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Cuyahoga Job and Family Services Awarded Federal Grant to Improve Telework Systems


Media Contact: Mary Louise Madigan: (216) 698-2521; mlmadigan@cuyahogacounty.us

Award for 2020 Process and Technology Improvement

- Cuyahoga Job and Family Services (CJFS), an agency of Cuyahoga County Department of Health and Human Services, has been approved to receive $131,787 to strengthen and improve our remote work management and improve our services to the residents of Cuyahoga County. The funding comes from the USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) 2020 Process and Technology Improvement Project.

As soon as the pandemic struck and Governor DeWine declared a state of emergency, CJFS quickly moved to a telework model to continue to provide access to public benefits. Within three weeks, over 90 percent of CJFS staff transitioned to a work-from-home model with little preparation and without all the technology necessary to continue working from home long-term. In this work from home environment, Cuyahoga Job and Family Services has experienced increased productivity and improved service to residents in our eligibility contact center as we have:
  • Answered 29,000 more calls in 2020 than in 2019
  • Decreased our average wait times by 26%
  • Improved our answer rates by 15%
This performance was in the face of real challenges both for CJFS workforce and Cuyahoga County residents. In the early months of the pandemic, residents receiving SNAP increased to 240,000+, an increase of over 15%. As the economy improved over the subsequent months, the population decreased to just over 221,000 (still 6.5% higher than pre-pandemic levels). Our Medicaid population has increased by 10% during the pandemic. There are now 418,000+ residents in Cuyahoga county receiving Medicaid Assistance.

“Leadership and staff of CJFS made necessary adjustments to continue providing access to crucial public benefit programs while considering the health and safety of staff and residents,” said Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish. “The funds provided through this grant will allow CJFS to further improve service in the telework environment to the residents of Cuyahoga County.”

CJFS will utilize the grant funds to supplement the cost of contracting a consultant to create permanent work-from-home plans, including assessing technology needs as well as implementing a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) System.

“CJFS staff have made a tremendous adjustment and are doing an outstanding job working remotely with the currently available technology,” says CJFS Administrator Kevin Gowan. “Making improvements to our technology will provide a better work environment for our staff and better customer service to the residents we serve.”