The goal of the Economic Self-Sufficiency Program is to empower low-income families with the education, skills and resources necessary to achieve and maintain economic self-sufficiency without any future need for cash welfare subsidies.
In the mid 1990s, the Board of Directors initiated a comprehensive study of the long-term, measurable impact of our programs. The results showed that many of the individuals and families we assisted temporarily improved their circumstances but did not permanently leave poverty. They frequently came back for help as soon as they were eligible.
In response to the findings, we developed the Economic Self-Sufficiency Program in 1997. Our approach addresses the root causes that keep low-income people in poverty. We help participants acquire the education, skills and employment to permanently leave poverty as opposed to merely cope in it. The program transforms lives and often ends a cycle of poverty that existed for generations.
The Economic Self-Sufficiency Program is not an entitlement program. A combination of public funding and private contributions from results-minded donors drive its success.
All Economic Self-Sufficiency Graduates have achieved the following:
- Employment that pays a family-sustaining wage
- Access to safe reliable transportation
- Affordable housing that is safe and comfortable
- A balanced household budget
- Health plan for the entire family
- Freedom from all welfare subsidies including cash assistance, food stamps, and subsidized housing
What makes the ES Program work?
An individualized, strengths-based goal plan, based on a thorough personal assessment, is backed up with coaching, counseling, and mentoring that can yield the fundamental change needed to leave poverty forever. Every plan centers on attaining the education and training necessary to secure employment in a high-demand sector of the local economy that pays a family-sustaining wage. In addition to education and employment, every plan addresses childcare, access to healthcare, transportation, budgeting, financial literacy including banking and credit, reciprocity, and establishing healthy supportive relationships within the community. Perhaps most importantly, private funding is strategically invested in education and other areas of need identified in each participant’s customized goal plan to achieve permanent self-sufficiency. 60% or more of the financial assistance invested in helping participants succeed comes from private sources.