Heartland Alliance is coordinating READI (Rapid Employment and Development Initiative) Chicago, a network of community-based organizations on Chicago’s West and South Side that will engage individuals at the highest risk of becoming victims or perpetrators of gun violence in an 18-month wage-subsidized transition job (TJ) and cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) program, followed by up to six months of follow-up case management and coaching support. The goals of READI Chicago are to: decrease shootings and homicides among those at the highest risk of gun violence; create new opportunities for those same individuals to change their life trajectory and decrease their involvement with the criminal justice system; and help build infrastructure.
The Outreach Worker works to gain trust of the community and the highest risk individuals to help prevent shootings and retaliatory violence, and to provide linkages and robust accompaniment to prosocial alternatives including activities, jobs, education, case management, and social services. As a member of a team, the Outreach Worker is responsible for reaching out to the highest risk individuals in the community and working with them to prevent violence by modeling prosocial behaviors, engaging them in positive activities, accompaniment through the case management process and connecting their participants to additional services that the organization and partners offer.
Outreach Workers will engage directly with identified and referred participants, who have experienced high levels of trauma, are likely to be victims or perpetrators of violence and more importantly, participants who have been identified by the University of Chicago Crime and Poverty Labs, Illinois Department of Corrections and Cook County Jail. Participants must be 18 and older.
The position requires an innate understanding and personal knowledge of the specific communities as it pertains to gang violence, territory and service providers. The candidate should have experience in working with and engaging “at risk” adolescents and young adults in structured leadership development activities.
Essential Duties and Responsibilities
Engage participants through street outreach and referrals from partner institutions including Cook County Jail, Illinois Department of Corrections and the Crime and Poverty Labs at University of Chicago or other approved organizations
Outreach to include frequent contact with participants, through home visits, street level engagement, relationship building activities, prison or jail visits
Identify participants who fit the criteria based on risk-assessment
Practice relentless outreach to ensure continued participation in the program
Establish constructive relationships and interacts daily with participants as a positive role model
Serve as a general advocate for individual participants as it pertains to legal system and such subsidiaries
Facilitate peace circles and utilize restorative practices for conflict management
Facilitate conversations that are participant-driven
Work hand in hand with the transitional job provider coach and crew chief to support participants’ success in READI Chicago
Provide mentoring and case management services (i.e. observation, home visits, case notes, case reviewing, prison visits) with TJ partner
Prepare and submit weekly and monthly reports per contract or as requested by supervisor
Enters program information into appropriate data tracking
Utilize a trauma informed approach and trauma informed practices to support participants
Attend weekly staff meetings, one on one supervision meetings, community meetings as instructed by supervisor
Document detailed client case notes and other items as assigned
Participate in all mandatory trainings and undertake any training and professional development as and when required to ensure effective work
Outreach to the community (individually and as a team member) to build strong relationships with youth, residents, businesses, and community groups
Work closely with referring partners and any other stakeholders to ensure that goals are met
Maintain positive relationships with stakeholders
Work with outreach colleagues and supervisor to identify potential participants who are the highest risk individuals, and the people who know them
Carry a caseload of 15 high-risk participants with the possibility that the number of participants will increase as they participants demonstrate less needs
Work as a member of a team, communicating all relevant information to team members and supervisors instantly
Ensure that information about potential participants is clearly identified and communicated to relevant staff and Outreach Manager
Develop and deliver one-to-one support sessions and facilitate circles with clients to support participants in resolving conflicts and adopting prosocial behaviors
Provide linkages and support for individuals to enhance their use of opportunities and programs in the community (job programs, GED, drug treatment, mentoring, etc.)
Provide participants’ court advocacy, social services, etc.
Core responsibilities also include: Meet with participant’s and family to assess needs, make proper referrals for advocacy, school enrollment, counseling, substance abuse services, employment, job training, etc.; develop a working relationship with community partners and government agencies; and participate in community development activities.
Please send resume and cover letter to Maurice Harris at email@example.com
High School Diploma/GED required
Bachelor’s degree preferred or significant experience working with high-risk, street-involved individuals
Excellent verbal communication skills, and ability to communicate effectively in writing
Has shown some initiative to get involved in their community
Has shown concrete steps in advancing their lives, in education, employment or recovery and wellbeing.
Experience or training in crisis intervention preferred
Experience working on a team
Can demonstrate empathy with clients
Can demonstrate effectiveness in engaging target population
Basic understanding of root causes of violence
Adhere to READI Chicago policies and procedures
Attend field related trainings which will include, but not limited to, peace circles, trauma informed care, Motivational interviewing, conflict mediation
Valid Illinois driver’s license, insurance, and good driving record
Participate in self-care sessions
No pending criminal cases
Firsthand knowledge of the community
Ability to work one-on-one and in groups with high-risk individuals to resolve conflicts and promote prosocial behaviors
Willingness to work on the street and in other unstructured situations
Willing to work late nights and on weekends
Familiarity with computers such that employee is able to complete required data entry; tasks, communicate via email, and complete basic word processing tasks as needed
Emotional maturity; good judgment; integrity; tolerance of differing points of view and beliefs; commitment to nonviolence
Willingness to work in collaboration with external partners
Work closely with READI Chicago Community Project Manager