Community Action, Inc. of Rock and Walworth Counties has announced that the Stateline Community Foundation is offering support in the form of a pair of $3,500 grants for their programs. The first is Community Action’s Skills Enhancement program which enables local individuals to increase their earning potential.
“The Skills Enhancement program gives low-wage workers the opportunity to increase their income by obtaining short-term training in a high-demand field,” explains Becky Hayd, adult services program manager for Community Action, Inc. “Going back to school or attending a training program is a lot of work as people balance classes, work, and family life. To ensure their success, Skills staff work very closely with each individual Skills participant, to problem-solve and conquer barriers as they arise. We are very proud of our participants for investing in their future, and grateful to Stateline Community Foundation for supporting low-wage workers in our community.”
In order to qualify for Community Action’s Skills Enhancement program, individuals must already be working a minimum of 20 hours per week, earning 150 percent or lower of the federal poverty level.
One current Skills participant, Ariel Pulliam, says she couldn’t have entered Blackhawk Tech’s Certified Nursing Assistant program without Community Action’s help with tuition, books, and uniforms.
“The program is helping me to obtain a career that will pay more than minimum wage which I’m currently making,” Pulliam says. “I have two small children that I am supporting on my own. I would recommend Community Action to anyone who need help to further their education.”
The second is Community Action’s Fatherhood Initiative program which enables local men to gain the skills they need to support their children, financially as well as emotionally.
Since 2008, the Fatherhood Initiative has helped hundreds of men. Most come to the program unemployed, and 80-90 percent have a criminal record. After spending two months working closely with a case worker, program manager, and their peers, the men transform their lives through the program’s employment-first model, developing the soft skills that help them find and acquire a job, and the hard job skills like certifications and job-specific training. Through it all, Community Action staff serve as a support and sounding board, guiding the men as they become re-engaged with their families.
It’s a program with long-lasting effects, and Fatherhood Case Manager Antonio Hickman points this out to the men on a regular basis. “Setting goals for tomorrow will give you purpose today,” he says. It’s a lesson he works hard to impart on Fatherhood Initiative participants.
The staff of Community Action are thrilled to find such generous community support for their work creating pathways out of poverty.