CAP Services’ is recognizing the 20th anniversary of its Skills Enhancement Program.
Designed as a result of input from low-income households, the program removes the financial barriers that low-income households face in paying for training that could increase their ability to compete for living-wage jobs.
The program helps with tuition, books and training-related transportation and childcare costs that participants could not otherwise afford. Participants must continue to work at least 20 hours per week to be eligible for services.
Originally offered in Outagamie County, CAP expanded services to Portage County in 1998 and in Waupaca and Waushara Counties in 2000.
According to Vice President Nicole Harrison, the 2010 graduates achieved an average increase in annual earned income of $11,758. hirty-one (67 percent) now also have access to employer-sponsored health insurance.
Most of the funding for the program comes from area United Ways, foundations, individuals and businesses. For the last 30 months, the program also has received limited governmental support.
CAP President Mary Patoka said since the program began in 2001, 616 participants have completed their training program, and increased their annual earned income by an average of $10,527.
Graduates obtained jobs in health care, business and banking, education, service industries, criminal justice and manufacturing. Last year’s graduates took an average of 28 months to complete their training.
“We support the program because it has one of the highest returns on investment of any charitable gift that we support,” according to Tom Boldt, CEO of Boldt Co., an Appleton-based construction business. “Finding qualified employees is a major task of our business and every business in our state. I believe the Skills Enhancement Program expands that pool, directs participants into job choices that provide longer-term opportunities and reinforces positive behaviors. These participants want to work, succeed and realize the promise of the American dream.”
CAP Services offers the Skills Enhancement Program to people whose income is at or below 150 percent of the federal poverty level of $16,335 for an individual, with increases of $5,730 for each additional household member.
To be eligible, participants must be working and continue working at least 20 hours a week while enrolled, and must pursue training for occupations that pay a living wage and typically offer employer-sponsored health insurance. There are 213 participants currently enrolled in the program.
For more information, visit www.capservices.org and click on Human Development Department Programs or contact Andrew Konkel at 920-968-6365.