The Employment, Advancement, Retention Network (EARN) program operated by the Private Industry Council of Westmoreland/Fayette, Inc. is one of seven programs across the State of Pennsylvania to receive the Department of Human Services Innovation Grant. This grant was funded through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program which is a federally funded program that assists families with children when parents or other responsible relatives struggle to make ends meet and provide for the family’s basic needs.
The Private Industry Council is using the grant funding to take a holistic approach to addressing the barriers of mental health and substance abuse for those involved in the EARN Program. This will be accomplished through the use of behavioral health services which are provided to not just the client but the entire family unit. By including the family, this project will take a multi-generational approach to addressing barriers which are preventing individuals from obtaining credentialing, job placement and retention while helping to build a support system.
All clients will be given a Risk Assessment identifying their individual mental health and substance abuse knowledge/needs. This assessment will then guide the group and individual behavioral health sessions. The sessions may include just the individual or the family unit. The client will also be provided the opportunity to enroll in a training program that will help them obtain gainful employment. In order to successfully complete these tasks, each enrolled client will be given a Chromebook to complete the training program as well as participate in individual behavioral health sessions via Zoom.
Through this funding, the program will also be providing quarterly Family Engagement Events at the Fayette County and Westmoreland County sites. These events will be a multi-generational educational event that will connect the EARN client and their family unit with education.
Successful participants will be eligible for a $500.00 saving bond for their oldest child which can be used to assist in post-secondary costs such as college or training programs. The bond matures when the child turns 18 and will be able to be cashed by the child at this time.