2020 in Review
As we reflect on 2020, we can all agree it was a different and unpredictable time. Despite a global pandemic at our feet, employU was able to remain open in a safe manner for customers. We quickly adapted our method for delivering services by turning classes and coaching into virtual sessions, offering continuity to customers who were committed to their path to employment.
Our virtual services program allows clients to continue to receive services safely from the comfort of their own home. It also provides a great option for clients who may have difficulty finding reliable and consistent transportation option to attend in-person services. To ensure all clients are able to easily navigate our services in the virtual format, employU also provides a step-by-step training on the platform beforehand. This is to help clients feel comfortable using our virtual tools on the first day of their service. In 2020, 786 clients partook in our virtual services. Virtual Career Camps proved to be a popular option with a total of 412 students participating and countless guest speakers video conferencing in to provide insight and firsthand experience on different career options and industries. Another 195 clients completed the Adult Pre-Employment Training class, while 174 attended the youth class.
Later in the year, with new health and safety policies in place, our in-person services resumed. A total of 5,931 referrals were received in 2020. This is 92% of the referrals seen in 2019. Given the circumstances of the year, employU is proud to have been able to assist so many in our community during such a critical time. Out of those total referrals, 698 were for Vocational Evaluations, 2,579 were for our Transition Youth Program, and 2,478 were for our adult services.
The continuation of in-person services also meant our on-the-job trainings and permanent hire placements could resume. To meet the demand, employU staff was able to sign on 201 new business partners to make a total of 347 active business partners in 2020. The addition of these business partnerships allowed for the placement of 830 youth on-the-job trainings, 325 adult on-the-job trainings, and 604 permanent hire placements. These trainings and placements allowed us to meet the workplace needs of both our clients and our business partners, a solution that assists both employers and jobseekers at the same time.
Additionally, our in-person services expanded to Key Largo, South Dade County – Homestead/Cutler Bay, Boca Raton, and St. Petersburg-Tampa-Brandon areas. With these expansions, we aim to not only assist more clients, but also contribute to assisting the economy by giving businesses and employers the tools needed to train and fill employment needs with the right candidates. Virtual services are offered statewide and have also expanded to other states, with VR customers in Mississippi participating in our virtual Career Camps. We are working on ways to make these virtual services available to VR customers nationwide and assist areas all over the country that may be affected by gaps in services provided.
Though 2020 was the year of the unexpected, employU continued to work to serve our clients, business partners, and community. With 2021 ahead of us, we will keep pursuing ways to expand our service area, meet the needs of clients, business partners, and the community, and help create a successful, sustainable pathway for everyone involved.