WASHINGTON, April 30, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On April 22, 2015, Friendship Place hosted its Spring Symposium, "Employment First: Working Toward a Successful Future Out of Homelessness." The event, held at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, featured an expert panel emphasizing the importance of employment in ending and preventing homelessness.
The discussion was moderated by Ray Suarez, current host of "Inside Story" at Al Jazeera America. The expert panel included Deborah Carroll, Director of the DC Department of Employment Services; Jasmine Hayes, Policy Director of the US Interagency Council on Homelessness; Ryan Mack, Mid-Atlantic Market President of Operation HOPE; Chris Warland, Associate Director for Field Building at Heartland Alliance; and Mark Gordon, a graduate of Friendship Place's AimHire program, which is based on the Employment First model.
Employment First expedites job placement while also addressing housing and other needs. The approach includes identifying a participant's skill set and moving toward job placement as quickly as possible. Professional training for advancement is accessible once the person has settled into the new position.
"Employment First works because people simply can't afford to wait to make an income," said Jean-Michel Giraud, Executive Director of Friendship Place. "It reverses the typical order of employment programs in that job placement comes first and training second."
On average, AimHire places people in jobs in just over 60 days and resolves housing issues within 90 days. Since June 2011, AimHire has helped over 340 participants gain employment, housing 335 of them and enjoys a retention rate of 91%. The program's success relies on partnerships with a wide range of employers.
Mark Gordon said, "I thought I would never dig myself out of my situation. Friendship Place did a marvelous job of helping me rebuild my confidence, so that I could rebuild my life."
Friendship Place – FriendshipPlace.org – empowers individuals and families experiencing or at risk of homelessness to rebuild their lives with the involvement of the community. Through innovative leadership and community engagement, we provide effective, customized programs, including street outreach, shelter, transitional and permanent supportive housing, health care, job placement, homelessness prevention, rapid rehousing, and specialized services for veterans and youth.
SOURCE Friendship Place