Earning A Livable Wage in Boulder
A Family’s JUMP Forward in Boulder County
Following a divorce, Angie did everything she could to take care of her five young children, including twin grandsons. But after nearly two decades as a stay-at-home mom raising her oldest children, she could not find a job making a livable wage. Her opportunities were limited to minimum wage jobs that didn’t cover her mortgage. She and her children were eventually evicted from their home.
Connecting single parents to on-the-job training
Amid this crisis, Angie found a new home in transitional housing at Boulder’s Emergency Family Assistance Association (EFAA). There, she discovered a program between EFAA and Workforce Boulder County that connects low-income single parents with on-the-job training that boosts their earning potential. This program, now called JUMP (Job Uptake for Motivated Parents), launched with grant funding from WFCO.
“The Women’s Foundation was pleased to help EFAA pilot this innovative program,” said Louise Myrland, vice president of programs at The Women’s Foundation. “It sets moms up for success with a full spectrum of resources for women and their families while they pursue work-based learning opportunities and prepare for careers where they can earn a livable wage.”
Offering a full spectrum of support
Through JUMP, Angie secured a paid internship as an administrative assistant at a Head Start site, where her grandsons also blossomed in the high-quality early education program. The position also gave her flexibility to care for her children and grandchildren while building her professional skills. At the same time, EFAA offered a full spectrum of support, linking Angie to transportation resources, helping her get much-needed glasses, and providing groceries through its food pantry.
“Working in a professional setting boosted my self-confidence,” Angie explained. “At first I was not sure how much I would know or be able to do, but I learned there’s a lot of things I’m good at.”
Now a JUMP graduate, she’s found a job as a bus aide with the local school district and is pursuing additional training to move into a higher-paying bus driver position. She also works part time as an in-home aide. And she and her family moved into a new home.
Parents and caregivers doubling their salaries
“The change in my economic security is like night and day,” Angie said. “EFAA did so much to help me get here. I found a community, and my kids are doing really well. Eventually I want to own my own home and save a little more money. I want to give back, too, to help others like we’ve been helped,” Angie said.
In JUMP’s first year, EFAA worked with 17 parents and caregivers. On average, participants who finished the program more than doubled their salaries.
“Thanks to funding from The Women’s Foundation, EFAA was able to launch this pilot program – a program that has had such success and positive impact on working families that Workforce is pursuing funding to expand the number of paid internship slots,” said Julie Van Domelen, EFAA’s executive director. “This financial mobility can help a family’s long-term well being, especially as it relates to children. When it comes to working toward ending generational poverty, combining Workforce employment training with comprehensive family support and coaching can have an enormous impact.”
Because of JUMP’s successful pilot year, Workforce is now exploring opportunities to replicate the program in Boulder to help even more families like Angie’s move toward a livable wage.