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More Than 100 Learned How to Get the Homeless Back to Work

Saffron Strand’s Sixth Annual Homeless Workforce – “Moving Beyond Barriers and Back to Work” — took place June 15-16 at the Richmond Memorial Auditorium in Richmond, CA.

This continuing education and professional training provided new knowledge and skill to help the homeless and those at risk to re-enter the workforce and renew their lives in the community. Professionals and others working with the vulnerable populations learned to help them keep a job until they no longer need assistance from public programs or private charities.

For details on career-enhancing education and training through this unique Conference, click here or download the complete 2015 Conference Program here.

This Conference brought the best experts — from California, New York, Massachusetts, Tennessee, and other states – to provide specialized employment services training for professionals and others who work with vulnerable populations. They provided unique continuing education in the fields of employment, health care, and housing services for everyone who works with vulnerable people trying to re-enter the workforce.

Nationally-recognized authorities explored innovative solutions that challenge the status quo of conventional, entrenched programs.

Monday plenary focused on fixing policy and programming. Topics and speakers included:

  • “The Path Out of Homelessness Is More Than Housing” — Ralph da Costa Nunez, PhD (President and CEO, Institute for Children, Poverty, and Homelessness and Homes for the Homeless, New York, NY)
  • Racism and Homelessness: “Nothing Can Be Changed Until It Is Faced” — Jeff Olivet (CEO, Center for Social Innovation, Needham, MA)
  • “Current Topics in Health Care for Individuals Experiencing Homelessness” — Nicholas Apostoleris, PhD (Interim Division Chief, University of Massachusetts Family Medicine; Clinic Director, HealthAlliance Fitchburg Family Practice, Fitchburg, MA; and, President, National Health Care for the Homeless Council, Nashville, TN)
  • “Higher Education for High-Barrier Students” — Mojdeh Mehdizadeh, MA (Interim President, Contra Costa College, San Pablo, CA)

Conference participants also enjoyed the “Evening of Diversity” reception with food, music, and dance. Featured live performers included harpist Diana Rowan (www.dianarowan.com) and the Saffron Strand All-Star Band with vocalist Willie G — veteran of soul, R&B, blues, jazz, and gospel (www.willieg.com) — and Bobby “Bluezslinger” Young on guitar, Victor Puebla on drums, Gig Anderson on keyboards, and J.B. Middleton on trumpet.

For the complete Evening of Diversity program, click here.

Tuesday plenary focused on at risk youth. Topics and speakers included:

  • “Appreciate the Impact of Your Work — Look at the Rest of the Iceberg!’ — Larry Robbin (Executive Director, Robbin and Associates, Oakland, CA)
  • “Strengthening Services to At-Risk Youth” — Nick Loret de Mola (Legislative Analyst and Program Manager, California Workforce Association, Sacramento, CA)
  • “Social Advocates for Youth: Being There for Youth When They Need It Most” — Matt Martin (Executive Director, Social Advocates for Youth, Santa Rosa, CA)
  • “Moving Youth Beyond Transitional Employment onto a Career Track” — Anne Wunderli (Vice President for Operations, Pine Street Inn, Boston, MA)

Also, the Conference featured more than a dozen workshops led by professionals in the field. They provided in-depth training in fields ranging from motivational interviewing and trauma-informed care to at-risk youth guidance counseling and human trafficking.

The homeless today – and all who are hard-to-employ or long-term unemployed — need job skills and work-related social skills to match employers’ needs in a dynamic, technologically sophisticated job market.

This Homeless Workforce Conference zeroed in on the first step — helping the most vulnerable workers move beyond the barriers and get back to work.

Saffron Strand’s Homeless Workforce Conferences are the only professional training and public education forum dedicated to getting the homeless and those at risk of homelessness back to work for the long term.

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