Finding paths to self-sufficiency

How can EFAA help people increase their potential to rise out of poverty and toward self-sufficiency in the future? The answers to this question drive the evolution of our safety-net services so that they serve as a springboard toward a better future.

The average EFAA family of three currently earns about $13,000 annually, a far cry from the almost $70,000 that would be needed to achieve self-sufficiency, where no public or private support would be needed. The barriers to economic stability and upward mobility are significant. The good news is that unemployment in Boulder County is currently at its lowest rate since 2000. But, for most workers here and across the country, real wages have barely budged for decades, and have not shown much of a bounce coming out of the recent recession. With rapidly rising housing and child care costs, the route to a better future for working families lies in better paying jobs.

With funding from the Women’s Foundation of Colorado, EFAA is currently piloting an approach to help motivated single mothers get better jobs and increase their long-term earning potential. Throughout the program, titled Internships to Careers for Motivated Moms, EFAA case managers will work with a number of single mothers to help them access Workforce Boulder County internships – a County program that has a success rate of over 80 percent of interns subsequently finding career jobs – and support them through the process. EFAA will seek to lower barriers to success by providing direct financial assistance for transportation, child care, food and other critical needs for these working mothers to be able to participate in the internships. EFAA case managers will also provide participants help with financial management, goal setting and other life skills to boost their chances of success.

Working is the best antidote for poverty, but only if wages and incomes are sufficient to provide for a viable livelihood. Our goal is to support the folks that come though our doors with their immediate needs of stability, while continuing to explore ways of promoting longer-term pathways to self-sufficiency.

Click here to learn more about EFAA’s Internships to Careers for Motivated Moms program

By Julie Van Domelen, EFAA Executive Director

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