Creative Solutions to Complex Problems


The Work First FellowS Identify Resources that help clients Defy the odds

Habitat for Humanity ReStore Internship Program 

Lack of diverse or recent experience presents major obstacles for unemployed adults seeking employment, so two Fellows looked to help Public Assistance Recipients (PAR) find internships. They found the low-pay and limited-hours decreased their benefit access beyond a worth while level. The fellows promoted internships that provided alternate payment subsidies for PAR's to gain necessary experience without hurting their ability to support their families. The Work First Foundation partnered with America Works of New York to connect PAR's with beneficial customer service experience with the nationally recognized non-profit Habitat for Humanity ReStore. 

Check out this article on these fellows other project connecting PAR's to employment in the food industry!

Computer Literacy Training 

Fellows investigated the computer literacy level of adults out of work. The numbers were staggering. Not only are many out of work adults unfamiliar with the most important computer functions, but their anxiety discourages them to try to improve their skills. Many adults that live in poor communities do not have internet access at home, and for those who do, most prefer their smartphones.


Related to employment our Fellows question America Works job developers about how important computer capabilities are when placing clients in jobs. The job developers recognized that computer skills frequently appear on job orders and that many clients are then under qualified. Our fellows created a computer literacy training course and connected students with Microsoft training programs.

The fellows created a computer literacy blog for students to reference and practice when they are home.

College Connections

Fellows identified that some adults on public assistance are eager to get a secondary education degree. Fellows identified the financial and practical obstacles faced by the welfare recipients at America Works. They recommended methods that assist clients in affording college and managing time after getting back to work. 

English as a Second Language

Fellows studied the many languages spoken by New Yorkers and how these languages affect employment. They found clients who speak dozens of different languages and created a curriculum to address their needs. Students, regardless of language of origin, see improvements after the beginner and advanced level courses.  

 Green is the Pre-Test Scores and white is the Post test scores for beginner level ESL students.

Green is the Pre-Test Scores and white is the Post test scores for beginner level ESL students.