It was less than a year ago that St. Louis resident Shawntay Vaughn was being moved out of her domestic violence transitional house without any income, no employment on the horizon and state sanctions on her welfare benefits for being non-compliant. She applied for low-income housing, but without any source of income, finding a home for her two children proved nearly impossible.

To help remove the barriers which led to Vaughn’s benefits being sanctioned by the state, her case worker referred her to ARCHS' Welfare to Work Partnership for assistance with finding employment and apartment deposit services. Within a month, she was set up with job as a receptionist at Johnson Computer Technologies on North Euclid, which hired her on permanently in July. She has since transitioned into the role of office manager.

ARCHS’ Welfare to Work Partnership was originally awarded funding in 2007 from the Missouri Department of Social Services (DSS) to support Temporary Assistance for Needy Family (TANF) participants who have been sanctioned for not adhering to benefit requirements.

“I love my job, and my bosses understand what I am going through being a single mom with two small children. They still expect me to be a responsible employee though,” Vaughn said. “I was very pleased with ARCHS because of how fast they found employment for me. I knew I truly was working with people who really wanted to help me because sometimes you don’t get the compassion and understanding with state case workers. With ARCHS, you can just tell they are in the business of helping people.”

The grant funds ARCHS’ Successful Work Incentives for TANF Community Partnership. ARCHS uses a transitional jobs model to help St. Louis city and county TANF participants remove the barriers that lead to them being sanctioned by the state. ARCHS’ case management focuses on job/life skills training, housing and transportation assistance, child care referrals, health care access and financial literacy.

Since 2007, ARCHS’ Community Work Support Grant has placed 494 people in subsidized transitional jobs, 94 people in full-time and unsubsidized jobs that added $11,000 a year to their income and 80+ employers have provided more than $2 million worth of on the job training.

For Vaughn, she admits feeling a wave of nervousness about where ARCHS would place her in employment. She was pleasantly surprised how ARCHS worked to find a job that she would not only be good at but also interested in.

“I wanted and found something that really utilized my skills. I wanted something that was challenging, and provided me with a livable income,” Vaughn said. “I started in February as a receptionist and now I am the office manager and handle all the marketing for the Johnson Computer Technologies. This isn’t just a job anymore. It is a career.”

Vice-President of Johnson Computer Technologies Bobbie Jackson said Vaughn has been an excellent worker and his organization decided to hire her permanently because she was a perfect fit for the office.

“ARCHS has been able to prepare people for the type of office work that is in demand, which in most cases leads to permanent employment,” Jackson said. “This program is important because it seems to have transitional stages to accurately assess the recipient for their movement to the next stage.”

The State of Missouri has discontinued funding for this program. Due to its great success, ARCHS is currently exploring continued funding opportunities for this type of work. Any suggestions or ideas should be emailed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..