“At times like this it is most evident that growing our capacity is not a luxury, but a necessity. We plan to redouble our efforts in the months ahead.”
Dear Family and Friends,
CareerCatchers now serves 800 clients with a staff that has grown from 3 to 11, providing services that guide and train, lower barriers, facilitate emergency assistance, and help secure meaningful employment. This past year was unprecedented in the demand for and growth of our services. Here’s who we saw and how we reached our clients.
Our program expands
We more than doubled the number of clients we saw last year, adding new clients and new services. Some 53% of clients were new referrals, and 166 of the 800 we helped were referrals from the 3-1-1 hotline seeking Emergency Assistance Relief Payment Assistance (EARP).
In addition to the 166 we helped through the Montgomery County Emergency Relief Services, our clients included new referrals from county partners, attendees of our training programs for Montgomery College students, and current clients.
We saw results
- We helped the County distribute nearly $150,000 in EARP cash payments.
- 112 clients were helped with filing for Unemployment Insurance.
- 42% of clients seen intensively started a new job.
- 73% of clients seen intensively participated in training.
Our clients secured jobs valued at approximately $3,700,00 on an annual basis. These jobs included Contact Tracer, Human Services Specialist, Bus Driver-Ride-On, Delivery Driver, Canvass Director in Training, Store Manager, Community Health Worker, Contract Writer, Data Entry Consultant, and Case Manager.
We continue to grow
Two new temporary staff members and two VISTA members in 2020—Emma, Carl, Justin and Chan—joined us to provide EARP and other COVID-related assistance for our clients. We increased outreach to all partners and clients, building client referrals and emphasizing opportunities for virtual workforce training at home. Some 212 clients started at least one workforce development training, and our direct training programs included Job Club, Empowerment Workshops, as well as classes and tutoring offered by volunteers. Since COVID, 26 clients who have attended Job Club have found employment. Our weekly e-blasts to clients provide information about job and training opportunities as well as community resources. Our weekly Virtual Empowerment Workshop Program provides ongoing support where clients can discuss strategies for coping in these stressful times. Domestic Violence victims, in particular, benefit from this workshop to build confidence and self-esteem.
We then started 2021 off with another growth spurt. To meet the increased demand for our services from Montgomery County’s Rapid Rehousing Initiative, we added another four staff members in February and March—Rogger, William, Christopher, and Maria. This new team is expected to serve an additional 300 new clients in 2021.
The more the merrier! Our expanded staff is happy to provide more services.
At Job Club, clients learn how to elevate their social networks. Join us for a different job-related topics every week.
We all need to be empowered. Our clients love attending our Empowerment Workshops.
We continue to see results
The trend of clients starting new jobs and completing workforce development training continues on an upward trajectory in 2021.The first three months of this year showed great gains for our clients. 22 clients began new jobs valued at over $800,000 annually. Some of the interesting jobs we helped clients find are Montgomery Public School Classroom Monitor, Accounting Executive, Compliance Assistant, Project Manager Assistant, Financial Consultant, and Fingerprint Operator.
The help of our donors and partners has made it possible to reach more clients, expand our services, hire more staff, and offer both practical assistance and personal support. In a year where virtual is personal and need surges past capacity, we thank you for your generosity and humanity. We continue to depend on both.
Kristen Conte started volunteering with CareerCatchers in 2017. Because she benefitted from good mentors in her career in Organizational Finance, she knew the importance of a good teacher and a good listener. Kristen started working right after high school and didn’t decide to go to college until her late 20’s. Since she was also working, it took 12 years to finish her Bachelor of Science program.
Kristen likes financial forecasting and interpreting financial information. She likes the precision required in finance and accounting, and has built financial models to help businesses make sound decisions about starting a new product line, hiring staff, or opening a new location. She also wanted to be a teacher, and in elementary school, dreamed of that opportunity. At CareerCatchers, she can combine both her financial expertise and teaching. She teaches Bookkeeping, QuickBooks, Microsoft Word, and Excel.
Clients in Bookkeeping and QuickBooks ask questions from both a business and technical perspective. One client had a consulting firm and wanted to learn how to transition her finances from paper to a software program. Another client owned a market and wanted to save time and money by recording all transactions in QuickBooks. During the course, Kristen describes how businesses bring money in and spend it, discussing how budgets are developed and monitored.
In the Word and Excel classes, Kristen explains problems that can arise when formatting changes are made, or when information is added to or removed from a Word document or Excel spreadsheet. She admires clients taking control of their situation and actively signing up for online training classes. Her hard working students are equally admiring.
Watch Mana’s interview with Studio 501c3. We also proudly present to you our 2020 annual report.