Housing Works is an innovative, bi-state collaboration between 3 Workforce Investment Boards and 4 Public Housing Agencies working together to help 480 public housing residents gain the life and employment skills necessary to attain self-sufficiency. The 3-year project ended in 2016 and was funded by a $5.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. Worksystems served as the project lead.

Key Findings and Lessons Learned:

The HW program had four overarching goals:

  1. Increase collaboration between the region’s Workforce Development Boards and Public Housing Authorities by aligning resources to fund training and support services and making policy changes that reduce barriers to partnering over time. 
  2. Co-invest resources for public housing residents in a way that eliminates program redundancies and increases employment. 
  3. Increase the earning potential of public housing residents by improving access to and retention in training programs linked to high-demand occupations.
  4. Accelerate a path to self-sufficiency for public housing residents through sustained employment in high-demand occupations with pathways for advancement.

Of the 536 credentials earned, 309 were industry recognized certifications. Overall, participants said the program helped them overcome barriers to employment and businesses stated they were provided with qualified candidates to choose from. 

The service delivery model proved sufficient to positively impact the job readiness of a highly-barriered population. Core features of the program including designated career coaches added significant value and we will look to implement this approach more broadly to improve outcomes for disadvantaged clients.

A full evaluation of the program can be found below.

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