There are always choices to be made for the unemployed and underemployed. This afternoon I attended a meeting sponsored by the Valley Interfaith Project. They are spearheading an education opportunity for the unemployed and underemployed by offering them funds to obtain a two year degree in the healthcare field.
I was surprised to hear that approximately 64% of our high school students graduate and only 40% of that number go on to college; the rest of them get lost and forgotten in our communities and find only low paying employment. Several people enrolled in the program spoke at the meeting; one worked as a waitress making $14,000 per year and another lady who had been out of the job market for many years was only able to find part time employment with an income of $7,000 last year. There are currently 40 students enrolled in this program and Arizona Career Pathways hopes to hit 1,000 in the program by 2020. They are raising funds from companies and other sources to sponsor this program.
The funds available per student (the different programs available take two years) and will cover tuition, books and a little extra for child care, etc. The enrollment process requires a commitment and proof that the student is willing to complete the two year degree. Each student has a Case Manager that meets with the student weekly to keep them on track and to assist with any other support that may be needed. Potential students must:
- Be 18 years of age or older ( they have had applicants in their 70’s)
- Have a high school diploma or GED
- Be a US Citizen or legal resident
- Not currently have a 4-year college degree
- Have a household income of less than 150% of federal poverty.
The students that were present and spoke about their lives and how hard they are working to get the best possible grades in their courses, showed me that people are willing to work if someone gives them a helping hand.
As small business owners we will have need of full and part time staff as we grow. There are a lot of people that we never see and they never get the chance to prove themselves in a business where there is a potential to grow. There are so many people that are in need; these 40 students were selected from over 600 applicants. As was stated at the meeting, once these people graduate, they will be able to obtain jobs that will put them in the “middle class”. This alone represents a great economic boost to our local economy. These 40 students are, in most cases, the first in their families to attend college.
Arizona Career Pathways can be reached at 602-248-0607 (many communities in the US have similar programs)
The task of the leader is to get his people from where they are to where they have not been.
Nick J. Petra CFP www.strategicduck.com always remember that giving back and helping others are responsibilities of us all.