General Relief Opportunities for WORK (GROW)

growGROW program was implemented in February 1999, as approved by the Board of Supervisors under Section 17000.6 of the Welfare and Institutions Code. On August 21, 1998, a law change extended the time limit on eligibility for General Relief (GR) to nine months in any 12 month period and made participation in a welfare-to-work program mandatory for employable GR recipients.

Currently, the GR Program is undergoing a restructure, with the purpose of improving its effectiveness in moving participants into self-sufficiency, mainly by seeking Social Security Income (SSI) or by obtaining employment. GROW Program is taking part in this restructure and new enhancements and customized services are being developed to improve employment preparation and employment opportunities for GROW participants. Recent additions include the Pathways to Success and Computer Application Class components described below.

GROW PROGRAM OVERVIEW

The goal of GROW is to transition GROW participants into the labor market. Participation is mandatory for all employable GR recipients. Unemployable participants may volunteer to participate. The first GROW activity consists of a brief Orientation during which participants learn basic information regarding GROW, its components and its requirements. Orientation is provided by GROW contracted providers with a short presentation made by a Case Manager to emphasize benefits of participation in the program.


A.

Employment Needs evaluation (EVA) - Prior to enrollment in GROW, and as part of the GR application process, all employable applicants are screened to gather information regarding their education and job skills, as well as any potential barriers to employment that may affect their participation in the program. This information is recorded into the GROW computer system and later on utilized by the case manager to determine the GROW activities that are appropriate for each individual. Voluntary participants need to be assessed by a medical provider or a certified mental health Clinician to determine whether any limitations and/or reasonable accommodations are necessary for participation. Accommodations that are not reasonable cannot be provided. Therefore, participants in need of major accommodations cannot be enrolled in GROW.

B. Orientation (ORN) - Consists of a brief presentation which provides participants with an overview of the program and its services. Beginning on August 3, 2000, attending Orientation became a condition of GR eligibility. During Orientation participants learn about the program and take part in a literacy assessment.
C. Case Manager Appointments (CMA) - GROW participants throughout their participation in the program, receive Case Manager Appointments to discuss their progress and to determine the next activity to which they would be assigned, based on each individual's background and circumstances. A Job Skills Assessment is completed during the first Case Manager appointment to gather information regarding the participant’s skills, work history, education, etc. This information is used as the basis for participation in GROW, and helps create the participant profile.
D. Early Job Search (EJS) - This is a voluntary component offered to any interested participants who are willing to participate in intensive job searching activities while they wait for their case to be approved. Transportation is issued for traveling to and from job interviews as needed.
E. Job Readiness Training (JRT) - A three-week activity consisting of a one-week job skills workshop and two weeks of directed and intense job search activities designed to help participants acquire the skills needed to find and obtain employment.
F. Job Readiness Training for Youth (JRY) - A customized three-week activity consisting of a one-week job skills workshop and two weeks of directed and intense job search activities designed specifically for Transition Age Youth participants, ages 18-24 years old, to help them acquire the skills needed to find and obtain employment.
G. Pathways to Success (PTS) - A four-week job readiness and job search activity designed to provide GROW Transition Age Youth participants, ages 18 to 24 years old, with pre-employment and life skills training and support.
H. Vocational Assessment (VOC) - Upon recommendation made by the Employment Development Team (EDT) participants are referred to this optional component. A professional Vocational Assessor develops an agreed-upon employment plan for participants who remain unemployed after participation in any other components. Upon completion, they may be assigned to Intensive Case Management, Short-Term Training or Education/Training.
I.

Intensive Case Management (ICM) - This component consists of intensive job searching activities under the guidance of the Job Developer and/or Case Manager. ICM services are provided as follows:

a. During any down-time of a week or more, in-between components.
b. Concurrently with any other activities which combined add up to 20 hours per week.
c. Once all other required components have been completed and until time limits expire.

