Conquering Obstacles: How WorkLife Partnership and SCCC Support Underemployed Workers

Sister Carmen Community Center recently partnered with WorkLife Partnership, which is a social enterprise nonprofit that connects employees in need with community resources and opportunities to increase job skills. Navigators connect members with resources, and Upskill Coaches provide training for soft skills, workplace communication, and other traits to help underemployed participants reach their fullest potential.

“Underemployment” refers to employed workers that are not necessarily reaching their workplace potential. Some obstacles keeping participants underemployed are the lack of communication and workplace problem solving skills, lack of resources for training, lack of soft skills, or a variety of other life factors.

As an Upskill Coach, Amy helps participants build their own plans to address these obstacles. These meetings focus on long-term and educational goals, which are often one in the same. Through coaching, participants build soft skills, develop communication, and create their own toolbox of goal-setting resources. Coaching also fosters community connections and emphasizes employee engagement and retention services.

Amy meets with participants once their other necessities – such as food and stable housing– have been secured. Success is much more likely without worrying about access to basic needs, and WorkLife’s partnership with Sister Carmen makes it easier to ensure these necessities have been met. If participants bring up other issues during their time with Amy, she can easily refer them to the proper department on-site at Sister Carmen.

Amy has experienced the power of mentorship firsthand. “I started college at age 26 with a GED and a 5 year-old,” she says. After working in higher education and workforce development, Amy believes “mentors are transformational and hold valuable keys to poverty reduction.”

Amy’s favorite part of the job is helping participants get excited again and finding the keys to their own success. When participants feel stuck and hopeless, she helps them plan a roadmap. Options and choices emerge where none existed before.

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