With many people out of work due to COVID-19, the Workforce Development Board of Santa Barbara County met via zoom on Thursday to showcase its new Workforce Programs.
The goal of the event was to provide information to the general public about eight local programs that aim to get folks working again.
The board partnered with Equus Workforce Solutions, Goodwill Industries of Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, Santa Barbara County United Way, Transitions-Mental Health Association, and the Santa Barbara County Probation Department to explain how these organizations are offering help to those looking for work.
Additionally, Allan Hancock College, Lompoc Adult Education and Santa Barbara City College all presented workforce training opportunities.
The webinar opened with the COVID-19 National Dislocated Worker Grant, made in partnership with the Workforce Development Board and the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County.
The grant aims to help job seekers who have been laid off because of the pandemic. This includes self-employed people who have lost their business, as well as those who have seen a reduction in work hours. The goal is to give them temporary employment.
“The United Way will manage the outreach and intake of participants. Using CalJOBS, it will do this in partnership with the Workforce Development Board and will also provide for the day-to-day supervision of the participants and importantly we will ensure that at least 23 of the participants move on to Phase 2,” said Eddie Taylor, the CEO of Northern Santa Barbara County United Way.
“Temporary job components will have access to immediate employment at $17 an hour for 17 hours per week for up to 20 weeks, along with some supportive services that may be available to them.”
The next phase would include helping these people partner with local resources for job training, case management services and other similar practices.
Osvaldo Sotelo, who works for Goodwill Industries of Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, spoke about its new program, which launches Monday, aimed at assisting veterans with employment. It will serve veterans countywide that are honorably discharged.
“Individuals who participate in our programs are able to receive 170 hours of good work experience at $17 an hour,” Mr. Sotelo said.
They would also receive supportive services, such as help obtaining certificates, going back to school or other essential job preparation, such as interview prep.
Kelsey Smith and Helen Foxworthy spoke on behalf of Transitions-Mental Health and its program, The Breaking Barriers to Employment which seeks to help those who are mentally ill attain jobs.
“And by completing this training, you will gain support to follow your new career for one year, and this program will prove the concept that people with serious mental illness can be productive members of our community and when offered professional customized supportive paid training with wraparound employment services,” Ms. Foxworthy said.
The goal is to provide training to 105 people to help them develop the resiliency, and also the skills, needed to successfully enter the job market.
“It’s very competitive and very different from what we have known in the past so this is going to help by doubling the number of successful community job placements,” Mr. Smith said.
Luis Servin, who works for the county board, presented a prison to employment program, which could launch in a couple of weeks.
“The services also include soft-skills training and vocational training. There’s going to be paid work experience that participants are going to be able to work for a business and the program will pay their salaries while they’re doing that,” Mr. Servin said.
The webinar also included information on youth services provided to those hoping to work or have been hurt by the pandemic.
A replay of the webinar will be available at some point this week at www.sbcwdb.org. The site will also include links to the various services offered.