Job Search and Placement : San Diego Job Club

Program/Practice Name: San Diego Job Club

Type of Program/Practice: An employment services practice geared toward helping Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipients gain work skills and obtain gainful employment.

Contact Information: 
HHSA Employment Services Oceanside
1310 Union Plaza Ct., Ste. 200
Oceanside, CA 92054
Phone: (760) 696-9600

Program/Practice Description: Job Clubs exist throughout the State of California, and the San Diego implementation represents a clear example of this positive approach to employment services. The Job Club serves active TANF (CalWorks) recipients who also may participate in school, training, mental health services, or substance abuse programs but are not exempt from work requirements. Most of the clients served are single parents of mixed ethnicity, often with minimal education and about 25 percent with criminal records. Over a four-week period, the Job Club provides assessment, job skills training, and assisted job search in a positive and empowering environment.

Innovations and Results: The San Diego Job Club offers services similar to most employment services programs, as it consists of a week of job skills training followed by three weeks of monitored job search. In the job skills training, participants work on applications, resumes, interviewing skills, and topics associated with self-esteem. However, this Job Club includes noteworthy innovation at the tactical level, integrating a comprehensive interview process (complete with a well decorated office with a video camera), bilingual services, and ongoing job fairs and employer panels. The program motivates clients to work by detailing how, by taking advantage of work supports, clients can considerably improve their net income. In addition, the service center uses a colorful Wall of Stars in which they post the names, job types, and wages obtained by all successful Job Club graduates. Staff further recognize client successes by ringing a bell, and presenting graduation certificates, prizes, and information on work supports. Through these motivators, the San Diego Job Club places 50 to 70 percent of clients in work, and these numbers are increasing.

Tips to Implementation: Job Club staff suggest that other agencies looking to adopt some of these practices consider the following. First, they suggest that agencies consider their software and computer systems. California's implementation of the CalWin program assisted with Job Club functions by reducing the time spent on data entry, thus increasing face-to-face time with customers. Second, the Job Club recommends that agencies get to know and understand their clients thoroughly, and make sure employers also understand the clients with whom they will work. This can most easily be accomplished through meetings with employers and employer events. Additionally, agencies must maintain flexibility and be willing to adapt to client needs.

Keys to Success: The San Diego Job Club highlights several factors as keys to its success:

  • With initial evaluation and re-assessment the Job Club thoroughly assesses clients to identify and resolve barriers to employment.
  • Through supportive services the CalWorks program offers significant supports and incentives to TANF customers who successfully engage in and complete their program. In addition to continuous child care while their TANF cases are open, successful clients receive child care for two years after obtaining work. They also can receive non-Calworks/Health and Human Services Agency funded child care assistance at the conclusion of those two years. As an added incentive, through separate CalWorks funding, clients can receive $50 for obtaining a job and $200 for retaining the job for 90 days.
  • The San Diego Job Club ultimately attributes its success to the climate created by program staff. Job Club offers a supportive environment in which clients can bond and receive personal attention from program staff.
  • Although the agency lost its funding for this program, retirees serving as senior mentors would meet with clients individually, and sometimes even made house calls to provide support to struggling families.

The following tools are associated with San Diego Job Club.  Please send us an email at upitoolkit@icfi.com for more information about these tools.

CalWorks Employment Services Employment Information

Job Club Employment Package

CalWorks Employment Services & Your Business: A Relationship Working for You

Employer Panel Information

Job Club Schedule

"It Really Does Pay to Work" Income Formula

Job Search Tracking Forms