Arizona has one of the highest poverty rates in the United States, and this poverty disproportionately affects women and children. Seventy-nine percent of the state’s single-parent families live in poverty and are headed by women, and 24% of Arizona’s children live in extreme poverty. At the same time, Arizona has a failing education system. The state ranks 45th in the nation for educational quality and has a high-school dropout rate that is among the highest in the country, at over 23%. This climate of high-poverty and low-education traps Arizonans in a cycle of generational poverty, which is when a parent’s poverty hinders the emotional, cognitive, and behavioral development, as well as the educational and professional attainment, of their children. Generational poverty spurs higher poverty rates with each subsequent generation. This becomes everyone’s problem as high poverty rates lead to higher taxes, higher rates of incarceration, higher crime, and less stable communities.
Live and Learn’s research-based economic empowerment program seeks to end this cycle. We are a Phoenix-area nonprofit that serves women whose lives have been affected by severe poverty, violence, and homelessness. Our mission is to break the cycle of generational poverty through life-skills and career training for women that leads to financial self-sufficiency. Live and Learn was founded in 2012 as an initiative of the Diane and Bruce Halle Foundation. The Live and Learn Program piloted under the umbrella of the Arizona Foundation for Women for three years with great success. Having proved its efficacy, Live and Learn became an independent 501(c)3 in 2015.
Our program works by providing structured, individualized support to clients. This support focuses on the five crucial aspects needed to reach economic independence: education, career planning, psycho-social support, life-skills development, and financial literacy. Success in the Live and Learn program is achieved when clients complete training and education programs in areas with high employment demand, when there is a realistic opportunity for clients to pursue further education and advancement in their field, and when clients secure and retain employment that offers a livable wage. Eighty-five percent of women who enter our program successfully complete it within two years, allowing them to lift themselves out of poverty and create a better future for their children.
Kristin Chatsworth has been our Program Coordinator since 2015, when Live and Learn became an independent 501(c)3. Her passion for our mission and clients has made her a vital part of our team. In her role as Program Coordinator, Ms. Chatsworth oversees the Client Coordinators, assists with clients in crisis, and coordinates the supplemental support offered to clients. Ms. Chatsworth has a B.S. in Finance from the University of Arizona and an MBA from Chapman University.
Arizona Career Pathways is a workforce development intermediary program that responds to the needs of workers and key employers. Our mission is to demonstrate the substantial social and economic benefits that are achieved through investment in long-term credential and degree attainment for those who otherwise would not have the opportunity. Arizona Career Pathways defines the needs, identifies resources and brokers relationships that impact the education and training of a quality workforce, regional economic sustainability, and business growth.
Arizona Career Pathways recruits individuals who are unemployed, welfare dependent and/or underserved, living at or below 200% of the U.S. Poverty Guideline. Participants receive long-term job training resulting in a nationally recognized certificate or degree in a high demand Allied Health occupation that leads to high skill, high wage employment with benefits. High demand occupations are defined in collaboration with area workforce and economic agencies and key area employers. Examples of supported programs include Medical Assisting, Nursing, Physical Therapy Assisting, Surgical Technology, EEG/END, and Respiratory Therapy.
Arizona Career Pathways provides case management and life skills coaching, financial assistance, peer mentoring, job placement assistance, and other valuable support services to ensure successful educational attainment and long- term career success. ACP’s proven program model provides our students with the support and motivation required for them to achieve the workforce skills and experience that will help them to develop occupational skills, degree and certificate attainment, and the confidence that will ensure their employability. Arizona Career Pathways consistently implements and adapts innovative programs and advance systems to track program outcomes.
Kerrie Adney-Walker joined ACP in March 2011 and is currently serving as the agency’s Director/Counselor. Prior to joining ACP, Ms. Adney-Walker worked as an Academic Advisor in a university setting guiding students toward successful degree completion. Additionally, Ms. Adney-Walker has extensive experience in social services and case management empowering individuals with disabilities to thrive by helping them achieve their personal goals. In addition to holding a BA and two Master’s Degrees in Education, Ms. Adney-Walker is uniquely qualified to assist students seeking opportunity through education.
Widowed at a very young age, Ms. Adney-Walker worked full-time while trying to finish school and raising four sons on her own. She has faced the same types of barriers many of the current students also face – work, finances, childcare, transportation, time. This experience provides valuable insight into possible solutions and offers hope that despite a difficult situation, students can finish their education!
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