Adult Employment

General Overview of Adult Workforce Development

Adult Workforce Development uses a person-centered and trauma informed approach to address the needs of individuals and families in our service in the Madison area. Our adult workforce development department works in collaboration with our partners to not only address basic needs such as employment, but we also provide assistance with housing support, food instability, mental health and wellness, transportation, childcare needs, and health care access.

The community based engaging, learning, and organizing paid off with a clear message from area residents: Neighbors implored us to do more and better work connecting local residents to tangible jobs: many saying “This is the first program that I’ve been in where I’ve been encouraged and didn’t feel that I’m getting stuck in the system—really wanting to see people in the community improving their lives. Other programs seem designed to keep people in the system”

Our partners we work with for Adult Workforce Development:

  • Meadowood Health Partnership
  • Community Agency Bridging the Gap
  • Early Childhood Initiative (ECI)
  • RISE Wisconsin
  • Children’s Wisconsin
  • Good Shepard Lutheran Church
  • Holy Wisdom Monastery
  • Joining Forces for Families
  • UW-Madison Writing Center
  • Meadowood Neighborhood Center
  • Meadowridge Madison Public Library


Southwest Transitional Employment Project (STEP)


STEP was imagined with this community message in mind.  With the help of area job-seekers, this collaborative program was engineered to maximize success with local families who desperately needed stable income, and who often teetered on the precipice of homelessness.

  • STEP is designed to efficiently connect motivated neighbors to a short-term paid employment experience, individualized support, and connections to SWP volunteers. Eligible participants are hired by Common Wealth Development and paid a living wage while working temporary STEP positions designed specifically with the participants employment goals in mind.
  • Simultaneously, Common Wealth Development’s Employment Continuum Coordinator provides case management to each participant based on their own goals, experiences, and skills they bring to the table. Part of this casework includes resume development, weekly tailored job leads, and connection to area employers that have partnered with our efforts.
  • Case management is augmented by individual volunteer efforts from Orchard Ridge United Church of Christ and others. These volunteer opportunities are uniquely tailored to STEP participants and their real experiences and needs.
  • Cumulatively, participants are afforded the opportunity to earn money while working at a STEP placement, add more work history for a resume, develop several references, utilize individualized connections to volunteers, and gain a work reference based on the individual’s demonstrated performance working a STEP placement through Common Wealth Development.
  • STEP was successfully piloted in 2014 through a grant from the City of Madison’s Emerging Opportunities Program paying for stipends. Additional support is provided by Madison Community Foundation and Dane County.

Job Shop & Directions


Job Shop is the central hub of SWP’s employment continuum.  Neighbors, volunteers, job seekers, students, social service professionals, and neighborhood center staff come together every week to meet area residents and work together.

  • Job Shop happens every Wednesday from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm and is located at the Meadowood Neighborhood Center. Any job seekers are welcome to attend and receive individualized support towards their employment goals. Additionally, resume development is provided by the UW Writing Lab, weekly job leads are available, online application support is offered, and assistance applying for public benefits and programs is on site. Joining Forces for Families attends and offers additional support and resource referral on a wide range of issues that affect job seekers and their families.
  • Our Employment Continuum Coordinator is on hand every Wednesday to connect directly with individuals, volunteers, and other community stakeholders.
  • Job Shop is a voluntary service center where social work professionals and committed volunteers offer face-to-face, one-to-one, hands on help for people trying to find work. It is a “front door” to a caring environment and to other help beyond the employment-seeking help offered immediately that morning. Many people come to take advantage of specific help and others choose to connect with us more deeply – and all of that is fine and up to them.

Directions to Job Shop

Job Shop is held every Wednesday from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm at Meadowood Neighborhood Center.

For more information

To learn more about the Southwest Partnership and adult workforce development, contact Marquis Sanders at (608) 516-5332.

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