Staff Q&A: New MFIP Program Manager Sharicka Kennedy

Sharicka Kennedy

MFIP program helps remove barriers to employment, addressing childcare, food security, education and more

JFCS Career Services empower people to explore and identify their visions of career success, including access to or support for career training. One of our many career programs, the Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP), provides support for families to help them move toward self-sufficiency through employment.

Sharicka Kennedy recently became JFCS’ new MFIP Program Manager. She spoke about why she wanted this role and why the program is so important for individuals, families and the community as a whole.

Why did the MFIP manager role appeal to you? 

The position appealed to me for a couple of reasons; I desired to be involved with MFIP for several years now. I believe the state’s push to assist program participants towards employment is beneficial and I want to be a part of those successes. I had also heard wonderful things about JFCS from former co-workers and people supported by JFCS. The two increased my desire to apply and join the JFCS team. 

How do you describe the MFIP program to those who don’t know what it is? 

MFIP is the state’s primary program for helping low-income families with children move out of poverty through employment. The MFIP program assists participants in gaining employment through assessment, counseling, educational planning, and case management. We help people address barriers to employment, childcare, food security, education, and transportation.

Why is the program important for both clients and the community as a whole? 

Our program is beneficial to our participants because it allows them to receive needed supports to overcome the many barriers to employment. Once a participant finds success through securing employment, they often feel their lives are moving forward and that they are able to independently support their families. It benefits our communities because having more competent individuals in the workforce creates economic growth.

How is the quickly changing and evolving job market affecting the program and its clients? 

As the job market tightened, we saw many employers loosen requirements around experience and college degrees. We also started to see increased accommodations for those who are still learning English, and flexibility in scheduling related to childcare and transportation. While there has been an increase in wages, the effects of inflation have lessened the real impact of the additional income. Recently, we have started to see an increase in employer layoffs; those with the most complex barriers to finding and maintaining employment risk remaining on the sidelines.

Anything else you would like to add?

I’m excited to expand our team and knock our goals out of the park!

For more on JFCS Career Services, call 952-546-0616 or click here!