WASHINGTON, Sept. 9, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Gracey Ibarra, a Community Action and Workforce Investment Act (WIA) participant from Inter-County Community Council in Oklee, Minnesota, was invited to sit with First Lady Michelle Obama during the President's speech on creating jobs and growing the economy yesterday evening. Betty Halvorson, Inter-County's Employment and Training Director, traveled with Ibarra and attended the speech.
Last October, Gracey Ibarra was featured as a "success story" in the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development's FY 2009 WIA Annual Report. The article notes that, although Gracey Ibarra is a young mother balancing work, school and family, she is "making success look easy." Part of the recipe for her success is her involvement in Inter-County's WIA Youth Program. With support from Inter-County and family, she was able to complete high school in 2009. Gracey Ibarra recently became a Certified Nursing Assistant and has a job at a local hospital. She hopes to continue her education and achieve her goal of becoming a registered nurse.
According to Inter-County Director Catherine Johnson, "CSBG funds make it possible for Inter-County Community Council to provide employment support services, such as WIA, to help struggling Americans like Ms. Ibarra grab hold of the American Dream."
In the FY '09 WIA report, Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development noted that "exposure to work/careers in high school improves employment prospects and short, medium, and long-term earnings. Work experience and work-related education have clear employment and income benefits for low-income youth/families."
As two of the national organizations representing the 1,000 network of Community Action Agencies and the States and territories that are fighting poverty on the State and local levels, the Community Action Partnership (Partnership) and the National Association for State Community Services Programs (NASCSP) know that Gracey's story is not unique.
"As I travel the country and meet Community Action program participants, I see people like Gracey -- hard working, determined individuals who want to work, receive training, and go back to school so they can be economically independent and provide for their families," said Don Mathis, Partnership President and CEO. Added Timothy R. Warfield, NASCSP Executive Director, "We know from our data that the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) and other Community Action programs like WIA are extremely effective in helping people escape poverty and achieve economic stability." Both Mathis and Warfield agree that, with the unemployment rate growing and the challenging economic climate, it is critical to invest in programs with proven track records that will train people and put them back to work.
Based in Washington, DC, the Community Action Partnership provides training and other services to more than 1,000 Community Action Agencies across America that are helping low-income people and families improve their lives, strengthen their communities and embody the spirit of hope. For more information, visit http://www.communityactionpartnership.com or follow the organization on Twitter, http://twitter.com/CAPartnership.
The National Association for State Community Services Programs, also known as NASCSP, is a professional association whose members are state administrators of the Department of Human Services' Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) and the U.S. Department of Energy's Weatherization Assistance Program (DOE/WAP). The mission of NASCSP is to build capacity in states to respond to poverty issues. For more information, visit http://www.nascsp.org or follow the organization on Twitter (@nascsp) and Facebook (facebook.com/nascsp)
Community Action Partnership:
Lisa Holland, 202-449-9777
National Association for State Community Services Programs:
Jeannie Chaffin, 202-624-7738
Inter County Community Council:
Catherine Johnson, Executive Director, 218-796-5144
SOURCE National Association for State Community Services Programs