Changes in funding necessitate new long term strategy for critical Wyoming program.
(Cheyenne, WY) – CLIMB Wyoming, a nonprofit organization that trains and places single mothers in careers that successfully support their families, is dismayed to announce that as a result of decreases in public funding and long-term strategic considerations, it will discontinue its program for low income single mothers in Sweetwater County.
“It is with a broken heart that I share the news that as of October 1, 2014 we will no longer operate our Rock Springs site and discontinue services to single mothers and children in need in Sweetwater County,” said CLIMB executive director and founder Dr. Ray Fleming Dinneen. “CLIMB will be working with current program participants and program graduates to ensure we honor our commitment to them through this process.”
“The decision to discontinue services in Sweetwater County was not a short-term, reactive response to our most recent TANF award. We are grateful that the Wyoming Department of Family Services has recognized that their recent investment of $1.542 million will have significant impact on the most vulnerable families in 10 counties across our state,” said Dr. Fleming Dinneen. “This is a strategic decision to focus on our long-term sustainability. We are well positioned to continue to offer services to vulnerable families across Wyoming. We will continue to offer private donors an impactful way to invest in Wyoming’s future. And we will seek new ways to partner with Wyoming legislators to continue our critical work.”
The impact of the CLIMB program in Rock Springs has been significant, serving over 100 single mothers and 250 of their children since inception in 2007. Average monthly wages for CLIMB graduates in Sweetwater County increased from $1,117 to $3,101 and 90% of Sweetwater CLIMB graduates are still employed two years after completing the program. The Sweetwater program has also been instrumental in allowing CLIMB to develop non-traditional training solutions to meet high-demand Wyoming workforce needs.
The innovative and nationally recognized CLIMB program, which creates systemic change for single mother families in poverty by transitioning them to financial self-sufficiency through career training, will continue to serve participants in 10 counties across the state through sites in Casper, Cheyenne, Gillette, Laramie and Jackson. CLIMB’s outcomes establish it as one of the most successful poverty reduction programs both in Wyoming and nationwide, with an 89% graduation rate and 77% of participants still successfully employed two years after program completion. The average monthly wage for CLIMB participants typically doubles, increasing from $1,031 to $2,431 two years post-program. CLIMB graduates also consistently decrease their use of public support programs, on average decreasing use of food stamps from 50% to 30% and decreasing use of public healthcare from 32% to 11%.
The decision to discontinue services in Rock Springs comes after a series of reductions in Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and other funds that have been historically consistent for CLIMB. Over the past year, changes to Department of Labor, Wyoming Department of Workforce Services and Wyoming Department of Family Services TANF funding priorities have decreased CLIMB’s public funding by nearly $1 million. As a result, CLIMB has begun looking at increased private funding to help fill the gap.
“We recognized that the landscape of public funding was shifting and launched an aggressive private fundraising plan in response,” said Dr. Fleming Dinneen. “Although we have more than doubled our private fundraising dollars in just eight months, it has not been enough to offset our need for additional public support.”
About CLIMB Wyoming
Founded in 1986, CLIMB Wyoming is a statewide nonprofit organization that trains and places low income single mothers in careers that support their families. CLIMB’s comprehensive model includes partnering with local employers to develop effective training and researching workplace trends to create future opportunities. Program participants are supported through job training and employment placement as well as counseling and life skills.
CLIMB graduates consistently double their monthly income and decrease their reliance on public assistance programs. As a result, CLIMB Wyoming was recognized in 2012 as one of the nation’s top ten organizations that move families toward self-sufficiency. At CLIMB, success isn’t just about getting a job – it’s about financial independence for struggling mothers and changing the generational cycle of poverty one family at a time.