Part 1 - Why to Integrate 

A young woman is enrolled part-time in community college and looking for a job to help pay for her student expenses.  Given her family's financial situation, she's unsure of how a job might affect her mother's eligibility for food and housing assistance or her family's tax refund when they file.  She knows that her job will help with expenses and saving for college, yet she also wants to know whether she's harming her family's net financial situation in the process.  These are difficult issues for anyone to navigate, made more challenging when you don't have access to financial coaching.  

This is just one example of how the financial instability of many unemployed and working poor people can be a barrier to success, even as they are attempting to better their situations.  Workforce development program participants often face financial challenges ranging from having poor credit ratings, being credit “invisible” or “unscorable” with insufficient credit history, debt, and no savings.   Financial emergencies such as a car breaking down, a high utility bill, or a surprise medical issue can keep them from participating in education and training programs and staying employed.

Financial insecurity can hinder an individual’s ability to complete education and training programs, obtain employment, and keep their job.  When jobs go unfilled in concurrence with so many people confronting employment challenges, this creates a barrier to economic mobility that’s important to understand and address for families and communities across the country.  Leading workforce development organizations nationally have a strong history of providing financial security services to their program participants.  The Corporation for a Skilled Workforce/The Financial Clinic Issue Brief series, When is More Not Extra? further explores how integrating these services into workforce development programs can achieve greater impact and accelerate outcomes. 

Our research from both the national Workforce Benchmarking Network survey and a survey of The Financial Clinic’s WorkBOOST NYC partners validates that programs who integrated financial security strategies into their core services showed higher rates of achieving workforce outcomes than programs that did not offer financial services.  This includes improvement in both employment and financial outcomes for participants who received a combination of services to help them gain skills to find employment and the financial knowledge to retain jobs long term.  

We hope this research is useful to organizations and communities currently rethinking their approach to workforce development services and financial literacy education.  We see great opportunity in 2018 for learning and experimentation with others who want to help individuals achieve better employment outcomes and improve financial behaviors in service of real economic progress.

To learn more about this topic, see Issue Brief #1: Why Should We Integrate?

To read the full series, see Full Series Issue Briefs

Join the discussion on twitter,  @skilledwork_org, @financialclinic #morenotextra #finsec4change #integrate

*This blog is the first in a five-part series co-written by Corporation for a Skilled Workforce and The Financial Clinic. Stay tuned for subsequent blogs in this series. www.skilledwork.org www.thefinancialclinic.org

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