Partnership in Self-Sufficiency


PI: Mary Beth Dunkenberger

About the Program:

Guided by Mary Beth Dunkenberger and Holly Lesko, VTIPG and five Local Departments of Social Services (LDSS) in the New River Valley, collectively known as the Partners for Self-Sufficiency (PSS), provides wrap around services to address Temporary Aid to Needy Families (TANF) clients’ employment barriers and service needs in an individualized manner. The existing partnership expands and engages the existing community networks of both employers and human service providers with an emphasis on intensive vocational case management through referral to Vocational Specialists in each of the five New River Valley jurisdictions.

The overarching goal of our regional employment placement, retention, and advancement model is to expedite preparation of Virginia Initiative for Employment Not Welfare (VIEW) participants for entry-level positions with employers who offer benefit packages, greater job security, and some potential for upgrading skills and to provide a strong focus on job retention. In addition to employment-based services, the PSS program focuses on other barriers clients face in life that influences job readiness and retention.  Specific research and programmatic efforts have been directed to assess needs and services in areas such as domestic violence, mental illness, disability assessments, and multi-generational poverty prevention efforts.

The services provided are 1) the integration of our intensive job readiness program, job development activities, and concentrated vocational case management activities; 2) continued development and refinement of community resources that facilitate employment of TANF recipients; 3) an SSI/SSDI application support service that helps local agencies better evaluate disabled TANF recipients and helps provide access to additional resources to assist them; and 4) focused job retention efforts coordinated with employers. The PSS program has been operating in the region for over ten years and has served over 5,000 clients across the region during that tenure.