Economic mobility is the ability for someone to change their income or wealth. For instance, if we can grow an individual’s income the whole community benefits. We also know when more working individuals and families can stop walking a financial tightrope and get on solid ground, they are more likely to have access to quality health care, provide a good education for their children and contribute to their local economies.
At United Way of Whitewater Valley, we know the problems facing our community are not simple to solve. Many times, there are root cause issues that do not allow an individual to access upward economic mobility. Outcomes cannot be changed until the root problem is addressed. One of the roots causes issues for many families to lack educational attainment and financial literacy.
Forward Wayne County is one organization that is focused on increasing the educational attainment percentages in Wayne County. As of 2018, only 29% of Wayne County’s adults, ages 25-64, have an associate degree or higher. Forward Wayne County has a goal to increase this number by 1% each year and to reach 35% by 2025. To achieve this goal, they have established the Employability Coalition. This coalition will take a collective and collaborative approach to create programs and initiatives that will help individuals access certifications and education that will help them increase their annual income.
Financial Literacy and Security
The path to financial security is not straightforward for everyone. Some people are not taught the information they need to be financially literate. For Instance, without tools like budgeting and retirement investing, families can struggle to make ends meet. This can lead to financial instability that can take years for the family to recover from. For more than 10,00 families living below the poverty line in Wayne and Union counties, money is tight. Making it more difficult is their lack of information about how to manage their funds.
United Way Whitewater Valley supports organizations, like Natco Community Empowerment Center, that provide resources to families to help them get on their feet. They provide them with connections and information that changes the way they live their lives. These organizations connect families to employment services, financial coaching, and income support.
- Employment services give individuals opportunities for better job options. The goal is to get them into positions that will increase their living wage.
- Financial coaching gives families the tools they need to manage their money. Money management can significantly improve lives.
- Especially during the COVID pandemic, income support is a lifeline for many families. Income support helps families make ends meet.
All these resources are giving families in our community the ability to achieve financial security. In other words, this allows them to provide better opportunities for themselves and those they care for. Economic mobility is not something that will change overnight. Many times, individuals are trying to break habits they have developed over decades. However, the organizations we support understand this and are working every day to provide resources and intervention for all families who need them in Wayne and Union counties.
How Can YOU Help?
You may be asking how you can help? By supporting United Way Whitewater Valley, you can make an impact on economic mobility in our counties. We ensure funds go to reputable organizations that are making an impact. Financial security and literacy do not just impact that family. Instead, it improves the economic stability of the entire community. The lower the poverty rate in Wayne and Union counties the better the economy will be doing. Families improving their financial situation is in the best interest of the entire community. Economic mobility does not just focus on getting funds into the hands of families in need, it also provides long-term solutions to improve financial security.
Each year we reflect on the impact we had in the previous year. Our goal is to show our donors and supporters the positive impact they have had on our four focus areas. Because of this display the impact United Way Whitewater Valley has had through our Global Framework Documents. They focus on four key areas youth success, early childhood education, economic mobility, and access to health.
In 2019, United Way of Whitewater Valley had an impact on economic mobility. Because of our donors, 68 individuals and families gained access to services helping them improve financial stability and affordable housing. One hundred percent of the families helped increased their disposable income and decreased their overall household costs. Two staff members were also able to receive training to deliver quality services to the community. Economic mobility is not just making a change in the lives of the families impacted instead, it is strengthening our entire community.
If you want to learn more about how our support of Natco Empowerment Center is making a difference every day, check out this blog article.