Job Center Meets Area Employer Needs, Targets Welfare Recipients for Jobs

Dayton and Montgomery County use a seven-acre Job Center to bring employers and job seekers together. With the goal of reducing the area’s welfare caseload, a partnership of 45 organizations representing the State of Ohio, local governments, nonprofit agencies and the business community provide the full range of employment and support services through this “One Stop” Job Center.

As part of its welfare reform implementation efforts, the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners established a task force composed of representatives of the public, private and non-profit sectors to develop a program model that would change the current welfare system, effectively utilize existing employment and training resources, and reduce the number of families dependent on public assistance by moving them into jobs. That task force, now called The Job Center Governing Board, developed a "no wrong door" concept of an integrated service delivery system, the One-Stop Job Center. This Center, which serves both Montgomery County, where Dayton is located, and adjacent Preble County, involves intra-county and community-wide approaches to provide area residents with universal access to services. Officials are pleased that the partnership formed around the Center includes 45 area organizations representing State government, local governments, nonprofit agencies, and the business community.

This system is housed in a sprawling seven-acre facility which is located in Dayton and leased to Montgomery County by the St. Vincent DePaul Society of Dayton. The City, which was a planning partner, provided a $200,000 contribution to St. Vincent DePaul for exterior improvements. Several local foundations, under the leadership of the Dayton Foundation, guaranteed St. Vincent DePaul’s multi-million-dollar bank loan, enabling them to purchase and completely renovate the vacant warehouse that opened in May 1997 as The Job Center.

The Center provides employers with access to a pool of qualified, job ready workers; it provides job seekers – their "customers" – with opportunities to find jobs, be matched with and placed in subsidized employment, or be placed in work experience positions that can lead to paid employment. In addition, users of the Center can apply for unemployment compensation, training services and/or public assistance programs including Medicaid, Food Stamps, emergency assistance and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).

The Center has established the goal of being the area’s primary source for employment opportunities and workforce development while reducing the area’s welfare caseload. It strives to provide quality customer service while at the same time continually reinforcing the message that able-bodied public assistance recipients are expected to be successful and become employed by utilizing the resources and supportive services available in the Center and elsewhere.

In the view of Montgomery County Commissioner Vicki Pegg, "Helping a person develop the skills to be successful in the work force is only a partial solution if we don’t also provide the tools to find a place in the job market. The Job Center is all about bringing those tools together in one place where we can help the whole person."

Center Services – The services offered by the Center target both the workforce needs of employers and the service and benefit needs of area families and individuals. They include:

  • Community-wide coordination of employer outreach, the sharing of job orders, an integrated team of job developers, and the joint marketing of hiring incentives for employers.
  • The job bank resource room, a multi-agency-staffed room with resources available to employers for recruiting and interviewing. For job and career seekers there is equipment for self-directed job search, resume writing, and access to local/state/national labor market information, job postings, individualized job match services, career testing/counseling, and electronic databases that facilitate job and career seeking/matching activities.
  • Integrated work teams made up of side-by-side inter-agency staff with shared and common caseloads, goals, and outcomes. These teams provide public assistance support, welfare-to-work activities, access to child support actions, eligibility determinations and authorizations for federal Job Training Partnership Act services and other supportive services under unified supervision.
  • A single general reception area and unified telephone system for all agencies in the Center.
  • A mutually-accepted case management protocol that is used by all agencies and programs in the Center. It includes the commitment to share the information with the prior approval of the customer.
  • An on-site child care playroom is available on a short-term basis for parents while they are using the Center.
  • Access to on-site education, training, and job preparation activities, including basic education, computer literacy training, job clubs, motivational training, and goal setting/budgeting training, as well as post-secondary education registration/admission processing.

Center Tenants – Among The Job Center’s core tenants and service providers:

  • Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services provides access to assessment and treatment.
  • Curtis & Associates provides strategies in job seeking, interviewing and job finding techniques.
  • Dayton Metropolitan Housing Authority processes applications for subsidized housing and other DMHA services.
  • Goodwill Industries provides linkage between customers and community resource employment services.
  • Jewish Vocational Services prepares participants for the GED and provides remediation to increase their grade level.
  • The Montgomery County Department of Human Services provides all public assistance, Title XX, JOBS and JTPA programs.
  • Sinclair Community College provides the JOBS student retention program and access to all Sinclair programs.

Targeting Welfare Recipients – While The Job Center is available to and used by people of all income levels, a special effort has been made to provide employment and training assistance to welfare recipients. Between July 1 and December 9, 1997, 1,384 Ohio Works First clients were referred to the job search activity, 621 were enrolled, and 420 completed their job search and were hired. At the end of 1997, placement was verified for 133 Ohio Works First clients. Local officials report that while one of the major goals was to reduce the welfare caseload by four percent per year, between June and December 1997, the caseload was reduced 12 percent, from 9,586 to 8,473. During this period of caseload reduction, the County’s job search and employment numbers were10 percent higher than in 1996.

The special focus on welfare clients does not mean that they are singled out for prospective employers, however. The Center merges the welfare clients with all others in the system; there is no distinction made among types of clients in any of the Center’s services.

 Performance in 1997 – Results for the general population served by the Center in 1997 are another reflection of success:

  • A total of 4,520 jobs were posted in the job bank.
  • Services were provided to 536 employers.
  • In an average month, 1,055 job seekers (including duplicates) requested assistance.
  • Services were provided to 2,761 job seekers.
  • 486 job seekers were placed in jobs, at an average wage of $7.56 per hour.
  • Employment was pending for 374 additional job seekers.

"The creation of The Job Center is an excellent example of how intergovernmental cooperation and public-private partnerships can result in tangible benefits for a community," said Dayton Mayor Michael Turner. "We successfully coordinated human and financial resources to meet an important need for residents of the City and the surrounding region."

 Contact: Dr. Gary Williamson, Director, The Job Center, (937) 225-4725