A child's success is tied to his or her family's stability and well-being, which is why CAP Tulsa uses a two-generation approach to address intergenerational poverty. The two-generation approach integrates both educational opportunities for young children with evidence-based educational, workforce readiness and parenting programs for their parents.
CAP Tulsa provides free early-childhood education and workforce training to families and helps place parents in health care careers, thus building financial security. Called CareerAdvance, the training program offers coaching and job placement for parents of children 8 years old or younger.
The program pairs participants with coaches who work with them to identify their educational and career goals. It helps them build the academic skills needed to enter a health care training program, earn a certificate, get a job with partner employers, receive peer support, and use financial tools and resources effectively.
Before CareerAdvance, Keilula* viewed her life as hopeless. After having her first child at age 16 and being forced to rely on government assistance, she felt all odds were against her and she would never amount to anything. She knew in her heart she did not want to continue depending on others to make ends meet. However, Keilula was hindered by a low reading level and feared she would never earn the education she desired.
When Keilula came to CAP Tulsa, she applied for the CareerAdvance program and was overjoyed when she was accepted. CareerAdvance provided her with classes to improve her reading and math skills, which gave her the confidence to persist until she earned a degree in health information technology.
"I now feel like I'm assisting the community by becoming self-sufficient," she says. "I now know that where you came from does not mean that is where you'll end up. I feel like I have done a justice to my society by going back to school and furthering my education."
In addition to her own advancement, Keilula knows her son has watched her and has been positively affected by her progress. "My son's future is going to be so much brighter. He watched how hard I worked in school, and that sparked an interest in his own life. He thinks, ‘If mom can do it, I can do it.' I'm so thrilled and so excited to see what the future has in store for us now."
A recent study by Northwestern University evaluated the impact of CareerAdvance on participants and their children. The study demonstrated that CareerAdvance successfully promotes education and employment and improves children's school attendance. It also found that pairing Head Start services with job training for parents produces positive outcomes for both.
*She asked that her last name not be used.