At the end of July, Roberta Glick, LCPC, NCC, a JVS Chicago Career Counselor, and Rosalie Greenberger, LCSW and Family Life Educator at Jewish Child & Family Services (JCFS) will begin a new session of “Staying Motivated in a Tough Job Market,” a four week education and support group presented jointly by JVS Chicago and JCFS for 18 years. “Looking for a job takes an enormous amount of emotional energy,” said Glick. “The program takes a holistic view of the person and the process the person is going through. It acknowledges the psychological impact of long-term unemployment and provides practical job search and career building support.”
This program is one example of the perfect melding of the expertise of JCFS and JVS Chicago to provide services to the community. On July 1 this joint approach became formalized with JCFS and JVS entering into a strategic alliance to provide integrated services. Building on the foundation of each organization, the alliance allows them to provide enhanced comprehensive services to those in need throughout the community.
“We are taking our lead from many JCFS and JVS organizations across the country that have successfully joined together to leverage their resources and create more fully integrated services,” said Howard Sitron, President and CEO of JCFS, and now also serving as Executive Director to JVS Chicago. “Our collective goal remains the same - to best provide our community with the help and support they need,” said Sitron. JCFS and JVS Chicago will remain separate, independent 501(c) 3 organizations, with JCFS providing management and support services to JVS.
Combining jobs training and therapeutic support to improve an individual’s overall quality of life is not new for the organizations. Susan Wagman, a JVS Work Development Coordinator at JCFS Therapeutic Day School (TDS), works with students with special needs to provide job skills training and opportunities for internships and hands-on work experiences for TDS high school students, in a program that began in September of 2011. “I meet with students weekly to teach them how to look for a job, how to interview, to follow up…everything needed to support them in getting and keeping a job,” said Wagman. TDS serves students with emotional, behavioral and cognitive challenges, encouraging their academic, interpersonal and vocational success. Job training during the school day helps prepare students with life skills needed as they transition to the next stage of their lives.
One of the first projects under the new alliance is to integrate JVS Chicago with JCFS’s one-stop, toll-free phone system, that provides callers access to help via one convenient number: 855-ASK-JCFS (855-275-5237). A new JVS Chicago employment and career services number will be launched before the end of the year. “People call when they need help. They often don’t know of the full array of programs and resources available in the Jewish community and beyond. With the Access program, Master’s level clinicians, and now vocational counselors, talk to callers and identify core issues, and then connect them to the right mix of services and programs across our organization or beyond,” said Sitron. Over the past year Access clinicians at JCFS responded to more than 3,900 callers.
Collectively, JCFS and JVS touch the lives of over 34,000 people each year. They have made a significant mark on the Chicagoland area and look forward to helping many more people as they embark on this new effort together. For information, visit jcfs.org, or JVSChicago.org.