Helping single female heads of households 200 percent below the federal poverty level increase earning capacity and utilize tools to become and remain economically secure and self-sufficient is the goal of a new countywide collaborative effort – WE3: Women Empowered, Educated and Employed – being led by Lorain County Community College and funded by the United Way of Greater Lorain County.
LCCC will be joined by 11 other community organizations that all have different roles in lifting people out of poverty.
“The correlation between education and a good-paying career has never been more evident than it is in our society today. It’s critical that we help as many of our citizens as possible reach their potential and escape poverty,” said retired LCCC President Roy Church.
The Collaborative will develop an approach to deliver services to this specific population in our county that will enable them to get out of poverty within three to five years, Church noted.
Targeting this particular group with services to help them can go a long way in alleviating poverty in the county, according to LCCC President Marcia Ballinger.
“Nearly 38 percent of Lorain County families headed by single mothers are living in poverty,” Ballinger said. “That’s an overwhelming number of people in poverty and it’s in all of our best interests to help them achieve financial independence and success.”
“We see that working women are often struggling so very hard to carry the needs of their families while juggling a career, and don’t have opportunities to take advantage of the employment programs currently available in the community. WE3 will target programming to these hard-working women during non-traditional times in order to become more accessible and to meet the special challenges that working women experience when raising families alone,” said United Way of Greater Lorain County executive director Bill Harper.
Several of the Collaborative objectives include:
- Addressing significant barriers to success (child care, transportation, financial emergencies).
- Helping women who are balancing the demands of work and family achieve success in their career pathway.
- Helping women explore or pursue enterprise development as another option for increasing financial earnings.
- Assist single women who are heads of households with job readiness tools to gain a sustainable living wage.
One additional element this collaborative will seek to address is the ability of all of the partner organizations to have a better understanding of what services each provides the community and decrease duplication of services.
“At the Elyria Public Library we get inquiries from patrons who are seeking the types of services that our collaborative partners offer, but neither they nor we know where to turn first for help,” said Lyn Crouse, director of the Elyria Public Library System. “Unifying into one resource sharing network with common applications, knowledge of each other’s programs and services, and the name of a contact person we can call directly to ask on a patron’s behalf, is the best way to deliver customer satisfaction and truly help people,”
The other partners of the WE3 Collaborative are:
Elyria Public Library (EPL)
Elyria YWCA (YWCA)
Lorain City Schools (LCS)
Lorain County Community Action Agency (LCCAA)
Lorain County Department of Jobs & Family Services (ODJFS)
Lorain County Joint Vocational Services (LCJVS)
Lorain County Urban League (LCUL)
Oberlin College—Bonner Center for Service and Learning (BCSL)
Oberlin Community Services (OCS)
Lorain County Workforce Development Agency
The United Way of Greater Lorain County
For more information about the WE3 Collaborative, call (440) 366-4192.