Life Coach Beth Ewing (right) works with one of the more than 70 Employing Medina County clients the program has assisted since September 2015. Of those 70 clients, more than half have found employment at businesses with open positions in Medina or adjacent counties.
Employing Medina County Helps Local Families Succeed
The mission of Employing Medina County (EMC) is to empower individuals to achieve and maintain self-sufficiency through employment.
Employing Medina County launched in 2014 following extensive research and many discussions between United Way, local nonprofits, Ohio Means Jobs, and business leaders who identified two persistent problems in the county:
(1) a lack of reliable, skilled workers to fill open positions at area businesses, and
(2) a gap in services available to low-income individuals and families who were motivated to improve their socio-economic status, but who were ineligible for most government assistance programs.
According to experts working with United Way Worldwide, the ability to improve financial status can have a positive, multi-generational impact on a family's overall well-being by increasing access to quality healthcare, better housing options, and educational opportunities. And while Medina County is considered to have low unemployment and poverty rates, more than 13,000 residents currently live at or below the federal poverty level, with another 22,000 living just above, according to census figures. Some of these individuals and families are unemployed, while many others, though working hard, are underemployed with little chance for economic mobility. Further investigation into these local workforce issues revealed that many low-income residents faced barriers to obtaining financially stabilizing employment, including lack of transportation, childcare needs, non-violent criminal records, or not having the skill sets local employers desired.
United Way Receives Start-up Grant
Armed with a three-year grant from the Westfield Insurance Foundation, United Way and collaborators selected an intensive curriculum for Employing Medina County. While the curriculum is somewhat standardized, it is flexible enough to meet the needs of each individual or family. Clients are typically referred to the program by noprofit agencies from throughout the county, such as the Salvation Army of Wadsworth, Lodi Family Center, Catholic Charities, Community Action of Wayne and Medina Counties, and the Battered Women's Shelter of Summit and Medina Counties. Those accepted for the program are paired with one of United Way's staff advocates, or Life Coaches, who helps clients develop an action plan. Life Coaches also help navigate the various nonprofit and government agencies that can provide help with transportation, legal assistance, rent/mortgage assistance, housing, home repair, childcare, mental health services, or job training. The long-term goal is to be sure that these individuals get the training and support they need to be successful in their chosen fields of work.
To date, Employing Medina County clients have obtained full-time jobs in many area businesses, including Sandridge Foods, Pleasant Valley Construction, Westfield Insurance, Pearlview Rehab and Wellness Center, and House of Hunan, to name a few.
Our Community Impact Strategy goals for Employing Medina County:
- Help unemployed and underemployed residents get and keep jobs
- Educate low-income individuals on financial management
- Increase career advancement opportunities for underemployed people
2016 Investment: $305,000
Community Legal Aid, a nonprofit law firm, is a funded partner for Employing Medina County. Community Legal Aid accepts income-eligible referrals from Employing Medina County and provides legal services for clients that may be helpful in obtaining or maintaining employment. In addition, Community Legal Aid provides monthly financial and legal information clinics at the United Way of Medina County for both Employing Medina County clients and the general public.
To view a video about Employing Medina County, click here.