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For Participants

     & Job Seekers



Community Works Project (CWP) empowers diverse families on TANF to obtain and maintain meaningful work that sustains their families, through an individualized approach that includes coaching, skill building, employment barriers removal and employer connections.

CWP only serves TANF recipients referred by their DHS Family Coach. 

List of Services Offered

Individualized Support to Complete Steps in the Employment and Vocational Training Track

CWP Employment & Engagement Specialists meet one-on-one with participants to collaboratively set goals and objectives, and then help participants meet those goals and objectives with hands-on assistance and coaching. We offer a variety of exciting and helpful classes taught by professional instructors, options for individualized growth in our Career Centers, and weekly individualized support, including mock interviews, based on the “step” agreed upon with the DHS Family Coaches. Click here to see what we offer specifically for your step: Program Steps

We also work with participants to remove barriers to employment by connecting them to our consortium services and other community resources. We continue to engage with participants who have been placed in jobs for up to 90 days. 

Career Centers

CWP participants are welcome to use our Career Center which includes internet access, printing, language learning software, and typing software. The Career Centers can be used for job searches, working on your resumes and cover letters and other job search related activities. Click here to see what we offer specifically for your step: Program Steps

Life and Work-Focused Classes and Workshops

CWP’s professional instructors support participants on their personal growth journey through classes in life skills, career mapping, resume writing and interviewing skills, GED preparation, and English as a Second Language learning. We offer different classes every day and listen to participants’ needs to develop new classes. All classes are interactive and draw on the real-life experiences of instructors and participants. Talk to your Employment & Engagement Specialist about what classes you can attend. Click here to see what we offer specifically for your step: Program Steps

CWP also proctors Oregon’s National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) exam, which is recognized by a growing number of employers in Oregon and across the country, as a proof of workplace readiness. The NCRC is a portable certificate delivered based on the assessment of three foundational workplace skills, measuring what applicants can do rather than what they know: applied mathematics, reading for information and locating information. 

Check out this month's class schedules! 

Overcoming Background Barriers

CWP supports participants who have background barriers such as criminal convictions to prepare for employment. This includes individual sessions to review criminal history and draft a disclosure letter, and referrals to service providers who may help with expungements and other barrier removal services. Talk to your Employment & Engagement Specialist about background barriers you may have. 

We also work with participants to remove barriers to employment by connecting them to our consortium services and other community resources.

Supporting Wellness 

CWP supports participants who have medical or behavioral health issues that prevent them from participating in the employment or vocational training track. Our support consists of an initial assessment, developing a care plan in coordination with participants’ health providers and working with participants through completing the care plan. We can accompany participants to their healthcare appointments and act as their advocate, helping with communication with the healthcare providers, if desired.

We only work with CWP participants who have signed a release of information that enables us to review their health files and talk to their health providers.  We also work with participants to remove other barriers to employment by connecting them to our consortium services and other community resources.

Culturally Specific Career Development Pilot 

CWP runs a pilot project that uses culturally responsive, community-based and collaborative approach to help participants build practical work and personal foundation and coaching through to employment and self-sufficiency. This is a unique project that brings together cohorts of participants for one-year engagements in life skills classes, workshops, coaching and career exploration activities, on a weekly basis. We also work with participants to remove barriers to employment by connecting them to our consortium services and other community resources. Our pilot project serves one African American cohort and one Native American cohort between July 2019 and June 2020. 

Support with Other Barriers to Employment

CWP connects participants who have barriers to employment with a large range of relevant resources to get their needs met. Services are offered by the agencies in the CWP consortium and by other community resources. CWP Engagement & Employment Specialists are able to provide basic information about the services offered and connect participants to the service providers for follow up. 

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What to expect when you are referred to CWP for services

Welcome to the Community Works Project (CWP)! 

Our team at CWP bring diverse experience and cultural competency from six nonprofit agencies in Portland. Our friendly and experienced Employment and Engagement Specialists and the broader CWP team look forward to meeting you. We welcome everyone at CWP. Our purpose is to help you choose a path that works best for you, to reach your own goals!

You and your Family Coach at the Department of Human Services (DHS) have decided to refer you to CWP and here is what you can expect on your first visit. 

1) Your DHS Family Coach let us know to welcome you on the date and time you agreed to come in for orientation. If you received a Personal Development Plan (PDP) in the mail, please bring the letter with you when you come in for your first appointment. 

2) Once you come in to our Career Center (locations) you will be asked to check in. 


At our East County Family Services location, you will be asked to wait for a thirty minute orientation and complete a paper registration form. The orientation will go over the Community Works Project and the overall services our team is able to offer you.

At our Southeast Portland location, you will be asked to complete the steps described here for orientation and registration. 

3) Once you have completed orientation and your registration form, you will be greeted by your assigned Employment and Engagement Specialist and a more in-depth conversation will follow.This conversation, which we call an intake, is where you and the Engagement and Employment Specialist will discuss what your plans are, what you feel is the biggest challenge for you to find a job or explore opportunities available. At the end of the intake, you will plan for next steps on an individual plan that works best for you. More information about our career center classes and different activities in each step is listed her: Program Steps.

4) You can decide the best schedule for your weekly activities, and you and your Employment and Engagement Specialist will stay connected and check in once a week to explore progress. 

5) You will have access to community resources, classes, vocational training opportunities, removing background barriers and disclosure letter writing help and a vast range of job readiness activities with a focus on designing a plan and schedule that fits in with your life!


We look forward to working with you!

Attend our daily Orientation at 9.30 am at DHS East County Family Service Center to find out more! Unable to attend? Watch our orientation video for a short overview of what to expect at CWP. 


What to Expect
Individualized Support
Services Offered
Career Centers
Classes & Workshops
Background Barriers
Supporting Wellness
Career Development Pilot
Support with other Barriers
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