Welfare is no longer an option for many single moms – there is still a lot of work to do to improve the socioeconomic status of single moms and their children. The Single Moms at Work Program is a partnership with single moms to inspire self-efficacy, empower parenting and strengthen communities where they live. We’re interested in addressing the underlying issues involved in helping single moms move from surviving to thriving.
We understand that many single moms living in Oakland have not reached their social and economic potential. Not only do moms have to face the challenge of earning an adequate income, but they also have to develop the personal and professional competencies that will allow them to reach an acceptable quality of life for their families.
Our Single Moms at Work program helps single moms transition from public assistance into gainful employment using a 12-month transitional employment and education model. We hire single moms who are ready and motivated to make a life change to work in our thrift stores. During the program, we help them develop basic workplace and professional skills, acquire retail and customer service training, and gain access to safety net services that promote self-efficacy and economic mobility. We focus on helping single moms develop the following competencies:
- Personal Development, or the development of interpersonal skills that promote self-esteem and life success)
- Professional Development, or the development of soft-skills that promote a successful transition into the work environment, including communication skills, customer service techniques, problem-solving skills and teamwork
- Social Capital, or access to resources and networks that improve the individual’s socioeconomic status, including education opportunities, career-pathways, life supports, and employment opportunities
- Financial Capital, or assets such as personal savings or tax programs that leverage assets for low-income individuals
At approximately the ninth month of employment at our stores, we start working with each single mom to create and implement a strategic job search plan. We work with each program participant to transition from working in our stores into unsubsidized employment. Since 2009, we have helped 15 single parents successfully transition from welfare to either full-time employment or further education.