Pictured L-R; Terri Johnson and Katie Geise
Katie Geise had the honor of introducing today's speaker; Terri Johnson. Terri oversees The Resource Center's SAFER Program, and also co-chairs the Toys for Tots campaign locally.
Thanks to a grant from the Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative (ESPRI) and management by the United Way, a task force was originally formed to begin the process of creating the SAFER Program. Requests for Proposals were sent out with many of them focused on education. 
According to release on the Resource Center's website, SAFER is intended to support people living in ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) households to maintain successful employment. The main goals are to assist employees and connect them to the services they need; this, in turn, will help increase retention and the overall success of the businesses involved.
The SAFER program focuses on two key drivers; support for employees and support for employers. 
Again according to the Resource Center website, another primary goal of SAFER is to educate business owners about the challenges experienced by their employees living in poverty. 
Terri said that the support for employees includes education on key issues, effective interventions to engage the workforce, and Emergency Assistance Funds to assist in allowing employees to be able to continue to come to work.
So what's in it for the business? Terri said it's free! It also provides additional training for employees on how to assist their work force, assist in understanding their turnover and costs, and develop a plan for retention. There is a lot of support for employees including housing, childcare, transportation, help with legal concerns, and more.
Seven businesses have signed up so far, and 45 people are being assisted. The businesses that currently are participating in SAFER are Artone, Fancher Chair, Heritage Ministries, I-86 Truck Repair, Lake View Cemetery Association, Lutheran Jamestown, and UPMC Chautauqua. Through the SAFER program The Resource Center also is collaborating with other organizations that received ESPRI grants, including the Mental Health Association and the YWCA of Jamestown.
Employment facilitation includes staff on site at least weekly for employer and employee support, on-call support, monthly trainings, Emergency Assistance Funding, success coaches who complete and assessment and develops a plan for each person and establishes goals. They also help employees navigate the system. 
In conclusion, Terri is hoping to offer the SAFER program past the end of the grant period. We thanked Terri for a great presentation and wished her the best.