Transitional Jobs Program Gets Greenlight to Continue
At the Monday, 6/18 meeting of the Visalia City Council, the Council received information on the Environmental Cleanup Opportunities Project and gave it the green light to continue another year.
"By all accounts, the program has been very successful," Adam Ennis, City of Visalia Public Works Director shared with the City Council. "Through April 2018, 66 homeless individuals had attended the program orientation, 47 completed the job readiness portion of the program, and at least 29 of those were ultimately successful in securing employment outside of the program."
A transitional jobs program for those that are homeless or in transitional housing, the ECO Project is a coordinated effort between the City, the Workforce Investment Board of Tulare County, ABLE Industries and community agencies that provide services to the homeless.
Upon entry to the program, participants spend up to three months working as part of a work crew and are guided by a crew supervisor. The supervisor filled the role of not only “boss” but also of a social worker, mentoring individuals in their transition to regular employment.
Work assignments focus on picking up trash or illegally dumped material in the City right-of-way and other public areas. During this time, participants learn basic job skills such as arriving to work on time, working with others, accepting and executing instructions.
Upon successful completion of the initial work-skills training portion of the program, participants begin working alongside City employees in the solid waste division. Here, they learn to work with less supervision and more accountability while they assemble residential trash cans, help with deliveries, and perform various duties.
"In addition to the positive impacts the program has had on participants’ lives is the tangible benefit the City has received as a whole," added Jim Ross, City of Visalia Public Works Manager. "To date, more than 200 tons of illegally discarded material has been removed from the City’s right-of-ways and public spaces by program participants."