Posted February 27, 2007

Temple center serves as model for Welfare-to-Work system

In January, the Center for Social Policy and Community Development, in the School of Social Administration, added to its list of resources for local community members.

The center now works in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare, serving as a new Employment, Advancement and Retention Network — or EARN — center that aims to help Philadelphia residents transition from welfare to employment.

“The numerous resources we offer in job placement and training will help to create a path of self sufficiency for those who most need it,” said Viola Malone, director of Temple’s EARN Center.

Malone said that Temple’s center focuses on collaboration among community-based organizations to ensure the center reflects the community they serve and provides the services people need to succeed on the job.

The center functions by providing job readiness training and life skills training to participants, by helping to place them in jobs and then by working to keep them in the positions, Malone said. The job readiness training will last four weeks, and the participant will then either move into a job or move to a work experience in a non-profit organization followed by community service.

In the spring of 2006, the CSPCD applied for a contract to be an EARN Center and has been providing service to those in need. The grant for the center awarded $1.7 million to the program within its first eight months of activity. In that time, Malone said, she expects the center to help almost 700 people find employment.

The EARN Center is one of 13 in Philadelphia and one of five in North Philadelphia. It services residents in ZIP codes 19122, 19123, 19133 and 19125.

EARN centers are neighborhood-based facilities that provide case management, job placement and other services to welfare clients to help them transition from welfare to self-sufficiency. In order to receive services offered by EARN, residents must be referred to the center through the state’s Department of Public Welfare.