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Ventura County Focus : Ventura County Focus | Countywide

Grant Will Assist Job Training Effort

April 17, 1998|DAWN HOBBS

Ventura County will receive $1 million to conduct a three-year program that will offer intensive job training for hard-to-employ individuals as part of the state's new welfare-to-work program.

Only seven of the state's 58 counties were selected to receive the grant, which will provide extra help for people who have not been in the work force for an extended period or have substance-abuse, mental-health or domestic-abuse problems.

About 180 welfare recipients will spend 32 hours per week in a combination of workshops and real-life work experience. A second group with similar characteristics will serve as the control.

All welfare recipients currently receive job training through the county's welfare-to-work program. But this experiment is designed to determine whether more intensive assistance, such as employment readiness workshops and support groups, will better prepare them to enter the work force, said Helen Reburn, chief deputy director of the Public Social Services Agency.

The Board of Supervisors unanimously agreed to accept the $1.07-million grant from the California Department of Social Services on Tuesday. Supervisors will decide next month on a budget for Goodwill Industries, which has been selected to provide the training.

"Goodwill Industries will be serving primarily single women who are heads of households, have been on aide for several years, maybe never worked outside the home and may have limited education," Reburn said.

"The employment readiness workshops will help the women get into a pattern of having to get up in the morning, get their kids to school and get to a certain place at a regular time," Reburn said. "They will learn how to dress for job interviews, how to go about accepting supervision and about basic survival skills for holding down a job."

If results of the experimental program are positive, the social services department would seek funding to enhance its job training program.

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