By Dr. Daniel Prescott
Researchers from the Dallas Poverty Task Force have just convincingly proved that the poverty rate in Dallas has reached a critical tipping point. Among the most shocking findings in the report: 90 percent of Dallas’ jobs are north of I-30. More than half of Dallas’ households have a median income less than $50,000 a year and 28.4 percent make less than $25,000 per year.
This is unsustainable for the community we call home. To shore up combined efforts to tackle this tipping point, members of the Dallas Poverty Task Force are coming up with various solutions within our communities to address key shortcomings. These include transportation access, educational opportunity, positive development, affordable housing, and job opportunities.
That last initiative-job opportunity is at the heart of a brand new program Transformance is pushing. Its acronym is CLASP, which stands for Career Ladder Advancing Single Parents. CLASP is a pilot project that will develop and test a combined impact approach to moving single parents from poverty to an entry point on a career path that can lead to economic well-being and personal satisfaction.
CLASP is a multi-agency collaboration designed to train and equip single parents in Dallas for warehouse logistics and provide the resources necessary to make long-lasting financial and lifestyle changes. Each participating nonprofit organization will serve to meet a different need for these families. The participating nonprofits include Mountain View College, Wright Resource Group, Inspiring Tomorrow’s Leaders, Workforce Solutions Greater Dallas, Services of Hope, Priceless Child Care and Learning Centers, Northwest Community Center, Amazon.com and Transformance.
There is a specific geographic location for our efforts, as the program will concentrate on the Vickery Meadows community and other poverty areas in Area A as defined by the City of Dallas. Interested individuals must qualify for the program. First, you must reside in one of the following zip codes: 75231, 75230, 75220, 75225, 75229, and 75244. In addition, you must be a single parent, not be enrolled in school, have a high school diploma or equivalent, be eligible to work in the U.S. and have a current household income of $34,687 or less.
What’s at stake if you participate in the CLASP program? Each individual who meets the requirements will be included in a free 114-hour training program and have the opportunity to begin a new career with a Fortune 500 employer, Amazon.com.
What will make the CLASP program a successful opportunity is the assistance you can and will receive. The program partners listed above will assist with transportation, childcare and other basic necessities, freeing you up once and for all to pursue gainful, steady and secure employment with an accredited employer. All you need is the true desire to break the cycle you’re trapped in, be it poverty, with no access to child care, or both. The CLASP program is specifically designed to break down the barriers that are preventing you access to a decent job.
Individuals accepted to the program will receive state-of-the-art workforce readiness, credentialing training, financial education, assistance transitioning into positions, and intensive support to succeed. And it doesn’t cost a dime.
Once you’ve finished the five-week CLASP program, here’s what you can expect. Upon completion of the course, you will be awarded a Certified Logistics Associate (CLT) certification, qualifying you for warehouse work with Amazon.com. But you’ll get more than just the associate certification. You’ll also receive intensive lessons in work readiness, soft-skill training, leadership development, and financial literacy.
Once you’re placed in employment with Amazon.com, Transformance and the other participating nonprofits will continue to monitor your career and financial growth. The CLASP program calls for an additional six months of post-employment guidance, with support for progress on the career ladder, while increasing your financial capability to protect and grow your new earnings.
For those of you who qualify for this CLASP program, this is a calling. It could be a critical chance to change your current fortunes and start you on a path to both job security and financial independence. For the communities of Area A, this could be a real game changer. Many of our underserved live in this densely packed community of over 38,000 residents. We’re looking to recruit a few dozen special people who may not think they have a current way forward. With the CLASP program, you do.
You can find more information on the CLASP program by visiting Transformance’s website, where a special section is located at http://www.transformanceusa.org/clasp.
As a participant in the CLASP program, Transformance is always available to answer your questions and assist you via our website, www.transformanceusa.org or by calling 1-800-249-2227.
Dr. Daniel B. Prescott, Jr. is the CEO of Dallas-based Transformance Inc., a fully integrated financial services capability nonprofit. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.