Washington Women's Employment and Education Programs
REACH Plus (Reaching Employability & Achieving Career Habits)
REACH Plus is a 5-week, 160-175 hour job-readiness and computer training class for low-income individuals and welfare recipients which is designed to help participants re-discover their self-esteem, upgrade their skills, work habits, attitudes, computer knowledge, and overall employability. In conjunction with REACH Plus we provide financial literacy which assists our low-income participants in becoming self-sufficient by improving their knowledge of financial literacy through a series of interactive workshops.
Housing Bridge to Self-Sufficiency (HBSS)
HBSS is a housing assistance program which aims to reduce the dependency of low-income, homeless (or near homeless) families on government assistance by providing them with rental assistance and case management services to help them obtain the education, employment, business, and social skills necessary to achieve self-sufficiency.
Including individual mentoring/coaching; professional dress classes; job retention and progression coaching. Our Employment Services Department assists participants with job leads, and builds connections to local employers which lead to direct placements for our clients. WWEE provides at least 2 years of follow-up services to aid participants as they transition into full-time self supporting careers.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
Mallory is a 26-year-old single mother now living in Sumner. As a child, she was intermittently homeless and when she came to WWEE about three years ago, she had recently given birth to her second child. Without a high school diploma or GED, she had waitressed for a living, but never really supported herself. At the time, another local nonprofit, Helping Hand House, sheltered Mallory and her children, and, as a condition of assistance, required her to enroll in WWEE’s REACH Plus™ training program.
Mallory recalls being a reluctant participant initially, but now credits WWEE for providing the tools and inspiration to transform her life. At WWEE, she tuned up her computer skills, revamped her resume and modified her demeanor. Almost immediately after her WWEE graduation, she was hired by a Kent medical equipment company, where she presently earns $15.50 an hour as the lead customer service representative. Using her own wages, she rents an apartment, pays her own day-care fees and no longer needs food stamps. She was so proud of herself that she came to the WWEE reunion eager to share the news of her success. “WWEE helped me get to where I needed to go,” she said.
Currently, our organization is focused on expanding our Employment Services Department with connections to a greater number of local employers as well as supported pathways to the trades. As successful as our programs are, making connections to employers which provide positions with living wage salaries and benefit packages is a significant step for our participants as they embark on a career.