Welfare to Work
Under contract with the counties of Blue Earth and Steele, MRCI provides a variety of employment services for recipients of Minnesota's Family Investment Program (MFIP), Diversionary Work Program (DWP) and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program ( SNAP).
Under the MFIP program, welfare recipients are allowed 60 months of welfare benefits in their lifetime. The primary goal of the MFIP program is to assist these individuals in finding employment, becoming stabilized and reducing or eliminating their need for public assistance. MRCI provides employment and training services to MFIP participants who have not succeeded in finding employment on their own, or are in need of more extensive services to find employment. MRCI is the primary provider of employment and training services in Blue Earth and Steele Counties.
The DWP and SNAP programs have similar goals. DWP serves families who are new to the public assistance programs with a goal of “diverting” the family from entering the MFIP program. SNAP serves single individuals who are considered able bodied adults.
Each person referred to MRCI's employment and training services is assigned a Job Counselor who develops an individual employment plan that addresses specific barriers to employment and methods for moving beyond these barriers to employment. Program participants are required to work a certain number of hours per week or participate in a variety of job seeking activities to maintain their benefits. Approved activities range from scheduled workshops to job seeking in the community. Based on individual need, the Employment and Training program can provide financial as well as specific employment development services to assist the individual in finding employment.
Emergency financial assistance may be available in the form of a voucher for services to assist the individual in resolving short-term financial barriers. Examples would include funds to make minor car repairs, funds to purchase gas for a vehicle or money to purchase appropriate clothing for a job interview. These funds are limited and are approved at the discretion of the Job Counselor. Funds may also be used to fund a limited amount of post-secondary education that must meet criteria set by state law and may also be used to contract workshops and adult basic education to address academic or English language deficits.
Additional employment services are also provided or can be arranged at each office. They include on the job assessment, job placement, job coaching and employee development services. MRCI will assist the participant in seeking employment by making direct employer calls and assisting in the hiring process. Post-employment assistance in the form of job coaching is available to assist the participant in adjusting to the job and learning job specific skills.
MRCI’s County Employment Service Programs also provide resolution of issues employers may be facing in hiring individuals from the various cultures. A professional training consultant is available to employers to assist in mediation, interpretation, orientation, safety training and problem solving. Diversity training is also available to assist employers and their staff to understand the various cultural challenges in hiring our new American neighbors.