How eliminating outdated paper processes improved the outlook for poor and homeless individuals in Washington, DC

so others might eatSo Others Might Eat- DC (SOME) provides food, shelter and other free services, including job training, addiction treatment and counseling, to underserved populations in and around the District of Columbia. Previously, individuals desiring to gain important job skills from SOME’s Center for Employment and Training (CET) would fill out volumes of paper forms, delaying their admission and rendering most of that data unusable for further reporting and analysis.

SOME’s Center for Employment and Training approached Hartman to streamline this arduous process and allow the staff to spend more time training its students. Working with Hartman, three goals were established from the start. The first was to make it easier for candidates to apply to the program.  The second was to gather better data on student progress and outcomes. Third was to improve the usability of the data the organization collects throughout the process. Most importantly, SOME needed to achieve these goals without losing the high level of engagement and hands-on instruction the program requires for success.

Hartman worked with SOME to define the requirements for a new system that would meet organizational goals and fit a tight budget.  A variety of solutions were considered – including numerous Student Information Systems, as the SOME intake and student advancement processes resemble the ones used by traditional educational institutions. However, unlike a school environment, SOME’s student experience is highly individualized.  Instruction is self-paced and needs to begin as soon as the student is ready to learn.  Ultimately, Hartman selected and implemented an easily configurable, cloud-based relationship management platform with case management and class management components.  Highly cost-effective, this solution meets SOME’s immediate needs and provides the Center for Employment and Training the ability to scale its service to meet its growing demand. It also provides a platform that other programs at SOME can leverage to serve their constituents in a cost-effective manner.

In addition to eliminating paper applications and making it easier for clients to receive services, SOME can now better track and report on their services by accessing significant amounts of relevant data in real time. Dashboards showcase metrics that highlight student success milestones and alert staff should any student fall short of expected progress.  In addition, tracking metrics such as “how did you hear about us” will help the organization improve the effectiveness of their various outreach campaigns in the city.

Emily Price, SOME’s Center for Education and Training Director, believes the partnership with Hartman, and the solution provided, will help them to meet their mission to foster self-sufficiency and ultimately decrease the number of people living on the streets of Washington, DC.

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