Renea Covington, Community Initiatives Director
Glenda Johnson, Program Assistant
The REACH (Resident Income and Employment Program) provides public housing residents with 29 hours of on-the-job training at $8.75 per hour for 6 to 12 months. Individuals train in areas such as Maintenance, Grounds, Clerical, Housekeeping/Vacancy Crew, and Special Projects. Participants are required to enroll in English as a Second Language (ESL) classes, GED preparation training, computer training, or post-secondary training.
Thus far, since the inception of the program, the Housing Authority of Bowling Green has been able to hire over 28 full-time employees, many of whom are still employed. Three residents currently participate in the program. REACH is an internal program of the Housing Authority using HUD Capital funds. REACH is the recipient of the 2002 SERC Regional Award.
REACH HIGHER PROGRAM
Since 1997, the Housing Authority of Bowling Green’s REACH HIGHER Welfare-to-Work Program has been creating opportunities for men and women to enhance personal abilities, assist with overcoming barriers to self-sufficiency, move successfully into the workforce, and retain employment, ultimately removing the participant from welfare. This significant, award-winning program provides services to residents of Allen, Barren, Butler, Edmonson, hart, Logan, Metcalfe, Monroe, Simpson, and Warren Counties in Kentucky, providing welfare participants with six months of job and life-skills training in an effort to permanently remove them from public assistance programs.
Participants work for 30 hours per week at minimum wage at no cost to the employer and participate in four hours per week of job- and life-skills training. The jobs are provided by community partners that serve as employment sites throughout the service area. Community partners include companies and businesses in the retail industry, manufacturing, service industry, clerical, medical, special projects, non-profit, university, and hospitality industry. Training topics include: resume writing, interviewing skills development, goal setting workplace expectations, time management, money management, parenting skills training, mental health assistance, and other life skills.
While in the program, participants receive subsidized childcare, transportation assistance, car repair assistance, and pre=employment, work-related expense assistance. Extensive case management links participants to mental health counseling, post-secondary education, GED training, ESL training, domestic violence prevention, sexual assault counseling, food and utility assistance and other services based on client need. Upon graduation from the program participants will have garnered employment and
Overcome barriers to job retention including transportation, education, and childcare issues. On-going assistance is provided to graduates to ensure job retention is maintained beyond program participation.
Funding to cover all aspects of the program including participant wages, direct benefit needs, training, management, and program administration is provided through an annual grant from the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services. During the year ending 7/31/17, 86% of graduates obtained employment earning more than minimum wage. To date, over 748 individuals have graduated from the REACH HIGHER Program.