January Business of the Month: Climb Wyoming helping single moms, the economy
Turning struggle into success, Climb Wyoming in Laramie serves members of our community while helping local businesses and contributing to the local workforce.
Katie Hogarty, 8-year program director for Climb Wyoming’s Laramie location works with employers and students alike to propel single moms into their career. Ultimately, she and the Climb Wyoming team are responsible for changing the lives of mothers and children in Laramie, while helping local business owners build their businesses.
Climb program 2014 graduate Jamie Shelton and 2017 graduate Kearsten McCallister can attest to it.
“Katie is really good about finding out what we want or need in a job,” Shelton said. “And she is amazing at match making and setting us up for different employers.”
Hogarty explains one of her favorite parts of her own job is fitting a mom with a job.
“It’s super fun, and fit is so important,” Hogarty said. “Our participants come to Climb wanting something different. They want long term success and not to be in a turnstile. I meet with 5 or 6 employers for every job that a mom gets.”
McCallister has only been on the job as a medical assistant at Season’s Psychiatric Clinic for a few weeks and can already tell it is the fit she is looking for. During a regular exercise in the program, McCallister did not know if she would be able to narrow everything she wants in a job into 10 bullet points.
“I cheated and put two combined into one,” said McCallister, “then she told us to put it into five, but out of those 10, eight or nine of mine were met.”
Hogarty does this through each program, matching graduates with jobs, and those jobs have been a good fit according to the statistics.
So far in Laramie, since the location’s start in 2004, there have been 262 moms served and 481 children served. The program is a proven success with 92 percent graduation rate, and average monthly wages of participants doubling 24 months after graduation, according to a fact sheet by Climb Wyoming.
“Their wages sometimes triple after the program,” added Hogarty. “And we know that because we do follow-ups. We are in contact with the women for two years after they finish the program.”
There are 150 statewide graduates each year, and for each 100 graduates of the Climb Program, there is a cost savings for the state of Wyoming of about $800,000.
Hogarty disclaimed that she does not like the verbiage of the phrase, but said “Instead of using the system, the women are taxpayers now.”
Shelton testified there was truth in Hogarty’s statement.
“Well it really is that for me,” Shelton said. “It’s like I was in between poverty level, but I didn’t have the skills for long-term success with a college degree. Climb helps boosts moms out of that in between ground and then you’re set for life.”
Shelton was placed in her job after completing the 2014 program and helped grow Season’s Psychiatric Clinic, and she recently was able to hire McCallister as the clinic’s medical assistant.
As stated above, Hogarty helps place each graduate by seeking out local businesses that are looking for positions to fill. She does this by going out and speaking with business owners and managers about their needs from the workforce. Hogarty and the program essentially fill a gap in the economy while helping women get a jumpstart in their career and succeeding for their family.
Shelton, McCallister and Hogarty explained this jumpstart does have to be earned. After an application, a 3-hour interview and—if accepted—limited number of absences and successful completion, the women graduate and are set up for job placement.
The statewide program has been nationally recognized, said Hogarty. Under Secretary Kevin Concannon of the USDA has praised Climb Wyoming as “one of the best organizations in the country.”
The next program for Laramie is quickly approaching with an information session presented on Tuesday, Feb. 6 at 6 p.m. at the Climb Laramie office at 217 S 1st St in downtown Laramie. To find out more on the program, visit its website at climbwyoming.org or if considering participation, visit climbready.org.