CASA is a nonprofit organization founded in 1985 in Takoma Park, Maryland as a grassroots response to the human services needs of Latino immigrants. Today, CASA is a regional multi-service organization with offices in York and Lancaster, working to improve the quality of life for working class and immigrant communities. Of the many services provided by CASA, the three main programs address legal, financial, and citizenship services, along with workforce development and community organizing training sessions.
CASA’s unique services are set apart from others in the field due to their position as a multicultural, minority-led organization which employs individuals from over 30 countries – reflecting the diversity in the community they serve. CASA is recognized as an expert in the field of working with low-income Limited English Proficiency (LEP) persons, with particular expertise with Latino and African immigrant families.
In 2020, CASA was awarded a $126,000 grant from YCCF’s Fund for York County to expand its workforce development program to help address the workforce needs of the Latino and immigrant community in York. A program coordinator was been hired and trained and is building relationships with employers and community members to facilitate job placements, as well as with partners to provide training opportunities for workers.
“Thanks to the support of YCCF, our workforce development program expansion is progressing well. Although it took a bit longer than anticipated to hire our new Workforce Development Coordinator, the program quickly took off once we hired Monica Luna in December 2020.”
A recent success story shows the positive impact their work is having in our community. With CASA’s help, one local resident was able to obtain her citizenship and was hired full-time at a warehouse. But when the pandemic hit, her hours were cut and she needed to find more work. Soon after, she learned about a job opening at White Rose Credit Union (WRCU) through CASA’s facebook page. In her home county of Peru, she holds a college degree and ran a successful business with her father, but in the U.S., she was only offered work in warehouses. CASA’s Workforce Development Coordinator supported her by assisting her in writing a resume, preparing her for the interview, and providing interpretation services during the interview process. Thankfully, she was hired for the job and is continuing to develop her leadership skills. By continuing to build relationships with employers in our area, CASA is able to connect community members to employment opportunities.
In CASA’s post grant report, we were pleased to learn of the following accomplishments since the launch of its Workforce Development Program in 2020:
• Partnerships – CASA knows from experience operating workforce development programs in Maryland that relationship-building with employers and training partners is critical for connecting Latino and immigrant workers to job opportunities. So far, CASA has worked with more than two dozen employers in banking, warehousing/distribution, construction, and housekeeping. Thanks to these relationships CASA has posted 33 openings and helped nine community members get new well-paying jobs. They also partnered with Kutztown University’s Latino Resource Business Center (LRSC) to enroll 10 people in Spanish-language classes on starting a small business, and with Central Penn College to establish an internship program. They currently have two interns supporting their program by creating social media content and assisting workers in writing resumes.
• Surveying – CASA developed a survey to assess the needs and interests of community members. Collecting 68 responses that showed 58% reported being unemployed, 68% reported that they are looking for full-time employment, and 38% reported speaking a basic level of English.
• Social media – Amid the pandemic, digital outreach is increasingly important. CASA created a Facebook page dedicated to connecting community members with jobs and made the survey and interest form available online.
YCCF is proud to support the work of grassroots organizations that strive to make York County a place where everyone has the opportunity to thrive.