Work Activities : Local Investment Commission

Program/Practice Name: Local Investment Commission (LINC)

Agency Name: Local Investment Commission

Contact Information:

Tom Jakopchek
LINCWorks Director
3100 Broadway, Suite 1114
Kansas City, MO 64111
Phone: (816) 303-0660
tjakopchek@lincworks.org
www.lincworks.org

Type of Program/Practice: LINC partners with local citizens to identify and act upon community challenges and strengths in the support of initiatives on employment, aging, safe neighborhoods, childhood development, education, health and other critical human services that lead to self-sufficiency for low-income families.

Program/Practice Description: Through its "community partnership" approach, LINC brings together state agencies, local human services organizations, citizen leaders, and program participants to continually evaluate and modify the local welfare-to-work system. LINC uses this community knowledge to create a system that is participant-driven, non duplicative, and focused on moving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) participants to full-time, unsubsidized employment.

The LINCWorks initiative provides TANF participants with help on the path from welfare to skills and work. Services provided by LINCWorks include placement in countable work activities, ongoing case management, assistance with transportation and work-related expenses, and referral to partner organizations for job training, employment placement, child care, warrant relief, trauma counseling and education assistance.

LINCWorks refers clients to services offered at more than 60 LINC Caring Communities sites. Through the Caring Communities initiative, LINC places a site coordinator at a school or neighborhood site to work with parents, neighbors, and school staff to develop services in support of children, parents, and neighborhoods. Services range from afterschool programs to emergency assistance to financial literacy and more. Specific services vary from site to site and are based on needs as determined by citizen-led site councils. Because LINC Caring Communities sites are located primarily at schools in low-income neighborhoods, and because LINCWorks clients often have children who attend those schools, there is a significant population overlap between the two initiatives. LINCWorks case managers and LINC Caring Communities site coordinators can work together to ensure TANF participants are able to access the full array of services on offer.

LINC improves LINCWorks clients' access to and quality of child care through two early childhood education initiatives. The LINC Educare initiative provides childcare provider training on child development, safety, first aid, business development and other topics. The LINC Subsidy Services initiative provides registered child care providers with payment agreements, payment processing, and technical assistance.

Background/Program History: LINC began operation in 1992 at the instigation of the Missouri Department of Social Services.

Innovations and Results: In all areas of its work, including welfare to work, LINC engages the community at a deep and genuine level. LINC has found that often the most effective and insightful strategies for moving adults from welfare to work come from individuals and families in the community. LINC's work is guided by a knowledgeable board of volunteers, and the LINCWorks initiative is guided by a committee of equally knowledgeable and committed volunteers.

The support of these volunteers, together with the support and insight of families at the LINC Caring Communities sites, employers, local institutions, and partner agencies, allows LINC to respond to opportunities as they arise and to connect participants with very specific employment support, both short- and long-term.

LINC also enjoys longstanding relationships with the Missouri Department of Social Services Family Support Division and the Full Employment Council, with whom it has partnered in local welfare-to-work efforts since 1992. These long-established partnerships allow for strong communication and a flexible approach to addressing problems as they arise.

Results for the LINCWorks participants include reduced barriers to employment and increased work experience leading to placement in paid employment and self-sufficiency.

Operations: Collecting, converting, and disseminating data to the community drives much of LINC's' work. LINC develops data systems to monitor performance and progress, case manager efficiency, and outcomes of participants and the organization. Ensuring information is useful and easy to comprehend, and holding individuals accountable for the work they do, are critical components of LINC's operations.

Partners in the LINCWorks initiative include the Missouri Department of Social Services Family Support Division, Full Employment Council, Bishop Sullivan Center, Metropolitan Organization to Counter Sexual Assault, Legal Aid of Western Missouri, Metropolitan Community Colleges, and more than 60 LINC Caring Communities sites.

Tips to Implementation: For organizations that are considering establishing similar programs, LINC suggests implementing the following strategies: (1) work in partnership with local constituents to find out exactly how local challenges and strengths are affecting self-sufficiency efforts for low-income families; (2) community meetings need to involve key individuals with the power to enact immediate decisions; (3) do not be afraid to experiment, but be quick to change direction if strategies are not working; and (4) approach clients with a strengths-based management perspective; clients respond best to positive reinforcement that recognizes their achievements and builds on current strengths.

Keys to Success: In its 20-year history, LINC has discovered numerous best practices and overcome many challenges in delivering human services as a citizen-directed organization:

  • Paramount to all its work is establishing close partnerships with local stakeholders. Partnering with community members who are caring, engaged, and motivated has led to program results that are more effective and sustainable.

  • The key to successful job retention is case management that continues after job placement; achieving job retention requires closely supporting clients even after employment has occurred.

  • LINC has benefited greatly from leadership that has allowed staff to be flexible and creative in designing training and implementing programs.

  • Having staff who remain energized and passionate about their work.

The following tools are associated with Local Investment Commission.  Please send us an email at upitoolkit@icfi.com for more information about these tools.

Local Investment Commission Welfare-to-Work Orientation

This employer training manual includes an overview of welfare reform as it relates to issues of employment, covering tax incentives, training development funds, support systems, and retention strategies.