Organization Information:

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Organization's Mission Statement

The Ascent Employment Program mission is to provide assistance to people in our community needing meaningful employment, especially those with troubled backgrounds. The goal of the program is to give job seekers a hand up and not just a hand-out, thus allowing them to become self sufficient. Ascent has been very successful in assisting job seekers as well as providing troubled backgrounds clients a safe, supportive, and hospital environment that allows our clients to focus on their job search.

Submission Information

Impact Essay

Ascent Employment Program Impact on the Community maximized with the help of Microsoft technologies and products Summary:

The Ascent Employment Program mission is to provide assistance to people in our community needing meaningful employment, especially those with troubled backgrounds. The goal of our 501c (3) program is to give job seekers a hand up and not just a hand-out thus allowing allow them to become self sufficient. During the past few years, with the assistance of Microsoft software and internet job searches, the Ascent Program has been able to assist over 2000 people a year with over 450 a year finding work. Ascent serves all backgrounds and income levels and has been especially successfully in assisting the homeless, disadvantaged, and/or those with troubled backgrounds find jobs. In carrying out Ascent’s mission, the following Microsoft products/programs have been invaluable to volunteers and job-seeking clients.

1. Microsoft Windows Server 2003

2. Microsoft Office Enterprise

3. Microsoft Remote Desktop

History: Over 24 years ago, the Ascent Employment Program was started to aid clients with problem criminal justice backgrounds and clients recovering from substance abuse problems. Ascent has assisted in obtaining jobs for over 6000 men and women. After setting up a network of thin clients using MS Windows Server 2003, the program has averaged 2.5 successes for each day open. Using database statistics transferred to Excel Spread sheets, it has been possible to track pertinent data and keep detailed records. New clients fill out a questionnaire about their employment background and other personal data. This application data is used to update the employment statistical database. The database can be accessed by volunteers on the network and reviewed when the client returns for subsequent visits. Using MS Word, the volunteers have the ability to access a resume database from any network computer/thin client. In addition, volunteers after determining an individual's strengths and skills can develop resumes in MS Word. Using the Internet Explorer, clients can browse for jobs electronically and transmit resumes to prospective employers. Ascent aids them in interview skills and job searches, but clients are already motivated by seeking out our program. We measure our success by the amount of people we assist and the long-term success of those individuals. Ascent is unique in that it is an independent, non­discriminatory organization servicing all cultures, social and economic backgrounds. The following are a cross-section of people served: Rehabilitated Felons, Asian/Pacific Islander, Crime/Abuse Victims, Ethnic/Racial Minorities, Gays, Veterans, Native Americans, African Americans, Hispanics, Homeless, Low-Income and Impoverished.

Increased range of clients: MS Windows Server 2003 software has been the heart of our network and has allowed us to increase the range of clients we can serve. Having a server with connectivity from a number of thin clients and stand-alone computers allows a small staff to create, edit, and move files easily and efficiently. A volunteer can quickly move resumes from the resume folder on seekers or retrieve documents on a thin client to update server folder/databases. Whether the server to a thin client for job connected as a volunteer or a client, the permissions and security capabilities of the server software provides both flexibility and protection of programs and data stored on the server. Preloaded shortcuts to job sites tagged as favorites on MS Internet Explorer are available for job seeker use. With this simple, but very valuable capability, clients (job seekers) can quickly find job sites seeking to review potential jobs and fill out online applications. Job seekers use Outlook Express to create and send e-mails and resume attachments to the potential jobs sites using the Ascent’s mail server. In addition clients access printers on the server to print a resume or print information on potential jobs.

Enhanced quality and increased reach or impact of services: Without Microsoft software, Ascent Employment Program could not effectively help the numerous clients seeking employment during these challenging times. The following is a bulletized breakdown of Microsoft products used and how they make possible the mission of the Ascent program.

· Outlook Express - allows clients to quickly create and send e-mails to potential employers with copies of their resumes and cover letters

· MS Word - helps job seekers and volunteers create professional looking resumes and cover letters on thin client workstations.

· Excel - helps maintain records, cost estimates and other tabular data that heretofore was very man-intensive

· PowerPoint - very beneficial in creating presentations and volunteer staff can use when briefing or as a training aid when explaining to potential job seekers the intricacies of job hunting.

· Access - the present database currently being used is being converted into a MS Access database in order to take advantage of query capabilities built into MS Access.

· Publisher - allows the creation of a very professional flyer without the large publishing expenses.

· Internet Explorer using Internet Explorer, a browser nearly all clients are comfortable with allows them to browse the web more easily for online tasks such as accessing job sites. With preloaded shortcuts to favorites, jobseekers can quickly and accurately find open jobs and complete on-line applications.

Measurement of Program Success: Ascent measures program success by the numbers of people we assist including the long term success of these individuals. Our focus is helping them become more computer knowledgeable and become self-sufficient, with the final outcome being the ability to express one's wish, choice, and opinion. Our success rate is measured by an existing client database developed to follow job success rate and recidivism after one year. It has been very successful in providing Measures of Success as well as other pertinent statistics. Since 2003 we have been relying nearly 100% on Microsoft products to electronically serve clients rapidly and efficiently. Our primary measure of success is the number of people we assist in finding jobs and the long term success of those individuals. Though our original mission was to primarily assist the homeless, disadvantaged, and/or those with troubled backgrounds, we now welcome anyone who walks in the door without race, gender, religious affiliation, lifestyle, or financial status. Successful placements since 2003 are as follows: 2003-424, 2004-417, 2005-527, 2006-414, 2007-371 and 2008-475.

Submission Category
Stable and Secure Technology