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What is Transitional Employment (STEPS)?

Transitional employment is job placement that is not permanent. Transitional employment is often provided to assist individuals in preparing for regular job placement. This preparation is accomplished through employment in a series of jobs, each intended to advance the individual’s skills and work tolerance. While St. Anthony’s has always employed former guests, we are making a commitment to expand the Transitional Employment program (STEPS) by adding services and serving more people.

How does STEPS fit into St. Anthony’s mission and values?

We envision a more prosperous city where barriers to employment are eliminated, and every member of the community is empowered with dignity through meaningful work.

Through expanding STEPS, we will create employment opportunities and provide job readiness for members of our community seeking to rebuild from addictions, homelessness, and incarceration.

St. Anthony’s employs values in every exchange with our clients. Our values are integrated into every aspect of what we do; transitional employment is aligned with our desire to provide resources that support St. Anthony’s Stability Framework. STEPS is an important element of stability.

How does it work?

STEPS provides guests from Father Alfred Center, as well as clients being served by other community organizations and agencies, with the opportunity to apply, interview, and be trained for transitional jobs within the Foundation or placed externally with corporate partners.

The application process for transitional jobs will generally follow the St. Anthony’s HR process for any position. Depending on the specific job description, the process may also include skills assessment and a mutual agreement between the hiring manager and prospective employee to support skill development and progression. Skill assessment and development will continue throughout the transitional employment period. Supervisors of transitional employees will practice compassionate leadership in supporting individuals as they participate in this program. Additional supervisory training will be provided through St. Anthony’s Learning and Development department to support the success of both supervisors and STEPS employees.

Which jobs within St. Anthony’s are classified as transitional?

Currently, St. Anthony’s has identified the following jobs as “transitional” jobs by department*:

  • Dining Room – Kitchen Prep, Dishwasher, Guest Services, Dining Room Utility
  • Hygiene Hub, Free Clothing Program – Service Associate, Free Clothing Program Utility
  • Community Safety Services – Social Enterprise Utility, Community Safety Services Utility
  • Development – Associate
  • IT – Utility
  • Operations – Custodian, Maintenance

*Additional positions may be classified in the future as job openings occur.

How long does a transitional job last? What happens after this time period?

Enrollment in the STEPS program can span from three months up to one year. Skills assessment and performance reviews will be conducted frequently to support transitional employees. Beyond the transitional period, employees will be encouraged to apply for a regular position in their department or another St. Anthony’s department, where job openings are posted. Additionally, some STEPS employees may decide to leave St. Anthony’s and join another organization in the community, or apply for a position with one of our corporate partners.

Beyond transitional employment, it is our goal to guide individuals to regular job placement. There are several pathways identified:

  1. Continuing as a transitional employee
  2. Moving into a regular position at St. Anthony’s
  3. Transitioning to an external job partner placement
  4. Transitioning into a different department at St. Anthony’s
  5. Leaving St. Anthony’s for a job of their choice
St. Anthony’s currently employs over 75 former guests. How is this program different from our current hiring practices?

For over 70 years, St. Anthony’s has employed people from our community and restored their stability. This is an integral part of fulfilling our mission, “to create a society in which all persons flourish.” STEPS provides an intentional framework for training and employment of even more people in the Tenderloin and the city-at-large. Currently, Workforce Development & Transitional Employment services have been delivered to Father Alfred Center guests who were in Phase 3 of their recovery. STEPS will expand our services to more people, provide more training that is job-related and more job openings (in collaboration with corporate partners), and integrate this training with job search and placement.

Will there be additional support services provided by St. Anthony’s to support the success of transitional employees?

Yes. We will be delivering expanded job readiness training including computer literacy, financial literacy, interviewing skills, skills for keeping a job, and ongoing resume and cover letter support. Once employed, transitional employees will receive on-the-job coaching, job-related skills training (as needed), and additional wellness services to support continued stability.

Who does STEPS serve?

