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Faith-based & Neighborhood Partnerships News

Spring 2012

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Montage of people and partnerships.

Job Clubs and Career Ministries in Your Community

The Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships (CFBNP) recently marked the one-year anniversary of its Job Clubs Initiative. It was on May 24, 2011 when the CFBNP launched the initiative with a national webcast featuring Labor Secretary Hilda Solis and job club leaders from across the country and circulated a Training and Employment Notice to the workforce investment system from Assistant Secretary Jane Oates. Over the past year, the CFBNP has connected with more than 1,500 new and existing job clubs, facilitated partnerships between job clubs and a range of groups, and heightened awareness of the valuable role job clubs are playing in getting Americans back to work.

The CFBNP has also had an opportunity to host a series of regional events that highlight the work of job clubs and explore partnerships with the workforce system and other public and private programs. Ben Seigel, Deputy Director of the CFBNP has recently led events in Kansas City, Minneapolis, Phoenix, Grand Rapids, Los Angeles, and Nashville. Several more events are being planned for this summer. Stay connected with the Job Clubs Initiative through the Partnerships Community of Practice. 

Job Club — Workforce Partnership Spotlights

The Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships encourages and facilitates partnerships between job clubs and the workforce investment system. Job Clubs and One-Stop Career Centers provide complementary services and resources to a wide range of job seekers. The Partnership Spotlights below offer two, distinct examples of such collaborations.

Faith in the Future Job Club Initiative — Brevard County, FL

Brevard Workforce's Faith in the Future Job Club Initiative partners with congregations to launch and expand job clubs. Lisa Rice, President of Brevard Workforce, the local Department of Labor funded Workforce Investment Agency, discussed the project.

Lisa Rice

Lisa Rice

Why did you create Faith in the Future?

"Brevard Workforce understood the significance of connecting people with jobs and job readiness skills in a holistic setting that addresses the emotional and spiritual components attached to job loss. Faith in the Future Job Clubs provide job seekers with an opportunity to network with others seeking employment at their place of worship. Participants share their wisdom about job search challenges and successes, and support techniques that energize the job search. Brevard Workforce provides technical assistance to the Job Clubs and easy access to our Career Centers, as needed."

How does the partnership with Job Clubs contribute to Brevard Workforce's mission?

"Our mission is to be the catalyst for workforce services in Brevard County.  The Job Clubs support our mission by performing outreach, making connections, developing relationships, and educating the community about the resources that Brevard Workforce offers. Although the Job Clubs are facilitated by faith-based organizations, Brevard Workforce augments their presentations with a multitude of resources."

Brevard Workforce: Faith in the future

What has been the response to the initiative from the community?

"With 18 partners, and growing, the response has been tremendous. Each Faith in the Future Job Club is crafted to what the organization feels their congregation needs. Therefore, some of them are working with specific populations like former aerospace workers and others are planning field trips to the Career Centers to help ease people into using our system. Plans are growing with this initiative to include youth outreach and technical support to congregations using web-based tools."

Shepherd of the Hills, Imagine Job & Resource Fair — Los Angeles, CA

The People Between Jobs Ministry at Shepherd of the Hills Church in Los Angeles, CA combines networking, job search resources, and spiritual counseling to help congregation and community members get back to work. On June 4 and 5, Shepherd of the Hills is hosting their first-ever job fair that includes a partnership with the Chatsworth WorkSource Center, the local Department of Labor funded One-Stop Career Center. Paula Cracium from the church and Jaime Pacheco-Orozco, Director of the Workforce Development Division within the Community Development Department of the City of Los Angeles, discussed the partnership.

Paula Cracium

Paula Cracium

What are your goals for the job fair?

"Our goal is to reach beyond simply connecting employers with employees, which is incredible enough. We also want to help job seekers become better prepared for the ever-changing job market and leave with a renewed sense of hope. So, our job fair will also include assistance with résumés, interviewing, and online job search; expert-led symposiums; and even free services from make-up artists, hair stylists, and wardrobe advisors to help job seekers develop a professional look." — Paula Cracium

How are you partnering with the local WorkSource Center?

"We couldn't have done this job fair without the support and partnership of the Chatsworth WorkSource Center. They have helped connect us to a range of agencies and their expert staff will lead symposiums, such as the résumé writing and interview preparation sessions." — Paula Cracium

Why does the City of Los Angeles Workforce Development System partner with Job Clubs?

