Family Support & Well-being

Partnering with Families to Pursue Employment and Career Goals

Families’ employment and career goals may change during emergencies. Head Start and Early Head Start family services staff and home visitors can help families access key resources and take steps to achieve their immediate and long-term employment and career goals.

You can partner with families to:

  • Identify their immediate employment and career goals and revisit their long-term employment and career goals
  • Plan concrete actions
  • Track progress and celebrate successes

Identify Families’ Immediate Employment and Career Goals

As you check in with families about how they are doing, let them know that Head Start and Early Head Start staff are available to assist with their immediate and long-term employment and career goals.

  • Ask families what method of communication works best for them. Then set up a time to talk.
    • You can connect with families remotely by phone, email, video conference, text, or social media. If families prefer printed information, you can send it by regular mail. Families can pick up materials if your program offers drive-up services.
  • Review Family Partnership Process: Engaging and Goal-Setting with Families. This guide recommends seven steps you can take to help families set financial, employment, and education goals.
  • Use the “Seven Steps Worksheet Template” in the Family Partnership Process guide to ask questions focused on the family’s current situation, strengths, and goals.
  • Connect with families individually to assess where they are and what they would like to accomplish. Remember, every family is different.
    • Some families will need to look for immediate employment. Others will be interested in learning a second language to support their career goals. Some will want to use this time to consider a career change.

Seven Steps for Setting and Reaching Goals with Families

Step 1: Set a Goal

Step 2: Identify Skills

Step 3: Assess Strengths

Step 4: Examine Stressors

Step 5: Explore Strategies

Step 6: Determine Support

Step 7: Track Progress and Celebrate Successes

Plan Concrete Actions

When you know what goals families are interested in, you can research options and provide them with tools.

  • Job search. Connect families to the CareerOneStop website to find career and job search resources. American Job Centers (AJCs) can offer free help for a variety of career and employment-related needs. Many AJCs also help people with unemployment claims and may allow walk-ins depending on the state. Nearly 2,400 AJCs are located throughout the United States. Families can check with their local AJC to see what services are offered during this time.
  • Re-entering the workforce or making a career change. For those considering re-entering the workforce or making a career change, a career assessment may be useful. You can partner with families to take career assessments. These tools ask questions about skills, strengths, and interests and then show a list of potential careers based on the answers. To learn more about exploring career interests or to take an assessment, visit,, or
  • Other employment sources. Look for information from your local mayor’s office, county commissioner’s office, or chamber of commerce about employment opportunities in your community. You can share that information with families.
  • Internet access. If families do not have access to the internet, you can help them connect to Lifeline. It is a federal program that helps make communications services more affordable for low-income consumers. Lifeline gives subscribers a discount on monthly telephone service, broadband internet service, or voice-broadband bundled service purchased from participating companies.

Families who have recently lost a job can contact their local AJC to see if they qualify for one of the following benefits:

  • The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, which provides retraining funding for laid-off workers who qualify for services
  • Trade Adjustment Assistance, which is for workers whose job loss was the result of increased foreign imports or shifts in production out of the Unites States
  • The Dislocated Worker/Rapid Response program, which may offer additional resources to help laid-off workers through a job transition

Track Progress and Celebrate Successes

Follow up with families to see how they are meeting their employment and career goals. Celebrate successes!