The Successful Outcomes After Release Program (SOAR) is designed to provide gainful employment to former offenders that meet program guidelines while supplementing the city’s existing workforce in areas of critical need. The city will designate employment for up to six temporary positions for a period of six months. Program participants will initially be assigned to maintenance worker positions in Vegetation Management (VM) and the Code Enforcement Division of the Community and Business Development Department (C&BD). Program participants will be incorporated into existing work crews with supervision provided by existing staff and may be assigned to additional departments if participants exhibit specialized skills for which the city has a need or training opportunity. Based on participant performance, at the end of the initial six-month period, up to two participants will be recommended for advanced SOAR Program participation. For an additional six months, advanced participants will be provided additional life skills training via lectures, group discussions and activities such as goal setting; planning; interpersonal relationship skills; diversity; personal accountability; financial management; communication; GED and/or post-secondary education; job search techniques; self-presentation; and resume writing (in conjunction with the existing Youth Build or Section 3 Construction Training Programs).
Program participants will be encouraged to apply for full-time positions within the city at any time during their participation in the SOAR Program. The next class will be Spring/Summer 2017.
The Auxiliary Programs Coordinator (APC) in the C&BD will serve as the SOAR program coordinator and will manage daily program operations, including budget development and monitoring. In addition, the APC will:
Evaluate progress of the program, reassess needs and make recommendations for improvement when necessary.
- Maintain essential records and files and complete standard forms.
- Conduct assessment of applicant’s skills/abilities for purposes of potential placement.
- Recommend candidates for participation in advanced SOAR program.
- Prepare periodic progress reports to City Council and City Manager.
Referrals for program participants will be sought from local agencies that provide certified job skills training programs. Prospective participants who can demonstrate completion of a certified job skills training program will be eligible for participation in the program. Self-nominations from local former offenders who can demonstrate completion of a certified job skills training program within the last six months will also be considered. Program participants must be able to establish residency within Forsyth County.
Referred participants will meet the city's employment criteria in terms of required knowledge, skills and abilities for identified positions. Participants who demonstrate strong performance during their period of temporary employment with the city may be considered for full-time employment opportunities as they arise.
The SOAR applicants are required to submit a current resume, a cover letter and proof of graduation from a job skills/job readiness program. Applications will be vetted by the Human Resources Department to ensure that minimum eligibility is achieved. Once vetted, the APC will screen the applications to determine interviewees.
Following successful completion of the assessment, applicants will be scheduled for an interview. The interview is panel style, with the panel consisting of the APC in addition to other City of Winston-Salem employees who are familiar with the goals of SOAR. During the interview, applicants are given more information about the purpose of SOAR in addition to being questioned about their motivations for being in the program. The interview is designed to ascertain the applicant’s willingness and readiness to make the necessary positive changes to be successful both during their time in SOAR, but more importantly, beyond their time in SOAR.
Participants selected must pass the city's standard pre-employment screening including physical examination and substance abuse screening prior to being accepted. The City of Winston-Salem has a zero tolerance as it concerns drug usage. All applicants must successfully pass the drug screening with a negative test in order to be considered for employment. Failure to show up for scheduled drug screening during the allotted time or refusal to submit to the screening will disqualify an applicant from program enrollment.
Selected participants will register with the city’s temporary employment agency, Winston Personnel Group, and will be classified as temporary employees for the duration of their employment. Once participants are selected and have met all the necessary requirements, they will be scheduled to attend the city’s new employee orientation classes.
Participants will work a 32-hour week, reporting to work on the schedule of the participating department. In the event participants are called upon to work outside of normal hours, adjustments will be made to participant work schedules so that hours worked in a given week will not exceed 32 hours.\ As temporary employees, participants will be paid weekly at a rate of $10.25 per hour.
Inclement Weather/Emergency Closings
As a program of the City of Winston-Salem’s C&BD, SOAR participants will follow the city’s guidelines as it pertains to program closure due to inclement weather.
Once participants begin work in the field, staff will demonstrate safety techniques and will observe each student to ensure they demonstrate property safety. It is imperative that staff utilize the safety measures at all times and minimize the possibility of accidents. However, accidents may occur, if they do, staff should follow the protocol outlined in the City of Winston-Salem Employee Handbook (Section V-35). If the injury is a life-threating medical emergency, 911 must be called immediately, and staff must stay with the injured participants until assistance arrives. Any injury resulting from an accident while on the job, regardless of how minor it may seem, must be reported at once to the APC. Failure to report an accident or injury could result in disciplinary action.
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