Southwest Transitional Employment Program (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 need 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.

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.

Did you know?

STEP participants have seen their average monthly household income increase from $784 month to $2,427 per month – an increase of 274%!

For more information

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

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