Dear Community Members, Colleagues, and fellow Americans,

In the wake of the global COVID-19 pandemic, our country is facing unprecedented challenges and, in keeping with our mission to advance economic opportunity, Seedco is hard at work to support the communities that have always relied on us and to be a light in the darkness.

Across our programs and communities, Seedco team leaders are working with staff to create and implement new strategies to continue our commitment to program participants, employer partners, and local community collaborators. Healthcare access, employment readiness, access to jobs, and supports for employment loss are essential services and our staff are striving to meet this acute demand daily and to ease the pain and difficulties many are experiencing.

In the past weeks Seedco staff has shifted to working remotely and is using creativity and innovation to continue service delivery. Our staff is focused on being a reliable resource in this time of great uncertainty.

  • Staff in New York continue to provide case management, financial coaching, job development and resource navigation to program participants via telephone and video conferencing. Staff have used virtual platforms to help participants work on resumes and take part in mock interviews. Our teams are exploring ways to convert existing group workshop learning into online formats and working toward enrolling new participants in our programs through phone and video conferencing tools. Furthermore, Seedco staff are committed to support food industry employer partners and their employees during this crisis. Seedco staff have provided resources for employer partners to share with employees that have been furloughed or laid off and are working to find new employment opportunities for program participants that have lost their jobs.
  • The Baltimore office continues to actively engage, recruit, and enroll community members in its programs. The team conducts information sessions and intake through Zoom or FaceTime with individuals referred through community partners; keeps the Maryland Department of Parole and Probation updated on Seedco’s operational status and accepts referrals remotely; encourages current participates to refer peers; has distributed flyers about Seedco’s programs and updated contact information; actively uses social media to engage and build interest for services; and couples the marketing of benefit advocacy services with workforce development programs.
  • On the Eastern Shore and in Southern Maryland, Navigators are now providing assistance over the telephone for enrollment in Medicaid and Qualified Health Plans offered through the Maryland Health Exchange. The Navigator team is working remotely, servicing the needs of ten counties during our traditional operating hours, Monday through Friday, 8:30-4:30. We have updated partners about our new enrollment assistance model and requested that referrals be directed to our toll-free hotlines in the Upper Eastern Shore and Southern region in Maryland. The teams are ready and available to assist individuals and families during Maryland’s Special Enrollment to allow those in need of coverage to apply during the COVID-19 emergency.
  • The Midsouth Regional Office (MSRO) encompasses Memphis/Shelby County and Tipton County in Tennessee as well as West Memphis, Arkansas. As such, the MSRO team is incorporating innovative eLearning practices to engender connectivity and engagement with the over 1,000 individuals currently being served. With staff having implemented online programming for cohorts, participants are able to use technology such as FaceTime, Zoom, and other online communication platforms to continue in developing job readiness skills, attaining credentials that will support movement to the next level of employment, and are even working through mock interviews online! These innovative practices allow for intensive case management provision, while allowing for adherence to COVID-19 precautions.

Seedco is proud of our staff, our programs, our communities, and the people we serve. We continue to be grateful to our funders and partners for their faith and investment in our vision. The current crisis requires all of us to do more, evolve, and, most importantly, show compassion and care for one another. Only if we work together will we make sure that our communities thrive and survive.

From our Seedco Family to yours, stay safe and healthy.

Keith Rasmussen
Acting Executive Director

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