Community Resilience and Recovery Initiative: Final Evaluation Report. Staffing Strategies

03/27/2014

Staffing of Lorain's PRIDE program remained fairly consistent throughout the duration of the grant. The executive director of the ADAS board retained a leadership position on PRIDE for the entire project. The project director was hired from out of state by the board and was given responsibility for the employment program (JOBS) and for developing the media strategy. She, too, remained with the project throughout its duration. Mental health, substance use, and other project services were delivered by employees of the partner agencies and reported to the leadership of their respective agencies. Thus, while the organization of service delivery remained with consistent community partners, the reporting structure for those delivering the services was highly decentralized. This created some challenges for the project, which will be discussed later in this report.

Project funding also had a positive impact on staffing within the partner agencies. For example, prior to CRRI, the Lorain County Public Health Department had had to lay off several nurses due to a lack of funds. Thanks to CRRI monies, several public health nurses were brought back from layoffs to provide screening, outreach, and follow-up services to PRIDE clients. The project also benefited from having experienced staff who were well acquainted with the local community and who were bilingual in English and Spanish. Having Spanish-speaking staff available for the duration of the project enhanced the program's ability to provide services to the local Hispanic populations.

An additional strategy used in Lorain to enhance project staffing was to use volunteers to implement some of the project activities. Volunteers were recruited from the community and assisted in a variety of operational functions of the program, including outreach, job support, and job skills development activities, as well as other administrative tasks. Some of the volunteers were former participants in the JOBS program, and were able to benefit from the volunteer work by using it as an "on-the-job training" experience for their resumes. Lorain also hired three masters-level interns to assist in the project implementation. The use of volunteers and interns was a creative and cost-effective way to augment implementation of several aspects of the PRIDE program.

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