The Women’s Fund of Greater Birmingham’s Collaboration Institute recently selected Jefferson State Community College and the YWCA’s SMILE Program (Single Moms Invested, Learning and Empowered) for funding of $25,000 to increase career opportunities for single moms.
Six teams consisting of nearly 20 public and private organizations completed a nine-month process and presented proposals to a committee of Women’s Fund Board members, community members, community funders, and past program participants. The SMILE Program was one of two programs selected for funding.
“The SMILE program is an eleven-week, non-credit certificate program designed to create career opportunity and advancement for single mothers in the city of Birmingham while their children receive quality education and childcare services,” said Jefferson State Director of Workforce Education Kay Potter. “This scholarship opportunity will enable twelve mothers to increase their education, economic supports, social capital, and overall well-being.”
Interested single mothers whose children attend the YWCA’s nationally accredited Child Development Center or its after school programs will train in Jefferson State’s Dental Assistant Program. This program prepares students to enter the field of dental care, a field offering high wages and has a growing demand in our state.
“We know that asking these agencies to set time aside to work together is asking a lot. It’s hard to do something in a way you have never done it before. But we believe that collaboration is the new face of philanthropy. If we can break down the silos, we can create real, lasting change for women in Birmingham. We’ve seen it work,” says Jeanne Jackson, President/CEO of The Women’s Fund.
Each team will be awarded $25,000 in start-up funds and $8,000 for an AmeriCorps member or paid intern. Team Members for this project include: YWCA Central Alabama, Jefferson State Community College, Dr. Jeffrey R. Gilbert, DMD, and Faith Walkers Church.