How a United Way Grant is Boosting Financial Stability in Our Community


After finishing a one-year drug rehab program, a Chester County man needed a steady job.

By diligently working with a counselor at Chester County OIC’s Workforce Reintegration Program, he attended workshops, updated his resume, and sharpened his interview skills. In addition to landing a full-time position at a salvage yard, the man stayed sober and worked on getting his GED.

This is one example of how this program helps the unemployed, underemployed, single parents, veterans, and ex-offenders to overcome barriers in finding and maintaining self-sustaining employment. Last year, 68 individuals received assistance with their resume, interviewing, online job searching and networking. Each individual sets goals and works one-on-one with a counselor to help overcome barriers such as transportation, clothing, or a lack of vocational training.

For example, a single father with two children better understood his work experience, identified his additional skills and showcased them in a resume as a result of his one-on-one counseling sessions. After showing his updated resume to his current employer, the supervisor realized the father was qualified for additional responsibilities and gave him a promotion and a raise.

Even years after the recession officially ended, many households continue to struggle with the rising costs of health insurance, food, child care, and other basic expenses. In fact, nearly half of Americans would struggle to find $400 to pay for an emergency expense, according to the Federal Reserve Board.

For the coming year, United Way of Chester County is providing a grant that will allow Chester County OIC to hold job fairs specific to the skills of specific populations such as those who speak English as a second language. Funds were also used to support the program’s administrative functions and to continue the professional development of its staff members. This grant is part of United Way’s commitment to helping Chester County residents to improve their financial situation and move toward self-sufficiency and independence.

“Having a job doesn’t always guarantee a wage that will support a family,” says Joyce Chester, president and CEO for Chester County OIC. “United Way of Chester County is helping working families and individuals to connect with resources and get their feet on more stable ground. “