Get Delawareans back to work
JFS launches Employment Support Network for Delawareans Affected by COVID-19

More than 100,000 people in Delaware have registered unemployment since COVID-19 became a public health crisis. In response to the dramatically increased need for holistic support services, Jewish Family Services of Delaware recently launched the Employment Support Network, an innovative, traumatized approach to helping Delaware residents grappling with the complex challenges of sudden unemployment.

With a longstanding reputation for serving the changing needs of our community, JFS quickly recognized the need to be energetic and innovative in responding to the pandemic as many of our customers, friends, neighbors and colleagues experience increasing anxiety and mental health issues while navigating Changes in employment, food and housing insecurity, and social and economic difficulties.

As a social services company that supports mental health in various forms, it is difficult for JFS to ignore how unemployment leads not only to a lack of resources but also to mental trauma. Those who are suddenly unemployed often experience profound loss of identity and self-esteem and interpret such an event as an irreversible failure. These threats to emotional stability can lead to increased depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. This, coupled with the challenges of unemployment, breaks the social fabric that many rely on and isolates individuals from their peers, support systems, and financial resources. Data from Delaware health authorities indicate this spiral is occurring.

After a sudden job loss, individuals are directed to obtain job assistance from the Department of Labor. However, the current unemployment system does not address the simultaneous loss of insurance and the increased trauma of those seeking unemployment. Professional emotional support is not a priority.

In addition, our mental health systems lack the coordination and ability to address trauma and stress caused by unemployment on this scale.

The importance of a broader approach to the unemployment caused by the pandemic is further compounded by the fact that this has already proven to be more than a temporary challenge. Many of the jobs lost during the first waves of COVID-19 are unlikely to return, and as such families will need additional support systems to navigate unsafe terrain. You need help building the strategy, network, and trust needed to get through and regain your footing in these turbulent times.

Through a collaborative partnership with Social Contract, Delaware 211, the United Way of Delaware, Stand By Me and the State Office of Volunteerism, Jewish Family Services of Delaware now has a program to address these challenges for these people severely affected by the pandemic.

The Employment Support Network supports Delawareans who have lost their jobs due to COVID-19 with personal emotional wellbeing support, job search and financial coaching, mental health resources and recommendations, and navigating social services.

“Because of the scale of the current crisis, the unemployment system is unable to meet the holistic needs of individuals and their families, especially during this unique crisis,” said Latasha Coley, program manager, Employment Support Network. “Isolation and despair from unemployment can derail families and disconnect them from the community. We need a system that specifically connects mental health providers with the recently unemployed and works to reconnect the community.”

The Employment Support Network connects unemployed people with an interdisciplinary team of trained staff and volunteers who work to ensure that every customer achieves their personal and professional goals. Through personalized coaching, strategic goal setting, weekly communication and emotional support, the team helps each program participant to build their network and social capital, increase trust and access to resources and take the necessary steps to restore employment and general stability.

“We understand the impact sudden unemployment can have on a person’s financial stability and emotional well-being, and JFS is committed to helping these people and families,” said Basha Silverman, JFS chief executive officer. “We are proud to launch the Employment Support Network to help our community meet such unprecedented challenges caused by COVID and are excited to do so through an innovative, volunteer program that is holistic Prioritize healing and progress. “

In addition to a concerted effort to develop and launch the program, the Employment Support Network has received significant support from community donors to make this assistance program possible and to help Delawarean get back into the workforce with confidence.

“Jewish Family Services of Delaware continues to provide excellent programs to our community, and the Employment Support Network was introduced at a critical time,” said Nick Moriello, president of Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Delaware, one of the program’s key funders. “We look forward to working with JFS to get our Delawareans back to work.”

Get the Help You Need TODAY!
The Employment Support Network is currently accepting applications for new customers. Sign up for this free support program to build your network and get back into the workforce with confidence.
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For more information, please contact Program Director Latasha Coley at

Virtual volunteers needed!
Help the struggling Delawareans overcome the complex difficulties of sudden unemployment. Anyone can volunteer, and we encourage you to share yourself and your knowledge in this deeply meaningful way.
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Contact our Volunteer Coordinator Emily Griffith at for more information on this volunteer opportunity.