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Susan’s Path to Self-Sufficiency

Susan was sleeping in her car with her child for over five months before she was connected to a shelter.

After entering the shelter she was referred to the Rapid Rehousing Program to solidify permanent housing and receive some assistance. From there, she was offered the opportunity to enroll in the Secure Jobs CT program.

Susan was always looking to better her life for herself and her daughter.  Through a local American Job Center she was able to find steady employment but she had always had a vision of owning her own cleaning business. While she was employed Susan began working with the Secure Jobs navigator to start her business on a “shoestring” budget. Secure Jobs paid for her business cards and assisted her in the creation of her website Similar to any other start up business she had obstacles to overcome but persevered in order to achieve her goal.  Her perseverance paid off.

Today she is a successful business owner, is able to manage all her household expenses through this stream of income and has even upgraded her car. Susan has become the role model she has always wanted to be for her daughter and has discovered her inner strengths and potential with the support of Secure Jobs.

What is Secure Jobs CT?

Today, families come in all shapes and sizes and face a variety of obstacles and barriers that impede on their stability. One of those obstacles is the cost of housing which, compounded with other life issues, can lead to homelessness.  In America, on a daily basis, thousands of people experience homelessness. According to the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness, approximately 1,332 people in families experienced homelessness in Connecticut in the last year. A large portion of homeless families are women and their children; single mothers who face major barriers to employment and stability such as childcare, health issues, lack of access to resources and lack of natural supports like friends and family.

In 2015 Secure Jobs CT was launched as an innovative pilot designed to assist families exiting homelessness to secure employment in order to promote family stabilization, self-sufficiency and sustainability. The pilot was spearheaded by Melville Charitable Trust and modeled after a similar program in Massachusetts. The Melville Charitable Trust, approximately 25 other foundations and the Department of Housing has invested over $1 million dollars to fund implementation throughout five regions in CT and ancillary costs to support the pilot. The Connecticut Women’s Education and Legal Fund (CWEALF) came on board to provide technical assistance coordination and program management for the pilot.

Secure Jobs CT has worked to build a bridge between rapid rehousing and workforce development agencies throughout the state to streamline services for families experiencing homelessness. Secure Jobs recognizes that even in a small state like ours, the service landscape can differ from region to region. We have partnered with five agencies who serve as pilot leads in their region. Each agency uses their district knowledge of their region to collaborate with other State and nonprofit organizations. These agencies include Career Resources (South West), New Reach (South Central), Thames Valley Council for Community Action (South East), Capitol Workforce Partners (North Central), and New Opportunities (North West). 

Now in year two of implementation, Secure Jobs continues to inform agencies and systems by building a collaborative between them in order to discover and create best practices for serving families like Susan’s.

By Joel Rivera, New Opportunities Secure Jobs Navigator & Melinda L. Johnson, Secure Jobs CT Program Manager at 22 Mar 2017, 09:24 AM



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