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Greater Syracuse Works, Inc. (GSW) was formalized in 1997 as a voluntary collaborative organization of local community-based, faith-based, nonprofit, governmental and educational organizations dedicated to increasing employment and family successes for low-income residents of Syracuse and Central New York .  GSW earned it’s 501 (c) 3 non-profit status in 2004.

GSW is, by its very nature, a network of community resources.  GSW membership meets regularly and consists of many agencies committed to developing employment opportunities for the low income population in Syracuse . Members currently include: 
Center for Community Alternatives, Frank H. Hiscock Legal Aid Society, Spanish Action League of Onondaga County, Inc., Onondaga Case Management Services, The Consortium for Children's Services Inc., Westcott Community Center, Legal Services of Mid New York, Partners in Business and Education, Partners in Learning, PEACE, Inc., Huntington Family Services, Women's Opportunity Center, Literacy Coalition of Onondaga County, Matawon Development Corp., Syracuse Housing Authority, InterFaith Works, Center for Court Innovations.

Our members have worked together on many projects since GSW’s inception.  

GSW’s mission is to develop innovative methods of creating and sustaining employment opportunities for low income individuals in the Greater Syracuse area through collaboration and capacity building among GSW members and with other community stakeholders. 

As outlined above, through its nature as a collaboration, GSW has helped member agencies, individually and collectively, leverage funding from all levels of government. Given its history and purpose, GSW clearly also has extensive experience in workforce programming and training.  

Through its projects GSW has worked to expand the capacity of its members to provide workforce programming to low income person utilizing an individualized case management model developed through PSI.  Agencies (primarily through PSI and SHA Works) are provided training, implementation support, and oversight through a central project office.  The employment case management model (and staff training) utilized by GSW include:  

  • Employability assessment and interest inventory
  • Identification of barriers and goal setting
  • Effective case management
  • Job readiness support (job searching and interviewing skills)
  • Utilization of community resources as wrap around services
  • Job development and business relations
  • Job placement and Retention strategies

Through CCA’s REAL program, GSW has developed a group job readiness curriculum that compliments the case management model but also involves more peer inaction and group learning in the job readiness process.   

In order to enhance GSW’s ability to provide training and support for both the case management model and group curriculum, GSW’s Career Resources Coordinator is currently participating in Offender Workforce Development Specialist (OWDS) Training offered by the New York Department of Probation and  Correctional Alternatives (DPCA) in conjunction with the National Institute of Corrections (NIC) the NYS Department of Labor (DOL) and county probation departments. The OWDS curriculum leads to NCDA certification as a Global Career Development Facilitator (GCDF).  The OWDS training includes the eleven competency areas, each of which must be satisfactorily completed to be eligible for certification. The competency areas are:  

  • Understanding and Using Facilitation Skills
  • Role of Assessment in Career Planning and Job Placement
  • Instruction and Group Facilitation
  • Designing and Implementing Training and Work Development        Services
  • Barriers to Employment
  • Ethics and the Career Development Facilitator
  • Transition Interventions for the Offender Population
  • Job Seeking and Employability Skills
  • Job Retention
  • The Role of Information and Computers in Career Planning

Trainees receive intensive, competency-based instruction which includes 180 hours of classroom training, e-learning modules and practicum experience. In addition, the curriculum is a “train-the-trainer” course.  

The OWDS Partnership Training Program provides participants with the skills needed to help individuals with criminal histories seek, secure, and maintain employment, although the competencies are applicable to other populations as well. The training program provides the competencies needed for certification as a Global Career Development Facilitator (GCDF) as well as Offender Workforce Development Specialist Instructor (OWDS-I). The certification process is administered by the Center for Credentialing and Education, Inc. (CCE).  GSW’s Career Resources Coordinator will complete the training in August, 2009.  GSW’s president has already completed the training and is in the process of obtaining the GCDF.

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