Employment Support Unclassified Program (ESUP)


Filling Entry-Level Vacancies Using Alternative Sources

Based on the Board of Supervisors' Board Policy Resolution 3.22, we find candidates using alternative sources with the goal of helping agencies and departments fill certain vacancies. Working with several Social Services Agency, Office of Supportive Housing, and Diversion and Reentry Services programs, we can source candidates for 42 specific entry-level classifications (referred to as Footnote 126 classifications) through the Employment Support Unclassified Program.  These potential employees are eager program participants who are prepared to work hard to be successful in a County career and improve their lives through economic self-sufficiency. Candidates are screened to meet employment standards, hired as unclassified employees, and have 9 months to test and promote to a classified status. By hiring a candidate coming from the ESUP, you can provide a tremendous opportunity for someone looking for a hand up, not a hand-out, while also filling your vacancy.  

How It Works
The Career Pathways and Outreach Team is the connection between your vacancy and the programs providing candidates (see below for source program details). These programs regularly submit candidate applications for appraisal by the team. Approved candidates are then placed on appropriate eligibility lists.

Hiring Authorities may request eligible candidates based on Footnote 126 vacancies.  The interview, selection, and hiring process occurs just as with any other candidate pool. However, these ESUP-sourced candidates are hired in an unclassified status.

Once hired, the unclassified employee has a total of 9 months to promote to classified status, via promotional rating form, official County job application, and exam. The supervisor may promote the employee beginning at 3 months.
See the flow chart for process details.

ESUP Flow Chart


Why Choose Candidates Using ESUP?
A part of the County of Santa Clara's mission is to promote a healthy, safe and prosperous community for all. That includes working with community members looking for a hand up, not a handout and who have been or who are currently clients of the social services safety net. Through the source programs, essential workplace training and life skills are being taught and developed, and those who may not have had the chance to be considered for employment now have the best opportunity to become self-sufficient and start a meaningful career.  

You may ask, why choose an alternately sourced candidate instead of a candidate from the open competitive process? Simple. You're filling a vacancy, certainly. But you're doing so much more. Giving a chance to someone to change their life in a way they may never have thought possible and impacting the community for the better with each hire.

In fact, a majority of candidates who are interviewed are hired. And since 2017, 95% of those that were hired through the CWES program - the largest source of candidates - have successfully become classified employees, contributing back to the people of Santa Clara County. 

So, talk with us about how you can help fulfill the mission of our government organization, find quality employees, and impact lives and community. 

What Does Unclassified mean?
Coded-unclassified appointments are for positions as designated in Section 701 (a) of the Charter of the County of Santa Clara. Coded-unclassified positions can be filled on a continuous basis, or as a time-limited position. Often coded-unclassified positions are set as time-limited, based on temporary funding sources from outside the County. In order for a coded-unclassified employee to transfer to a classified position, the employee must take and pass the appropriate qualifying examination for the classification, after receiving a positive recommendation on a promotional rating form. (A25-148) No time spent in a coded-unclassified position counts towards the probationary period of the classification. Funding for the unclassified position must come from funds other than the general fund in order to be considered for transfer. (A25-148)

ESUP Source Programs
We work with the following programs to find candidates ready to work toward stability and self-sufficiency.

    The County Employment for Foster Youth (CEFY) Program provides eligible candidates with opportunities for County employment. Applicants are supported through the process, from completing the application to accepting a job offer. Youth who have emancipated from the child welfare system can apply for up to 42 different entry level County jobs through a modified hiring process. Applicants must meet the employment standards for the jobs to be eligible.

    CalWORKs Employment Services (CWES) serves recipients of CalWORKs benefits. CWES helps participants gain job readiness skills, training, education, and  tools to find employment. Supportive services including childcare and transportation assistance are  available. Case management, coaching, and job matching are also offered. With certain exceptions, adults receiving CalWORKs must participate in the CWES program.

    The CalFresh Employment & Training Program (CFET) assists individuals receiving CalFresh food assistance gain skills, tools, basic education, training, and work experience. Participants gain marketable job skills, helping to give them access to better jobs and higher wages.

    Rapid Rehousing helps individuals and families to quickly exit homelessness by getting them housed. It also connects people to services like employment counseling and job trainings that help them retain their housing in the long term.

    The County of Santa Clara Reentry Resource Centers strive to build safer communities by providing resources to formerly incarcerated individuals and helping them heal and reintegrate back into the community. Services include referrals for mental health and substance use treatment, public benefit enrollment, counseling, health care, record expungement services, employment referrals, housing and shelter information and more.

    The County’s Guaranteed Basic Income Pilot Programs (GBI) provides eligible candidates with opportunities for County employment. The goal of the GBI is to support participants with entry-level work experience to achieve independence in their finances, livelihood, and future. Participants will have meaningful County career opportunities to improve their economic self-sufficiency and increase their long-term success post-pilot. Applicants receive referrals for supportive services and are assessed for job readiness. Applicants are supported through the process, from completing the application to accepting a job offer.


    Contact the Career Pathways and Outreach Team at [email protected] to discuss filling your vacancies using candidates sourced from the Employment Support Unclassified Program (ESUP).

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