Adult Employment

General Overview of Adult Workforce Development

Common Wealth uses a person-centered and trauma informed approach to address the needs of individuals and families who face barriers to obtaining or maintaining employment. Our Workforce Development programming for adults employs a coordinated care model, where we collaborate with multiple partners to help participants with basic needs, such as housing support, food security, mental health and wellness, transportation, childcare needs, and access to health care. 

Our partners include:

  • 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)

After significant community engagement with Southwest Madison residents, we received a clear message: We need to do more and better work connecting local residents to tangible jobs. After working with our workforce development staff, a participant expressed, “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. [CWD] really wants to see people in the community improving their lives. Other programs seem designed to keep people in the system.” 

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 teeter on the precipice of homelessness.

  • STEP is designed to efficiently connect motivated neighbors to a short-term paid employment opportunity and individualized support.
  • 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 provides case management to each participant based on their own goals, experiences, and skills. This casework includes resume development, weekly tailored job leads, and connection to area employers that have partnered with our efforts.
  • Benefits of participating in this program include  the opportunity to earn money while working at a STEP placement, add more work history to address potential resume gaps,  utilize individualized connections to volunteer sites, and potentially gain a work reference based on the individual’s demonstrated performance.

Job Shop

Job Shop is a hub where community members can speak directly to a Common Wealth Employment specialist about the full spectrum of their concerns related to getting and maintaining a job. Employment specialists, volunteers, students, social service professionals, and neighborhood center staff collaborate with job seekers to address resume development, housing concerns, daycare acquisition, and more.

This voluntary service is an opportunity for face-to-face, one-on-one support for people trying to find work. The goal of all providers is to create a caring environment and offer ongoing support for individuals. Many people come to address immediate concerns and others show up weekly and connect with the additional programming available. 

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. 

Resume development is provided by the UW Writing Lab; weekly job leads are available; online application support is offered; and there is assistance with applying for public benefits and programs. Joining Forces for Families also offers additional support and resource referral on a wide range of issues that affect job seekers and their families. 

Common Wealth Staff are on hand every Wednesday to connect directly with individuals, volunteers, and other community stakeholders. 

Directions to Job Shop

Job Shop is held every Wednesday from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm at Meadowood Neighborhood Center, 5750 Raymond Rd, Madison, WI 53711..

For more information

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

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