PHOTO CAPTION: Partners in the effort to re-open CLIMB Wyoming to serve the Sweetwater community celebrate CLIMB’s return during a press conference on Thursday, July 30, 2015.
Front row from left: Rock Springs Chamber of Commerce CEO Dave Hanks, Green River Mayor Pete Rust, Rock Springs Mayor Carl Demshar, Commissioner Don Van Matre and Senator. Bernadine Craft
Back row from left: Senator John Hastert, CLIMB Executive Director Ray Fleming Dinneen, Sweetwater County Commissioner Randy “Doc” Wendling, Rock Springs Councilman Tim Savage, Councilwoman Glennise Wendorf, Commissioner John Kolb, Representative JoAnn Dayton and Representative John Freeman.
(Cheyenne, WY – August 3, 2015) Late Thursday afternoon, legislative, county and city officials from the Sweetwater community joined CLIMB founder and executive director Dr. Ray Fleming Dinneen during a press conference for an exciting announcement in Rock Springs, WY.
“Thanks to an increased diversification in our funding, including financial support from the Sweetwater County Commissioners, a willingness to investigate future funding opportunities from the cities of Rock Springs and Green River, and the ongoing support from our private and corporate donors in the region, CLIMB Wyoming is thrilled to announce that we will re-open our program in the Sweetwater community,” said Dr. Fleming Dinneen, founder and executive director of CLIMB Wyoming.
Since departing the Sweetwater area in October 2014, CLIMB Wyoming has also secured two new public funding opportunities with the Employment and Training Division of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and access to new state funding for job placement and training for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) eligible families that was passed by the legislature in early 2015. The state funding will provide a match for CLIMB’s private and corporate donations in the coming year.
Senator Bernadine Craft spoke about the impact that CLIMB Wyoming has on single mother families, and the importance of the community coming together to ensure that CLIMB has the local support they need to be sustainable over the long term.
“We are doing this so we never have the heartbreak of having to pull a program that changes lives from Sweetwater County,” said Senator Craft.
Sweetwater commissioner Don Van Matre thanked his fellow commissioners for their willingness to quickly approve a $30,000 financial commitment to CLIMB during their recent budget session.
Private supporters of the Sweetwater CLIMB program include Solvay, the Wyoming Community Foundation of Rock Springs and the Rocky Mountain Power Foundation.
“The Rocky Mountain Power Foundation is proud to be a long-time partner with CLIMB Wyoming, helping change the lives of single mothers in poverty across Wyoming,” says Rita Meyer, Wyoming vice president. “At CLIMB, success isn’t just about learning a trade or getting a job. It’s about transforming lives for the future and changing the generational cycle of poverty, one family at a time. These women gain an empowering sense of accomplishment, and an invaluable sense of self-worth, as they are able to support their families.”
According to the 2013 American Community Survey by the U.S. Census Bureau, in Rock Springs 41% of single mother families lived in poverty. That number increases to 58% in families with children under five.
In announcing that the City of Rock Springs will look for ways to help fund the CLIMB program in the future, Rock Springs Mayor Carl Demshar shared that “The more people have the opportunity to improve their station in life, the better off our community as a whole will be.”
Green River Mayor Pete Rust shared that he had spent some time speaking to a recent CLIMB graduate who works for the city of Green River.
“She is making a livable wage, and she has moved into a role where she is training the new hires in her department, but what she wanted to talk most about was the changes in herself – that she felt confident and able to succeed thanks to going through the CLIMB program,” he said.
The average graduation rate for Sweetwater CLIMB participants is 93% and the average monthly income of participants increased from $1,073 to $3,051 two years after graduating from the CLIMB program.
Rock Springs Chamber of Commerce executive director Dave Hanks spoke about the need for skilled workers throughout the community and the positive impact of trained and motivated CLIMB graduates for the local workforce.
The Sweetwater Area CLIMB program was established in 2007 and serves an average of 20 participants per year, in trainings that include Warehouse Technicians, Inventory Technicians, Certified Nursing Assistants and CDL-certified drivers.
CLIMB Wyoming plans to launch the first of two annual programs in Spring 2016.
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. The comprehensive CLIMB program model includes partnerships with local employers to develop effective trainings, and researching workplace trends to create future opportunities. Program participants are supported through job training and 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 out of poverty and in 2014 by the Wyoming Department of Family Services for helping single mothers climb out of poverty. To date, the program has helped more than 1,800 Wyoming families reach self-sufficiency, the effects of which will be felt for generations to come. For more information visit www.climbwyoming.org.