$62K helping people transition back to work

New funding is helping people transition back to work.

The Cochrane District Social Services Administration Board (CDSSAB) is receiving $62,500 for a project to help people transition back to work.

“With respect to life skill development and coaching, how do we keep people motivated to get off of social assistance and to take jobs that are available,” said Christine Heavens, CDSSAB director of community development and services, at the April 18 CDSSAB meeting.

The CDSSAB applied to the Ministry, Community, Children and Social Services (MCCSS) for one-time funding in March.

The new cash is for a four-part project. It includes service provider asset mapping, partnership development meetings for employment service transformation, training facilitators, and sponsoring a new conference with the Far North East Training Board (FNETB) in October.

While there are existing lists of service providers, Heavens said they want to dig deeper.

“We don't want to just understand that this agency provides mental health services, we want to understand what programs are you actually doing, how are you funding the support of clients that you're serving? So that our team members have a better understanding of how dollars can be used most effectively in the service of those clients when we're looking at collaborative case management,” she said.

Once the mapping tool is complete, it will be available for anyone to access.

“And on our wish list, of course, would be that we can even get it available through our website for anyone who's not part of the system,” she said.

For partnership development, the CDSSAB will host regular meetings with Employment Ontario and Ontario Works.

Heavens said it will also allow them to meet face-to-face and have in-depth conversations around communication systems, client case management systems, and how the referral processes will work.

With the help of Collège Boréal and Northern College, Heavens said they plan to help train facilitators through a 10-week program surrounding life stabilization and career trajectory. Facilitators can then train teams to equip them better to support a client’s journey to employment.

A working group has already been created for the October conference, said Heavens.

“All of the other service providers from Employment Ontario and other DSSAB's that fall under the region for the FNETB are going to be a part of the planning committee for that conference. And that will help bring all of us together under one roof to be able to talk about the issues,” Heavens said.

The CDDSAB was previously approved through the MCCSS for one-time funding.

It received $56,000 for training and development and $44,900 for computer equipment and software that support digital enhancements.

Marissa Lentz, Local Journalism Initiative, TimminsToday.com