Many Coloradans become homeless after losing a job because it’s nearly impossible to pay rent without sufficient income and savings. In metro Denver, over 30 percent of those experiencing homelessness have worked in the past month. But in today’s economy, the reliability and consistency of work hours may vary — particularly for those with the lowest-wage jobs.

In late 2015, CCLP received a significant grant from the Butler Family Fund that is designed to improve employment prospects for Colorado’s homeless population by streamlining education, skills training and support services that will help them secure better-paying jobs.

The grant will enable CCLP to advocate for specific provisions in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) State Implementation Plan to better serve those who have recently experienced homelessness. Congress passed WIOA in 2014 and Colorado will define how it will formally implement its state, regional and local plans in the first half of 2016. Under the grant, CCLP will work with specific individuals, groups and coalitions either through attending their regular meetings, or through one-on-one meetings or convening as a group.

The work plan of this project will focus on identifying and executing specific strategies that will increase the investment of the workforce systems into employment training and services for individuals in this population. With this project, CCLP hopes to achieve several milestones that will increase access to opportunities for this population.

Examples of these milestones include:

  • Having formal language inserted into the Colorado State WIOA Plan, regional and local plans that identifies access to services and opportunities for this population as well as measurements for accountability.

 

  • Bringing homeless services and workforce systems closer together so that they have more familiarity with and understanding of each other and how they can collaborate effectively at a systems level to support this population’s ability to re-enter and remain in the Colorado workforce.

 

  • Sharing materials, standards and approaches so that best practices can be established and used across the state, beginning in the regions where there are the most homeless and formerly homeless job-seekers.

 

  • Increasing overall coordination and collaboration between the workforce and homeless-service systems to foster greater access to employment and training services funded by the Department of Labor.

 

Project Coordinator Laura Ware began working on Feb. 11, 2016. Our initial activities have been introducing the project to different stakeholders, developing an overall work plan for the next 12 months, and researching current activities and opportunities that are happening in the different regions of Colorado.Prior to receiving the grant, CCLP was already immersed in the WIOA planning process. For more than three years, we have coordinated the Skills2Compete Colorado Coalition, which advocated for WIOA’s passage on a national level in partnership with the National Skills Coalition.

Learn more about our work with WIOA state implementation in this fact sheet, this news release and this blog from Chaer Robert, Director of CCLP’s Family Economic Security program.

Also, review our public comments to the Colorado Workforce Development Council on WIOA implementation through this document.

For more information, contact Laura Ware at lauraware985@gmail.com.