Jaime Pacheco-Orozco

Jaime Pacheco-Orozco

"We know that many job seekers turn to faith-based organizations not only for spiritual guidance and counseling, but also for economic assistance and help with getting their next job. The activities that occur within Job Clubs prepare job seekers to access the services available at our WorkSource Centers that can lead to employment. By working together to successfully place individuals with employers, both the City and Job Clubs are recognized by the employer community as trusted partners." — Jaime Pacheco-Orozco

What are the benefits to the Workforce Development System in partnering with Shepherd of the Hills job fair?

"The Shepherd of the Hills Job Fair is an ideal opportunity to extend the reach of our WorkSource Centers to better serve the job seeker and employer community. Through these contacts, the City is more likely to learn about 'hidden' jobs, more likely to help secure employment for job seekers, and more likely to meet the needs of employers." — Jaime Pacheco-Orozco

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission  issues new guidance on criminal records

A resource for community organizations and leaders who serve formerly incarcerated individuals

On April 25, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued enforcement guidance on the consideration of arrest and conviction records in employment decisions under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This is the first time the EEOC has released updated guidance on this topic in more than 20 years. It is designed to be a resource for employers, employment agencies, and unions covered by Title VII; for applicants and employees; and for EEOC enforcement staff.

The Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships asked Donna Lenhoff, the Senior Civil Rights Counsel with DOL's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), an agency that works closely with the EEOC, to clarify the new guidance. 

How is Title VII of the Civil Rights Act relevant to the use of criminal records in employment decisions?

There are two ways in which an employer's use of criminal history information may violate Title VII. First, Title VII prohibits employers from treating job applicants with the same criminal records differently because of their race, color, religion, sex, or national origin (this is called "disparate treatment discrimination").

Second, even where employers apply criminal record exclusions uniformly, the exclusions may still operate to disproportionately and unjustifiably exclude people of a particular race or national origin (this is called "disparate impact discrimination"). If employers do not show that such an exclusion is "job related and consistent with business necessity" for the position in question, they may not automatically bar everyone with an arrest or conviction record from employment.

Why did the EEOC issue the new guidance?

Since the EEOC last issued guidance on this issue, the Civil Rights Act of 1991 codified the Title VII disparate impact analysis. In addition, technology advancements over the last 20 years have made criminal history information much more accessible to employers. Finally, the EEOC examined social science and criminological research, court decisions, and information about various state and federal laws, among other information, to further assess the impact of using criminal records in employment decisions.

Why is the new guidance important to the DOL Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs?

OFCCP enforces equal employment opportunities for job applicants and employees that companies doing business with the federal government must abide by when they get a federal contract.  Under Executive Order 11246, contractors agree not to discriminate in their employment practices on the bases of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin and OFCCP follows the principles of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (which also prohibits discrimination in employment on these bases) in interpreting their nondiscrimination obligations.  Because EEOC is the lead agency for interpreting Title VII, OFCCP expects federal contractors to follow the EEOC's new guidance. Federal contractors employ one in four workers in the U.S.

Reaching Out to Asian American Pacific Islander Communities

White House and Department of Labor Efforts

The Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community experienced a 43 percent population growth between 2000 and 2010, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. As a result of such significant growth of the AAPI community, which now numbers 15.2 million people in the U.S., the federal government is taking a close look to ensure that programs and services are adequately reaching AAPI communities. In April, the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders held the first ever National Philanthropic Briefing on the AAPI community. The briefing featured several Department of Labor initiatives, including the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's Susan Harwood worker safety training grant program, which has recently awarded competitive grants to AAPI serving nonprofit organizations. More than 200 people attended the event, engaging in substantive planning and strategy sessions. The Ford, W.K. Kellogg, and Kresge Foundations pledged $1 million to support further planning and development of ideas that emerged from the briefing.

In another recent AAPI event, Phil Tom, Director of the Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, participated in the National Council of Asian Pacific American Policy Summit, where he discussed DOL's efforts in helping AAPI communities know their rights as part of a housing and economic justice roundtable. Finally, DOL's Chief Economist recently released a report on the AAPI labor market during the economic recovery that analyzes overall trends of the 7.5 million AAPI workers in the American workforce.

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