Team Work Makes The Dream Work – El Barrio Helps Residents Overcome Barriers to Secure Employment

I’ve healed, I’m looking for housing, now I need to get back to work.

This is the challenge that many residents of Joseph’s Home face. Perhaps they have a negative work history or have no skills training. Maybe they just don’t have the suit they need to wear to an interview. That’s why Joseph’s Home has teamed up with El Barrio Centers for Workforce Development (El Barrio) to help residents conquer those barriers and more.

El Barrio has forged a path for residents who are willing and able to work to access the training and networking they need to secure employment. El Barrio provides an onsite workforce development program that allows residents to train and receive certifications in four or more weeks in one of several tracks: customer service, hospitality, construction, transportation, pharmacy and teacher assistance. El Barrio then provides case management to prepare candidates to enter the workforce ready and motivated. Once a client has graduated from the program, El Barrio matches candidates to companies looking for diversity in their organization.

Joseph’s Home’s own healthcare navigator, John Mytrysak, is a perfect example of how El Barrio training has made a big difference for residents. John fell ill in 2014. Due to his illness, his kidney function was slowly declining and his cognitive abilities were suffering as a result. The first big sign came when he lost his job due to a decline in his performance. Eight months later he was out of money. He sold his home and lived out of his car. Less than two years after he lost his job, he had also lost his car, was drowning in debt and was living in a homeless shelter. He was then referred to Joseph’s Home. Within two months, he was receiving the medical care he needed and he was participating in the El Barrio workforce development program in the customer service training track.

After working with El Barrio staff who helped him review his resume, learn professional skills for his chosen field, attend a job fair and receive a National Retail Federation (NRF) certification, he got a job in retail. He then had the income to get and keep an apartment. Flash forward to today. John is now the healthcare navigator at Joseph’s Home and is living the dream—an independent and successful life—all thanks to teamwork.

The article above appears in the spring 2018 issue of the Joseph’s Journey newsletter. Pictured above are Joseph’s Home Executive Director Christine Horne and John Mytrysak.