Career Builders provided team-based case management and career planning, job development, and education and training services to help Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipients gain and maintain employment.
Career Builders began with two weeks of daily three-hour classes designed to help individuals understand why they had not succeeded previously in the labor market. In addition, to guide their job search, participants underwent extensive screening that identified barriers to employment and their strengths and interests. Participants were assigned a case manager, an employment specialist, a mental health specialist, and a community resource expert who worked together as a team to provide personal counseling and connect participants to peer support classes, training, and supportive services. Participants also developed a long-term career plan and were supposed to work with the employment specialist to deal with issues that arose with their new jobs; however, post-employment services had to be cut at the outset of Career Builders because of budget limitations.
The population the program served consisted of current TANF recipients who had previously received TANF or had lost a job within the last two years, as well as new TANF applicants who did not find work within 45 days of applying for TANF. Career Builders was implemented in Portland, OR. It was evaluated as part of the Employment Retention and Advancement Evaluation.