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Career Paths for Rural Families
The Career Paths for Rural Families project will transform the lives of up to 50 families living in poverty in rural Travis, Williamson, Bastrop and Hays counties by sponsoring education and providing personal development assistance to the heads of household.
This education will allow them to obtain a degree or certification toward a career that pays a true living wage and offers benefits. The project will pay for participant’s tuition, fees, books, childcare, transportation and emergency expenses, as well as provide case management to keep each participant motivated in their coursework and to assist them in times of personal need. Twenty-five individuals will graduate and enter career employment within the two-year project period, transforming the long-term economic prospects of their families. An additional 20 will complete 3 or more semesters of coursework and will graduate after the two-year Project period.
The project sponsored education and provided personal development assistance to the heads of household. Participants earn a degree or certification for a career that pays a true living wage and offers benefits.
The project paid for participants’ tuition, fees, books, childcare, transportation and emergency expenses, as well as provided case management to keep each participant motivated in their coursework and to assist them in times of personal need.
Capital IDEA enrolled 50 participants as planned in the project: 27 participants from Williamson County, five from Bastrop County, six from Hays County, and 12 from rural Travis County. They projected a retention rate of 90% and achieved a retention rate of 94%: three participants dropped from the project.
Due to tough economic conditions during the grant period, program graduates took longer to find employment and average wages were lower than in past years. At the same time, Capital IDEA has experienced a sharp increase in demand for these services. They are exploring new ways to assist participants and have added support during the job search by conducting mock interviews and helping refine resumes.
Capital IDEA has been fortunate with other funding sources during the Impact Austin grant period. Most notably, the State Legislature passed the Launchpad/Jobs and Education for Texans (JET) Fund, and Capital IDEA received a $500,000 JET grant for the Austin area and an additional $225,000 for the Rural Capital Area (the 9-county region surrounding Travis County).