Wyoming Public Radio | By Martha Harris
Published July 30, 2021 at 3:58 PM MDT
Climb Wyoming is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year. Climb is an organization that offers job training to single, low-income mothers and helps them find work after they graduate the program. Wyoming Public Radio’s Martha Harris spoke with Katie Hogarty, the incoming CEO for Climb Wyoming, about what Climb has done in the last 35 years and how the program works.
Katie Hogarty: A mom can only come through the program one time, so our program staff feel a deep responsibility to maximize her success and make sure that she’s coming to the program at the right time for her. So say for example, if she’s maybe going through an ugly custody battle, or maybe she’s struggling with substance abuse, we really work with her to help connect her to those resources to help her through that so that she’s more ready to come through the program in the future. And once a mom is accepted into the program, four days out of the week she’s doing industry training. And we feel a strong commitment to employment, we know that our moms are coming to Climb to find a job and so we have to find the right training in that community so that there’s jobs at the end of it. So our programs are pretty diverse. We’ve done Certified Nursing Assistant training, we’ve done plumbers and pipe fitting training, CDL truck driving, office careers, we’ve done an intro to HVAC careers. Whatever jobs are out there, we want to make sure that we’re providing training for so we are really connected with business and community leaders in each of our sites to make sure that we’re providing the right training. So when we’ve identified that and then moms start the program they’re in industry training for four days a week, and the fifth day is what we call Climb Day. And that’s where I think a lot of the magic sauce happens. That’s where moms participate in group and individual counseling to really support the learning that they’re doing and identify barriers to long term success. We provide really short trainings, we know that our moms can’t afford to stay out of the workforce for very long and they really need to start the higher paying jobs as soon as possible. So, our trainings are between t eight to ten weeks on average. And towards the end of the program, we are matchmakers between an employer and a mom. We really want to make sure that we’re finding a job that’s a good fit for our moms because we know that that equals long term success.
Martha Harris: And why was Climb started?
KH: Climb was started because the state of Wyoming approached Dr. Ray Fleming Dinneen and her mom, who at that time were doing some job programs, to make their programs more effective. Poverty is a huge issue in Wyoming and for our communities. And Ray had an expertise and some ideas about ways that we could have strong outcomes. And there’s a population in need and we know that the effective solution to poverty is work.