The City of Omaha and The Salvation Army to Launch Work Readiness Program
The City of Omaha and The Salvation Army will launch “A Way to Work,” a work readiness program that will provide employment, training and services to persons who are homeless.
“'A Way to Work’ expands our commitment to workforce development and training. We will bring the dignity of work to those who are willing and able,” said Mayor Jean Stothert.
Mayor Stothert first announced the city’s intent to develop an employment program specifically for persons who are homeless and panhandlers in the 2018 State of the City speech. A program in Albuquerque, New Mexico, “There’s A Better Way,” provided an example of a successful program.
“We studied the Albuquerque model carefully,” said Mayor Stothert. "Our program builds on ‘There’s A Better Way,’ offering a good job and a good wage, tools for long-term success and additional resources The Salvation Army is trained to provide.”
Western Divisional Commander Greg Thompson said, “The Salvation Army is proud to partner with the city through this exciting new venture which strengthens our missional resolve to give foundational support to the most vulnerable in our great community.”
Participants will be employed by The Salvation Army for a 90-day program that includes working at City of Omaha parks for two days a week at a rate of $10 per hour. The City will provide transportation to and from job sites in a van marked “A Way to Work.”
Initial participants will be selected by referral from the Siena/Francis House, while others will be recruited by the program coordinator or can apply for the program. The Salvation Army will screen all applicants to determine their eligibility and conduct background checks and E-Verify. Up to six participants will be accepted for the program during each 90-day period. Following successful completion, The Salvation Army will assist participants with employment applications and provide a letter of recommendation. Participants may also have the opportunity for future employment with the Parks Department.
“We look forward to participating in A Way to Work and providing work experience,” said Parks Director Brook Bench. “We always have seasonal job openings, and those who successfully complete this program may be good candidates for future employment with the City.”
A Way to Work will be funded with $50,000 from the Community Service Funds budget in the 2018 City of Omaha General Fund. The Salvation Army will also contribute $50,000. A full-time Salvation Army employee will manage the program. The 2019 program will begin February 5 and conclude September 30.
Mayor Stothert will include funding for “A Way to Work” in the 2020 budget.
“The goal has to be to end homelessness in Omaha and this is a major step toward that goal,” said Mayor Stothert.