For those individuals lacking sufficient education and training, the job market is a daunting place. Wage growth for those without a college education is weak and, increasingly, individuals and households are holding two jobs at once to make ends meet. Education, training and re-training have become all-important for those entering the job market and for those already in the workforce.
WISCAP’s member agencies recognize that enhancing a worker’s abilities and skills is an important tool necessary to compete for and retain better paying jobs.
The Community Action Skills Enhancement program assists low-wage workers in obtaining a degree or certification at a technical or community college. Fifteen (15) Community Action Agencies and the United Migrant Opportunities Services (UMOS) provide services that include financial support to cover the costs of classes and/or training, along with help in paying for child care and transportation.
Participants also receive:
- individualized career planning assistance;
- job search and placement support; and
- access to a variety of support and advocacy services.
Since 2010, when funding from the Wisconsin Department of Children & Families and the state Department of Health Services was approved, more than 450 people have enrolled in the Skills Enhancement program. About 1/3 of those have completed training and more than 100 have obtained new jobs – earning an average of $8,800 more per year, a 71% increase in earnings.
Employers, too, have benefitted from the program as they can tap into a pool of more skilled, productive workers.
The Community Action Skills Enhancement program continues to be a solid investment in helping low-wage workers improve their economic condition and seek economic self-sufficiency, while providing a jump-start to local economies in the process.