The workforce development program helps people achieve their goals

CINCINNATI — Finding the right career path can be a challenge when people don’t have the resources or tools to succeed. That’s why Santa Maria Community Services of Cincinnati provides residents of low-income areas with everything they need to achieve their goals.

What do you want to know

  • Santa Maria Community Services offers an adult workforce development program for adults looking to get back on track
  • Financial literacy coaching is just one of the many services they offer
  • The program recently received a $30,000 grant from the L&L Nippert Charitable Foundation
  • Grant will help fund career education, coaching and other services

Each month, Genine Gray reviews her monthly budget sheet with Financial Literacy Coordinator Destiny Simone. Gray has been part of the Adult Workforce Development Financial Coaching Program for nine years.

It was shortly after having her first child.

“My first apartment was horrible and I came to Santa Maria,” Gray said. “I was like, ‘I need to move on. I don’t want to live on an income basis anymore. Can you please help me?

Improving her credit rating and earning an associate’s degree are just a few of the things she’s accomplished since then, and she hopes to reach her goal of becoming a homebuyer.

This is because she said the cost of rent is too high and the income she brings in as a social worker is not enough to meet the rising costs.

According to America’s Rental Housing 2022 report, demand for rental housing not only reduced vacancy rates to historic lows, but also drove up rents. It primarily affects low-income families and people of color, so learning how to budget her money is something Gray says she needs to do to achieve her goal.

“Sometimes I have to realize that you can’t always go out and do what you want to do just because you have it, just because it’s there,” she said. “You have other goals you need to apply for.”

The Adult Workforce Development Program is made possible through various funding. Recently, he received a $30,000 grant from the L&L Nippert Charitable Foundation.

It will help with job education, coaching and other services, but Simone said more funding is needed to help provide help to even more adults in need.

“They don’t necessarily know how to go about achieving the goals they’ve set for themselves,” Simone said. “So when they come to Santa Maria, we equip them with the tools they need so they can apply those skills and become better versions of themselves.”

With good credit and money saved for a down payment, Gray is well on her way to achieving her goal of owning her first home. She said it was not an easy task to save, but it was worth it for her and her children.

“Being a mother always inspires me to go further,” she said. “They deserve the best, so I give them the best.”

Michael A. Bynum