The Employment Advancement and Retention Network (EARN) is funded through the Department of Human Services (DHS). EARN been re-designed for the 2020-2021 Program Year. EARN’s primary emphasis in the past years has been on employment for clients. The re-design is to provide a range of services to meet individuals’ needs, including access to education and training opportunities to move clients towards family economic stability. The program is based on human-centered design and includes a combination of case management, coaching, licensed counseling, and peer to peer experiences to develop a career pathway through job placement and job retention goals for the participants referred from the County Assistance Office (CAO).
The EARN program does not recruit clients. County assistance office (CAO) staff, in Westmoreland and Fayette counties will determine eligibility for the EARN program and refer clients to EARN based on CAO policy and procedures. The clients must be receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and ineligible for or declining Diversion, may be referred to the EARN contractor. The hours of participation are determined by the household composition for TANF.
The EARN staff will conduct a case review to become familiar with the client’s background and situation in order to determine what additional assistance the participant will need to achieve family economic security.
New for the 2020-2021 program year, the EARN staff must conduct an in-person comprehensive household assessment that identifies participant strengths and barriers to employment and family economic security. As part of the assessment, the participant’s social indicators of health (SIOH) shall be identified, including but not limited to:
- Interests and goals
- Household composition
- Current employment and financial status
- Language and literacy (including English proficiency)
- Food security and nutritional education
- General and mental health
- Drug and alcohol dependency
- Criminal History
- Criminal background inquiry and checks
- Domestic violence
- Child care and parenting
- Support network
- Work experience
- Work Capacity Assessment if required
The EARN staff and client will review the assessment agree to several goals and the steps to achieve the goals.
Another change made to the EARN program by DHS is more emphasis on education/training for our clients. It is encourage to have clients train in an industry approved program, which will help them obtain a better paying job and sustain their employment.