rural area but I always love to hear a good workforce development program story!

  6. Roy Savoca says:

    Working at an HBCU the main group of students I work with are black. Their backgrounds however vary, some come from affluent families while other come from poorer situations. There are many sub-groups within the main group. The most important thing is to look at each the person independent of the group you must still recognize the impact the group has on the situation. You need to place yourself in the person’s situation and make recommendations accordingly. When a student does something which I feel is crazy the first thing I do is think back to when I was a student and ask myself how would college aged me react to the same situation.

    1. Mari Schupp says:

      Hi Ray! I worked with a lot of college-aged minority students when I worked in supportive services at our local college. Being in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan there were very few black students, and when they struggled with their academics they would come to me. I spoke one thing really well was mom talk and they understood that. I still talk to some of my students regularly, I taught some of them to play cribbage because I reminded them they were now Yoopers and it was my way to get them in my office and talk for a half an hour while we played. When I left the college some of them hunted me down and it made me feel good to know that I made a difference.

      These students came from Chicago, Detroit/Flint area, but I told them they all came up here for a reason and that was to experience a different lifestyle and I was there to help them be a successful student, but they had to engage in the Yooper lifestyle. I made them pannukakku, encouraged them to do intramurals like broomball and participate in hikes or different activities around the campus. I was there to provide a successful entry into a new world so I forced them to look at their situation differently. It was the right amount of support and caring that made it work.

  7. Mari Schupp says:

    Our local population is about 25% Native American and we are fortunate to have many services through the Sault Tribe of Chippewa Indians and Bay Mills Indian Community to support this minority population. These services include their own workforce services department and health care center which provides many supportive services to their community for free with many services available to the general population. Our local Michigan Works! office has its own dedicated Veteran Service Representative to assist with veterans in job seeking services which we work very closely with. We also have a Michigan Rehabilitation Services Representative on our office to help with supportive services to get people with health barriers back into the workforce. We have recently started a Clean Slate program for people who have a previous conviction on their record that may qualify to be expunged based on certain criteria. A new program we have started recently called JMG, or Jobs for Michigan Graduates, targets alternative education graduates to support their employability skills. For a small community with a large geographic population, we are very fortunate to have as many supportive services to offer.

    1. Shawna Brooks says:

      I think it is important to have a wide variety of services that are available for the minority population that you serve. I admire that your program can be a reform for some individuals to have a second chance at the right path by having the option to expunge a past offense. I believe programs like this really make a difference in the community and provide confidence as individuals anticipate new beginnings. I am also familiar with a similar program like JMG in Georgia, which was called Jobs for Georgia graduates and it really help set the bar for students who weren’t necessarily college bound but still needed essential employment skills.

  8. Shawna Brooks says:

    I really enjoyed Chapter 6 because as an educational professional I have had the opportunity to work with a very diverse multicultural group. Before I began working as a program coordinator for a HBCU I was educator and consultant in the middle east for 2 years. Working in a multicultural environment has allowed me to think and empathize on a wider spectrum. I currently work with a demographic that largely includes African-American students between the age range of 18-22. When I am assisting them with career services or advisement to get to the next level in their action plan I am able to be realistic and relatable. My HBCU also has several grants that allow us to work in the surrounding community which includes a demographic of Caucasian and Hispanic children and teachers. Our program provides numerous resources and workshops for the middle and high schools in the area. When providing our services I am always neutral and never assume what a client wants. I believe the most important part of working in multicultural communities is to be open to perspectives that may differ from your own and still provide the service needed.

    1. Debb Brunell says:

      Hi Shawna!
      I’m sure your experience in the middle east was enlightening and helpful in your career services role! I’m sure you had to learn quickly and adapt to a variety of cultural differences while there. Being exposed to different cultures and especially immersing yourself in them is a great way to understand and appreciate what diversity truly means! I wish more people were able to have those types of experiences to enrich understanding, acceptance, and respect for others!

  9. Debb Brunell says:

    Living in the very rural upper peninsula of Michigan, I think we are somehow shielded in many ways from experiencing a broad range of cultures and diversity. We are predominantly white, with extremely low racial diversity. The three universities in our region help, drawing and at least exposing the population in some way to those who are different. Coming from experiences in larger cities I find the lack of diversity as a crutch, or handicap as we can’t fully realize our potential without it. While I have been here only 3 years, I have yet to witness many interactions or supports of the few minorities or culturally diverse residents who do live here (although I do not give direct career services.) This makes me wonder if we are a place that welcomes those who are different. Don’t misunderstand, I believe we are excellent at delivering comprehensive services to those that seek them! But it should be that we are doing better in reaching out to the multicultural groups we have and meeting them where they are, inviting them in so they can know how we can help them.

    We serve Native Americans – although they tend to utilize the services embedded in their communities first – and we strongly support veterans. We have other religious and ethnic groups that are prevalent in our region also. Finnish people found a home here long ago and are characterized by an independent, strong will, solid work ethic, and deep sense of community. We also have a strong Apostolic Lutheran community that is defined by their strong work ethic and very large family groups. Both of these communities require an understanding and sensitivity to their culture for effective service delivery. Their pride and stamina, which the Finnish call “SISU” has become the Yooper mantra.

    Given the rural vastness of our region, the SISU culture contributes to a close-knit community approach to providing services from all of our partners and community agencies. Veteran Services, Mich Rehabilitation Services, Great Lakes Recovery Centers, Dept. of Health and Human Services, Economic Development Organizations, Community Action Agencies, and others are pulling closer and closer together as we continue to look for ways to serve our citizens and communities.

    During the perceived workforce shortage, we must look to attract more diverse populations to the U.P. to enrich our lives, businesses, and communities and we have already implemented some initiatives to do so.

  10. Aaron Leson says:

    Good work class. I love the dialogue and the excellent programs that you are working in. Thank you so much for your dedication and hard work as well as the hard work you are putting into this class.

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