J. Short Term Training (STT) - Participants receive referrals to training programs that can be completed within sixty days. There is no requirement for Vocational Assessment in order to participate in this component. There are a couple of customized short-term trainings for GROW participants which include: Office Occupations, Security Guard, and Computer Application Class (details are shown below).
K. Education/Training (EDU) - Under the recommendation of the Employment Development Team (EDT), the GROW Case Manager or the Vocational Assessor, participants are referred to education/training programs to fulfill their employment goals Participants are referred to local/community schools and training programs.
L. Self-Initiated Program (SIP) - Attendance at education or training programs may be approved in lieu of JRT if the participant was enrolled prior to Orientation and:

* The program involves a minimum of 20 hours activity per week,
* Is likely to lead to employment in a demand occupation, and
*

Can be completed within the remaining time on aid.


M.

Career Opportunities Resources & Employment (CORE) - A four week component designed to increase the participant’s job readiness and career motivation by reducing potential barriers to employment. CORE specifically targets participants who are chronically homeless, those who have completed a substance abuse treatment, those who have previously been in GROW, and those age 50 and older. Classes are small and utilize an interagency team approach. Staff from Los Angeles County Office of Education conducts classes with collaboration of DPSS case managers who provide support to the participants.

N. Office Occupations (OPS) - A twelve-week course designed for participants who express an interest in working in an office environment. Participants will acquire hands-on experience with computers and use of office-related software programs.
O. Computer Application Class (CAC) - This component is a 12-week open-entry/open-exit class for Transitional Age Youth (TAY) participants between the ages of 18-24. It was designed to provide TAY participants with knowledge and understanding of industry-standard software, used by today's employers, and hands-on computer experience needed for entry level positions.
P. One-Stop/Work Source (OST) - This component is available to participants who are returning to GROW after being time-limited off and they have completed JRT, JRY, CORE or PTS in their current enrollment period. Activities include short-term training programs, employment resources, job referrals and job retention services.
Q. Non-Custodial Parent (NCP) - Designed to assist participants who have children that are not living with them, this component helps them find employment and meet their child support obligations. Activities include short-term training programs, employment resources, peer support groups, counseling sessions that encourage participants to provide financial and emotional support for their children, job referrals and job retention services.
R. Youth (YTH) - This component is designed to provide services for participants who are between the ages of 18-24, preparing them to successfully enter the work environment by offering a variety of employment, education and vocational training programs that are geared to their age group.
S. Post-Employment Services (PES) - Offers job retention services, continued education development, rapid re-employment and supportive services provided by the Case Manager. Additionally, participants may get assistance with transportation for up to thirty days after securing employment as long as their GR case remains active.
T. Supportive Services - Includes screening for potential substance abuse, domestic violence and mental health needs. Referrals are made at the time of Orientation and during Vocational Assessment. Case Managers may also make referrals at any time a participant expresses the need for such assistance.

GROW ENROLLMENT


Individuals are given information on the GROW program when they apply for GR. On the same day, and at the district office, applicants without documented physical or mental disabilities meet one-on-one with an Employment Specialist (Eligibility Worker) who briefly explains the program. An Employment Needs Evaluation is initiated to gather information concerning the applicant's job skills, educational background, work history, etc. The applicant is then scheduled for an Orientation appointment. Participation is mandatory for employable participants as a condition of receiving GR. Time limits begin on the date of the Orientation appointment.

Participants deemed unemployable due to physical or mental disabilities, as well as old age (60 or older) are not required to participate in GROW. They may request voluntary enrollment. Volunteers are not subject to time limits and may disenroll at any time, without financial penalties.

THE GROW PARTICIPANT'S TEAM
A.
Case Manager - Provides case management services during the individual's participation in the program. He/she conducts the initial appraisal; works with participants to ensure their service needs are met; plans the necessary program activities to achieve the individual's employment goals; and provides intensive case management assistance to participants who remain unemployed.
B.
Job Developer - Works with employers in the local community to identify employment opportunities and match participants with the labor force need. The Job Developer also assists participants in directed job search efforts and reviews their progress.
C.
Job Coach - Contracted staff, responsible for providing guidance to participants enrolled in the REP component.
D.
Facilitator - Contracted staff, responsible for facilitating Orientation and JSPC classes and assisting participants during their participation in these components
E.
Employment Development Team (EDT) - The individuals listed above are members of this team. Together, they determine the best way to assist the participants with their employment goals based on information gathered in the Participant Employment Profile.
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