One of the smaller, gold-nugget programs we help fund as part of our effort to assist veterans is Lehigh Conferences of Church’s Permanent Employment Program (PEP) because its vision entails assisting “chronically unemployed individuals to search for, and obtain, meaningful employment by providing barrier assessment, education, case management, and subsidized work experiences in the Lehigh Valley” – in other words, a holistic, work-oriented approach. In so doing, it can take a veteran who was once unemployed to a state of self-sufficiency through meaningful, permanent employment which does not have to be subsidized.
Unfortunately, this type of thinking is in short supply. Only through well paying employment can a person decrease a dependence on social financial supports – what is unfortunately called “welfare”. Such programs were intended as a social safety net and not a way of life for work-able people. Currently, this small-scale program works with about 25 clients each year, referred by partnering organizations. Among them, two to four are typically veterans.
A candidate found suitable starts with paid training (15hrs/week) in food or janitorial services. Health, housing and other services are also addressed at this time, if they have not been; and additional case management and counseling.
The program coordinator helps the individual apply and interview for competitive employment opportunities in the community (not necessarily in food or janitorial service industries). Once thought ready, participants enter into community with fulltime jobs, but that is not the end of it. The program coordinator works with both the employee and employers for up to nine months to ensure a good fit has resulted.
As a result, there have been success stories which have made our support worth our while. This little program may not have all the glitz of other veterans employment programs, but in its small way it does more than talk a good game. More veterans who have not worked in a long time in a meaningful job and want to find their way back to what they once were should take advantage of PEP.
For more information, contact Karen Faverey at 610-820-5049 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
As of 09 March 2015