Started by WFSA in 2020, the Foundation has incubated the Pathways for Single Moms program which helps single mothers obtain a certificate in growing fields that pay sustainable wages. The program has recently received state funding to scale its work across Arizona in partnership with nonprofit organizations and educational institutions.
In Arizona, there are nearly half a million full-time working women who lack a college degree, including over 70,000 single mothers. Among the five most commonly held occupations for single mothers of young children, none provide a median wage higher than $30,000. Without a path to further education, these mothers cannot increase their earning potential.
“One of our priorities at WFSA is rebuilding the workforce with women in mind after COVID unraveled decades of economic progress. We’ve done this through legislation and the Pathways for Single Moms Program, designed to break the barriers preventing mothers from accessing higher-paying careers. The YWCA of Southern Arizona is a great partner as we establish the Pathways program permanently in the region,” said Emma Fryer, WFSA’s Chief Strategy Officer and Interim CEO.
The Pathways for Single Moms Program employs a multi-pronged approach that fundamentally shifts the future of low-income families by providing access to a combination of educational and economic opportunities to equip mothers with the tools they need to become economically self-sufficient.
Pathways provides wraparound support in a variety of areas that are common roadblocks prohibiting single moms from going to school, including tuition costs, equipment expenses, childcare, transportation, and navigating the enrollment process. Those accepted into the Pathways program will be awarded 100% paid tuition for a one-year certificate in technical education, as well as Quality-First/kindergarten-ready childcare. They will also receive a stipend to use towards living expenses, computer equipment, transportation, and more, as well as emergency funds. Participants will also receive ongoing coaching, planning and career services.
Using a multi-generational framework, the program is focused on breaking the cycle of poverty for single mothers by supporting both the mom and her children as she pursues education in growing fields that pay sustainable wages.
With a focus on women’s wellness, leadership, and economic justice, YWCA Southern Arizona is equipped to provide wrap-around supports including case management; access to free professional clothing and hygiene supplies; classes and coaching for participants interested in starting their own businesses; financial wellness, digital literacy, and career skills training; and wellness programs such as the Women’s Counseling Network, providing referrals to free counseling for women without insurance coverage.
“At YWCA, we are excited to partner with the Women’s Foundation to continue Pathways for Single Moms in Southern Arizona, and grateful for their trust. We believe the Pathways program will be a crucial component of the work we will do this year to advance economic justice for our women, making measurable gains in livelihood for families who have been affected by the pandemic’s devastating impact on women in the workforce. We will work to ensure that this vital program remains equitable and reflects the diversity of our community, and we are looking forward to hosting the Pathways program at the YWCA,” said Magdalena Verdugo, YWCA Southern Arizona’s CEO.
This successful program is preparing to expand into Central and Northern Arizona with the support of the Governor’s Office, members of the State Legislature, and nonprofit partners like YWCA supporting mothers on their paths to self-sufficiency.
To enroll, applicants must fill out the online application form. Eligible candidates will be scheduled for a brief interview to learn of their career goals and barriers with a dedicated Pathways staff who will guide them throughout the onboarding process with Pima Community College and community partners.
Pathways for Single Moms is now enrolling participants for the fall semester. Click here to learn more and apply >>