Pilot program seeks to help those needing employment

An initiative seeking to lift people out of poverty is being introduced in Bartholomew County after a successful pilot program that began two years ago in Jackson County.

Human Services Inc., which provides housing vouchers, WIC assistance and other services in a five-county region, is rolling out its Coaching for Success initiative that is targeted toward low-income Bartholomew County individuals, said Donna Taylor, deputy director for Human Services Inc.

Taylor said the program in Jackson County has been successful in assisting clients with their needs. That initiative has helped five individuals and two couples, said Missy Woods, program coordinator.

Two active participants and their families are currently involved in the Jackson County program, Woods said.

To participate, individuals must be at or 150 percent below federal poverty guidelines. Prospective clients will be required to go through an in-take evaluation process to determine whether they are eligible.

Individuals taking part in the initiative meet with coaches each week to develop short- and long-term goals that they can work on. That may involve improving their work history or job skills when they meet with their coaches, Taylor said.

If an individual isn’t working or has no vehicle, the agency will try to provide assistance in finding employment or reliable transportation for them, she said.

“The purpose is to break the cycle of poverty for as long as they need our support,” Taylor said.

She has an initial goal of helping anywhere from five to 10 people in Bartholomew County this year, adding that the success of individuals taking part is all participant- and household-driven.

Taylor hopes to eventually expand the initiative to other counties that Human Services Inc. serves. The agency is also seeking individuals and businesses willing to help clients as part of the initiative being rolled out locally.

Any interested parties are asked to contact Human Services Inc.

“It’s going to take a community to connect a community,” Taylor said. “We’re definitely not going to be able to stand alone in this.”

More information

For more information on the Coaching for Success initiative, call Human Services Inc. at 812-372-8407 or visit its office located at 4355 E. County Road 600 North in Columbus.

Author photo
Matt Kent is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at 812-379-5712 or mkent@therepublic.com