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DHS News August 2011  

pdf.gif August 2011 DHS Newsletter

EARN offices partner with Cricket Wireless for jobs, phones

The Wilkinsburg and Pittsburgh EARN offices have recently made a new partnership with Cricket Wireless, further supporting the program’s efforts in helping Allegheny County residents reach self-sufficiency.

EARN, a program of the DHS Office of Community Services, is designed to help persons who are recipients of either TANF and/or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP/food stamps) get a job – or get a better job – so they can earn more than they receive from public assistance. People who are interested in participating in EARN – Employment, Advancement and Retention Network – must get a referral from their County Assistance Office (CAO) caseworker.

Earlier this year, Yvette Brown, administrator for Wilkinsburg EARN, contacted Cricket Wireless to explore the possibility of a partnership with the company.

“I wrote a letter to Cricket Wireless and let them know who we are, what we do and what our need was,” she said.

Now, EARN is partnered with Cricket Wireless, providing jobs in the cell phone company’s retail stores and also providing cell phones to select EARN participants.

“Cricket Wireless is using us as their primary source for filling open job positions in the retail stores in the area,” said Brown. “It’s a really great opportunity for our EARN participants.”

In addition to the assistance with providing employment to EARN participants, select participants are also receiving free cell phones with three months of free service.

“EARN participants are low income and many times can’t afford to have a cell phone,” said Brown. “The phones provided by Cricket Wireless will allow our participants to more effectively job search and eliminate the worry of missing important phone calls.”

It’s also hoped that the three months of free service will allow enough time for participants to find employment and be able to afford the monthly cell phone bill payment on their own.

Right now, the partnership with EARN is in its trial period, but it’s hoped that the partnership can become a more permanent element to the EARN program.

“Both EARN and Cricket Wireless would like this partnership to be long-term,” said Brown.

More information about EARN

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