The NHEP Employment Counselor Specialist (ECS) delivers employment counseling, training, barrier resolution, job market education and preparation, and support services to a diverse TANF population participating in the New Hampshire Employment Program (NHEP), a collaboration between Southern NH Services and the Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS).
Works under the direct supervision of the Local NHEP Field Support Manager assigned to their DHHS District Office as well as supervision from the SNHS NHEP Field Support Manager assigned to oversee SNHS contract staff performance statewide.
PREFERRED: Bachelor's degree from an approved college or university with a major study in social work, psychology, education, human services, sociology, counseling, behavioral science or a related field. One (1) year of experience as an ECS Trainee or three years in social work, counseling, family services, education, staff training, employee development, employment counseling, recruitment, or human resources.
OPTIONAL CONSIDERATION: Associate's degree from an approved college or university with a major study in social work, psychology, education, human services, sociology, counseling, behavioral science or a related field. Three (3) years at or above the level of Social Worker or Employment Counselor or five (5) years in social work, counseling, family services, education, staff training, employee development, employment counseling, recruitment, or human resources or a combination of education and experience that demonstrates an ability to fulfill the duties of an ECS.
LICENSE: Possession of a valid New Hampshire driver's license and/or have access to transportation for statewide travel. Willingness to travel to/from DHHS District Offices for coverage assignments as required.
ADDITIONAL SKILLS, KNOWLEDGE & ABILITIES: Ability to work as a team with co-workers. Ability to learn & apply TANF and NHEP procedures, rules and regulations in appropriate circumstances. Ability to assess personal characteristics, physical capacities, education, work background, abilities and interests of participants. Knowledge of the principles and methods of assessment and counseling. Knowledge of psychological and environmental problems arising in connection with case work. Knowledge of the educational and social service agencies available in the geographic area. Knowledge of local demand occupations and key industries in the area. Ability to communicate effectively, both verbally and in writing. Ability to develop and maintain effective working relationships with low-income participants, employers, public and private community agency staff, co-workers, and the general public. Knowledge of basic computer programs such as e-mail and word-processing.
- Delivers group and one-on-one employment counseling to NHEP participants and conducts presentations at orientation sessions to inform NHEP participants of program benefits and responsibilities;
- Provides NHEP services with a high degree of respect for participants, sensitivity to their circumstances, and in a manner that builds self-esteem and motivation.
- Maintains the confidentiality of clients and staff in accordance with NHEP and SNHS policy and procedure.
- Exercises reasonable judgment and appropriately applies NHEP policies and procedures to maximize services to participants.
- Achieves a minimum TANF Work Participation Rate of 50% at the end of each month, though 55% is the expected performance goal.
- Interviews, assesses, and evaluates individual aptitudes, interests, abilities, work experiences, education, personality characteristics, and degrees of physical, social, or emotional limitations of NHEP participants to identify individual service needs, strengths, and barriers.
- Develops and implements an Employability Plan for each NHEP participant and provides subsequent counseling (up to 60 months) to resolve employment barriers and stabilize family functioning.
- Applies policies and procedures on the NHEP program as outlined in the Precision Case Management - Field Worker’s Guide, training guides, policy releases, DFA Family Assistance Manual and clarifying memos;
- Authorizes and monitors expenditures of funds for appropriate training and support services that support the employability plan.
- Develops and maintains relationships with employers, service providers, educational institutions and community organizations to coordinate services to clients, develop employment opportunities, maximize available resources and promote community understanding.
- Visits Combined Service Program(s) (CSP), commonly referred to as the Workplace Success Program, in NHEP Team service area on a regular basis (no less than monthly) to meet with participants, case conference with CSP staff, discuss next steps for participants and amend Employment Plans, and familiarize themselves with CSP processes and operations. Note: As another NHEP-funded Community Action Program (CAP) operation, the SNHS ECS has a special responsibility to support and promote the local Workplace Success Program Career Center in their service area through regular client referrals and collaborative problem-solving.
- Maintains close communication and coordination of case management with NHEP contractor staff. Responds to Workplace Success and DFA staff e-mails and phone messages on the same business day, but no later than within 24 hours of receiving such communications.
- Works with participants to resolve work and program participation issues. Determines individual compliance with NHEP program requirements and, if warranted, imposes sanctions resulting in the reduction of TANF benefits.
- Documents and maintains timely, accurate case notes and individual case records using New Heights and/or other automated case management system to track individual progress and comply with state and federal regulations and policies.
- Works collaboratively with other team members in the delivery of employment, training, barrier resolution, education, job preparation and support services while supporting the goals, objectives and team concept of NHEP.
- Functions as the Job Training & Career Specialist on the NHEP team and develops detailed knowledge of local labor market information, occupational demand, and appropriate training providers, and education programs in the Team’s local market area.
- Serves as the primary link & facilitator between the local NHEP Team and the local Community Action Program (CAP) staff in the service area.
- Is knowledgeable about eligibility requirements for other SNHS or Community Action Agency workforce development programs such as the Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act (WIOA) Program as well as other key SNHS and local CAP programs including Fuel Assistance, Head Start, and WIC. Responsible for completing required program referral and application materials (e.g., Good News Garage), conducting and/or assisting in needs assessment, cooperating in the WIOA or NHEP Employment Plan process, and completing all other related program processes and paperwork
- Responsible for having adequate knowledge of all SNHS programs and will gather sufficient intake information to make referrals to other SNHS programs which are beneficial to the client and his/her family.
- Gains knowledge about local CAP programs and services in the area such as Head Start, WIC, and Fuel/Energy Assistance and facilitate the cross-training of NHEP Team members regarding CAP program eligibility requirements and processing for funding.
- Responsible for meeting all SNHS performance and customer satisfaction standards as they relate to the NHEP customers.
- Attends statewide meetings and staff training sessions as requested by the Division of Family Assistance (DFA).
- Abides with all SNHS & DHHS Safety policies and procedures.
- Presents a professional and positive image as a representative of SNHS at all times.
- Performs all other duties as required by appropriate DHHS and SNHS supervisors.
Southern New Hampshire Services is an Equal Opportunity Employer