CLIMB Wyoming, a non-profit organization, that trains and places low-income single mothers in careers that successfully support their families. Climb Wyoming’s model was developed in Cheyenne in 1986 for single mothers ages 16–21 under the name of the Fleming Young Parent Program. Recognizing this successful paradigm and the need to reach more single mothers, Wyoming community partners collaborated to aggressively expand the Young Parent Program model to serve low-income single mothers of all ages across the state. The Climb program has evolved for more than 30 years into one of the nation’s most successful models for moving families out of poverty.
The comprehensive CLIMB Wyoming Program Model includes the five phases that help move low-income single mothers out of poverty and into self-sufficient jobs: Phase 1 is dedicated to sector-based research to identify career opportunities in growing fields, and then to purposefully engage these businesses and industry groups within these growing fields. Following the businesses’ input, CLIMB works with a community college or private training entity to develop a curriculum that trains for the occupation’s required knowledge, skills and abilities. This research and planning phase ensure that staff will be able to place participants in long-term job opportunities.
Phase 2 of the project is focused on participant recruitment. Activities of this phase are also conducted year round but become more intense approximately two months prior to the comprehensive training start date, and after the requirements of the training and employment are known. CLIMB’s unique participant recruitment approach is vital to connecting well-matched, qualified and ready-to-work individuals to high-quality jobs. During this phase, program staff members assist and coach candidates to overcome obstacles such as low self-esteem, childcare, transportation and housing so that they can participate in the program.
Phase 3 moves to the comprehensive training component of the model. This phase lasts approximately two to four months depending on the job training curriculum. The comprehensive training phase develops the participants’ strengths and builds upon them through extensive training in high-demand, high-growth occupations that lead to self-sufficient wages. During this phase, CLIMB participants are guided through job training and also receive services that allow them to begin to address personal barriers to success. The comprehensive training phase includes industry specific training, work readiness training, life skills training, parenting skills training, mental health services (including both group and individual counseling) and advocacy services.
Phase 4: This phase includes two to three months of subsidized work experience followed by long-term placement. During this phase, staff members place participants into positions where they will be able to take what they learned during the comprehensive training phase and transition it to on-the-job training allowing them to build upon the skills they learned during training. Employers are reimbursed during the two to three month work experience, and staff members work closely with each employer to ensure that the participants are meeting appropriate expectations and to offer additional support or training as needed.
Phase 5: This phase is dedicated to providing ongoing support to the individual women and their families. Ongoing support has proven to be as important to the participants’ long-term success as the participant recruitment process. To continue to support the participants, CLIMB staff members meet with graduates after they finish the program to support success in the workplace and family stability. Staff members and graduates meet as a group to discuss life challenges and possible solutions as well as continually review community resources.
- Job Development and Placement