While STEPS eligibility on a case-by-case basis, all candidates will complete an interview, which helps to assess fit for our program. Individuals meeting the following criteria are generally best suited for the program:

  • Housing Stability – Individuals with access to housing (shelter or otherwise) will be able to get the most effective experience out of the program.
  • Mental Health – Individuals with severe or untreated mental health issues are generally not a fit for the program.
  • Sobriety – Sustained and demonstrated sobriety is another key eligibility requirement (For Father Alfred Center guests, completion of Phase 3 or 5 months of sobriety)
  • Age – Individuals must be 18 years of age or older to participate.
  • Transportation – Individuals must have access to reliable transportation (public transportation included) to participate in the program.
  • Background – Individuals with all criminal backgrounds are accepted. Most if not all jobs require a background check as a condition of employment.
  • Access to phone and email – Access to a reliable phone and email is critical for communication purposes.
How will we measure program success?

Our program is designed to help participants develop a sense of wellness in their professional and personal life. We look at wellness in three different ways; mental/emotional, financial, and vocational.

We believe that a person’s mental and emotional health is directly tied to their ability to achieve goals and move forward in life. In addition to providing a caring and supportive environment, we also provide therapy and recovery services to those who may benefit from them. We recommend that all participants attend at least two therapy sessions, if they are not already in therapy, and (where applicable) engage in recovery support groups, if they are not already doing so.

Our goal is to provide participants with the tools and resources to be successful far beyond their time at St. Anthony’s. Financial literacy and responsible management of financial resources are essential to developing self-sufficiency.

Through a new partnership with 5 Buckets Foundation, employees will receive financial literacy training that will provide them with a toolkit of skills to successfully manage money, credit, build a monthly budget, setting goals, savings, and logistics of setting up bank accounts and tracking spending. Through the Companionship Program, employees will receive ongoing support when addressing their unique financial circumstances.

During each phase of the program, participants regularly check in with their Supervisor, Trainers/Job Coaches and their Companion, to discuss their job readiness, job progression and additional training, and next steps beyond transitional employment.

Job readiness speaks to our participants’ ability to be successful at work, as well as their ability to obtain and maintain a new job in the future.

How will we measure individual (employee) success?

While many factors can indicate a participant’s level of job readiness, we measure it by looking at attendance, the achievement of goals, and soft skills development.

Attendance and meeting job goals will be closely monitored and recorded. As with any employee at St. Anthony’s, and other employment placements, disciplinary action will be taken if expectations are not met, including possible termination.

Consistent performance management is critical to the ongoing personal and professional development of St. Anthony’s TE participants. There are several factors that are used to determine participants’ job readiness, areas for improvement, and overall needs.

Performance management requires a joint and collaborative effort amongst staff and should focus on both reinforcing positive performance and addressing areas for growth.

Performance Reviews are an important component of performance management and serve as a consistent touchpoint and milestone to check in on participants’ performance, growth, and progress towards goals. When done right, they maintain an open and transparent channel of communication, and a comprehensive understanding (on all sides) of how the participant is doing. Furthermore, regular performance reviews help to prepare participants for similar conversations in future jobs.

Performance reviews take place monthly and address three focus areas: attendance, production goals, and soft skills.

Participants’ development of soft and hard skills is tracked weekly. We particularly seek to support growth in the following soft skills areas:

  • Professionalism – Demonstrating dependability and reliability. Fulfilling obligations, completing assignments, and meeting deadlines. Acting with integrity and honesty. Dressing appropriately for position and duties. Abiding by and respecting all company policies.
  • Attitude – Conveying a positive, pleasant, and “can-do” attitude. Trying to continuously improve performance. Respecting authority, coworkers, and subordinates. Accepting instruction and constructive criticism. Exhibit a “growth mindset” and kindness.
  • Communication – Communicating effectively – verbally and non-verbally. Using language appropriate for the work environment. Proper communication through phone, email, and video conferencing. Effective listening skills.
  • Teamwork – Relating positively with co-workers. Encouraging others. Working productively with individuals and teams. Maintaining respectful and trustworthy relationships. Exhibiting leadership when necessary. Understanding diversity and inclusion.
  • Problem solving – Identifying and defining a problem, using knowledge and information to generate possible solutions. Effectively managing time. Addressing conflicts directly with the appropriate parties/individuals. Adapting to new environments or situations.

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