Photo: DHP Representatives from across the state in NYS Assembly Chamber (February 2020)
In our area many people have heard about the Capital District Women’s Employment & Resource Center (CDWERC) and know its work in the region. Fewer know that WERC is one of 12 Displaced Homemaker Program (DHP) Centers across New York State. Since 1978, the DHP has helped women become self-sufficient through employment counseling, workforce development training, computer instruction, and job placement services. Over the past two years, despite the pandemic, DHP Centers kept their doors open to assist all dislocated workers while transitioning to virtual learning and remote support services.
The Displaced Homemaker Program is the only statewide program that focuses on long-term economic stability and self-sufficiency for women. DHP Centers are essential for women who are struggling to transition from public assistance to employment and they play a pivotal role in helping to break the cycle of generational poverty. In New York State, as across the U.S., one out of every five women are being abused and are forced to flee the violence with their children and to start over. For these families, the DHP Centers are a lifeline providing critical intervention, intensive skills training, and the compassion required to guide them through the difficult transitions to sustainable employment.
In past years, prior to the approval of the annual New York State Budget, Directors for DHP Centers have traveled to Albany to meet with lawmakers and government officials, including the Governor’s office, to educate them about the importance of funding DHP Centers. Since the pandemic, Directors have relied on mostly virtual conferences with officials to get their messages out. Nevertheless, they have continued to convey the integral role that the Displaced Homemaker Program plays in the economic success of New York State and the importance of keeping the doors to DHP Centers open in 2022 and beyond.
State funding for the DHP has helped provide more than 350,000 women statewide, with counseling, training, job placement and support services, helping them obtain and retain regular employment. This past year alone, more than 50% of the women served by the DHP entered employment and 82% of them retained that employment for over 90 days. The vast majority of women are placed in jobs in the community where they live.
This is just one of the many DHP success stories: Janet is a single parent who has been divorced since 2008. She had been working as a contact tracer but knew that position might be eliminated soon. She came to the CDWERC program in June 2021 seeking assistance with her job search and updating her job skills. With the help of the CDWERC program, Janet found full time work with benefits in August 2021. She has been working at Trustco Bank as an Assistant Branch Manager.
The DHP has had a profound impact on families statewide by providing them with the skills they need to successfully return to the workforce, while adding millions of dollars to our local and state economy.
Visit the Displaced Homemaker Program page on the WERC website for more information and to read more success stories of DHP Graduates.