Despite the rollout of vaccines and the beginnings of economic recovery, many Compass parents struggled to find stable work. The industries many had previously worked in, such as tourism and hospitality, were greatly affected by the pandemic and slow to return to pre-pandemic levels of operation, offering limited opportunities and fewer work hours.
To better support parents in finding sustainable work with livable wages, Compass launched a new workforce development initiative called Compass Workforce Development & Resources, or C-WORK, in January of 2021, within Compass Family Resource Center. Dedicated workforce case managers help participants address and remove barriers to employment, identify employment pathways, connect with training providers and assist our client parents to ultimately secure quality employment.
Compass’ comprehensive workforce programming includes one-on-one case management, career coaching and a series of virtual workshops focused on topics such as job applications, soft skills, resume building, interview preparation and financial empowerment. Bilingual workforce case managers also host weekly virtual drop-in hours during which participants can receive support in their job search and address any barriers they are facing. Additionally, C-WORK collaborates with local organizations and businesses to connect Compass families with job opportunities and resources through virtual jobs fairs, career panels, workshops and more.
A major challenge that many Compass families face in finding employment is citizenship status. Many families are undocumented and do not qualify for employment in the traditional workplace. Compass is exploring ways to support undocumented families in finding stable work via various creative strategies, such as helping parents acquire Right to Work documents or supporting alternative employment pathways, such as entrepreneurship.
C-WORK Equity Pilot for Black Families
In June 2021, Compass was awarded a $300,000 grant from San Francisco’s Office of Employment and Workforce Development to provide workforce development services and address disparities in employment and housing for low-income Black families in San Francisco. According to the 2019 Point-in-Time Count of homeless individuals in San Francisco, despite comprising only 6% of the overall population, Black or African Americans made up 37% of those identified as homeless. The C-WORK Equity Pilot for Black Families aims to remove barriers to employment and increase wages for San Francisco’s Black families by hiring staff with deep connections to Black communities to provide significant focused outreach and support to Black community members, ensure culturally-responsive workforce development services, and build relationships with Black-owned businesses.