The embrace of community, empowerment to work towards self-determined goals, and advocacy to reduce discrimination.
Productivity is an important aspect of quality of life. Step Up and Daniel’s Place offer coaching and mentoring opportunities including pre-vocational training, techniques for job interviews, work adjustment, employment preparation, and job placement. Hands-on experiences in paid positions include word processing, data entry, facilities maintenance, receptionist duties, clerical support, food service, restaurant kitchen operations, and retail associate work. Over 175 members participate in these supported employment training and placement programs, with 80 individuals employed, and 31 individuals enrolled in an educational program of some type.
Participants work as employees of Step Up and Daniel’s Place with supported supervision and guidance. Step Up’s vocational philosophy parallels its housing philosophy – there are no failures. All participants desiring meaningful, community-competitive employment will be assisted in achieving that goal. Step Up’s vocational strategy is member driven, with participants setting their own goals, choosing areas of vocational interest, and determining the speed with which they move through vocational training. Vocational assessment is ongoing, incorporating staff evaluation and self evaluation. There are no time constraints on the training period. Support is continuous, even after participants have obtained competitive employment.
The range of services include work-related classes, individual instruction, hands-on supervision, paid training, in-house stipend jobs, community based work crew positions, work opportunities in center-run businesses, and placement in competitive employment. Staff provides advocacy, education, goal setting, motivation, and skills training. Pre-vocational services include assessment of work history, career counseling, assistance with grooming and acquiring job-appropriate clothes, education skill linkage and ongoing addressing of barriers that may impede successful employment. SUOS also offers volunteer positions for participants who seek “task oriented activities” but are intimidated by paid training and employment.
Twenty Vocational participants were placed in unsubsidized employment, and sixty eight members participated in supportive employment in 2014!
Step Up is launching a Hollywood vocational enterprise, The Vine Street Café at Step Up on Vine in 2015, thanks to a $420K award through Councilman Mitch O’Farrell’s office. The Vine Street Café will be a for-profit enterprise, with paid on-the-job work training and real-world experience for participants. The funding is specifically to create 12 full-time positions for low- income individuals who are a part of Step Up’s Work Force Development Program.
The prolific aeroponic tower gardens on the roof of Step Up on Vine in Hollywood are managed by the Vocational team. Fresh garden produce from the tower gardens is part of the daily meals served for Step Up on Vine residents. Tenants may also make special arrangements with the Vocational Team to pick up produce for their own residences.
John W., is the first Step Up on Vine resident to become a paid gardener! “Step Up’s Vocational Services program saved my life.” says John. “It gives me something to do, it gives me purpose.” John works in both the aeroponic tower garden and in the janitorial services in Hollywood. For more success stories click here.
Gaura G., is a former Daniel’s Place member who received supportive employment training and placement through Step Up’s Vocational Training Program. Gaura first started her training in the kitchen at Step Up on Second. She soon graduated to a Cashier/Customer Service position in the Fresh Start Café & Market. Next, Gaura trained and worked as a Receptionist at Step Up on Second. Last year, she completed the Westside Center for Independent Living Peer Training Course. Gaura is now a part-time Peer Advocate for young adults served through Daniel’s Place Drop-In Center! For more success stories click here.
In 2005, Gerardo became a member of Daniel’s Place, one of Step Up’s program offering member-driven supportive services for Transitional Aged Youth (aged 18-28 yrs.) In 2009, Gerardo joined Step Up’s Vocational Program, training in Janitorial and Kitchen positions. He took on increased responsibility, assisting the Job Coach and becoming a shift leader. When a part-time peer position became available in 2010, Gerardo easily adapted to this position and excelled at training. In 2011, a full-time Step Up staff position became available. Gerardo is a standout staff member and has taken on the additional responsibilities of managing the aeroponic rooftop garden at Step Up on Vine, and assisting with meal preparation at Step Up on Second. Thank you & a salute to you, Gerardo! For more success stories click here.
Maria H. has been working in the Step Up on Second kitchen in the Vocational Training Program for four years. Her training first began in meal preparation and dishwashing. As Maria continued to succeed, she was soon promoted to the Lead Preparation/Line Cook position. Today, Maria ably handles all aspects of the Step Up on Second kitchen, demonstrating leadership and outstanding culinary skills. She is a mentor to others and sets a positive example to the newer clients entering the Training Program. In 2014, 68 Step Up members were placed in supported employment and 20 in unsubsidized employment.
“It is good to work as a team”, says Maria. “I enjoy all the different people I interact with every day.” Congratulations on the many accomplishments you have made, and continue to make Maria, in the Vocational Training Program! For more success stories click here.
Joseph B. became a Daniel’s Place member in 2008 and entered the Vocational Training Program in 2012. It didn’t take long for Joseph to demonstrate his great potential. When a Job Coach position became available, he accepted the challenge! Joseph’s dedication and motivation for success paid off and he continues to be a valued member of the Vocational Team! A salute to your success, Joseph, and thank you!For more success stories click here.
Meet Sally, the voice of Step Up. If you have called Step Up in the past six months you may have spoken with Sally. Sally is one of Step Up’s receptionists under the Vocational Training Program. Sally, a longtime Step Up participant, even having served on the Board of Directors in the early years, credits Step Up with helping her find permanent housing over 20 years ago when she was about to be homeless and where she still resides today. At one point, Sally worked in Fresh Start Market and was again feeling the need to connect with others and do something productive. She reached out to the Step Up vocational team and with training she was placed in reception. “I enjoy my job tremendously, and I hope to be working for as long as possible.” We hope so too Sally! Thank you and a salute to you, Sally! For more success stories click here.
Navy Veteran Daniel L. began working in Step Up’s Vocational Training Program in September 2010. With his excellent job performance, Daniel soon earned a permanent part-time Janitorial position, where he often fills in as a shift leader for the Vocational Team. “I’m thankful that I can work at Step Up in this capacity”, says Daniel L. “And my position gives me the ability to buy extra things to enhance my life”. Honor. Courage. Commitment. Step Up is proud and grateful to have Navy Veteran Daniel L. as an important member of the Vocational team. Congratulations on your accomplishments, Daniel! For more success stories click here.