Women were able to build confidence and build new workforce skills after completing the first cohort of YWCA Strive.
Strive is a free professional development program offered through YWCA Dayton’s Resource Center and helps women served by YW who struggle to secure or retain living-wage employment. The first cohort started fall 2022 and was completed spring 2023.
YW operates the only domestic violence shelter in Montgomery County and also is home to 65 apartments that serve as permanent housing for women who have experienced homelessness. Strive was attended by women served by both programs.
“Intimate partner violence can be financially devastating. Empowerment means letting clients have the opportunity to live the life they want and the confidence to know they can do it,” said Barbara Ward, YW Director of Advocacy and Outreach. “The women we serve have the voice and the talent. Strive is just the right program to let them know they can.”
With Strive, participants learned and practiced practical skills desired by local employers, such as digital skills and emailing. When practicing those skills, we also combined lessons with other skills that class participants wanted to learn for the workplace. For example when practicing emailing and creating attachments, clients would also do a thought exercise and write in their email about what they would do if they ran into a confrontation in the workplace.
One longtime resident is the perfect example of the success of Strive. This resident has been living in YWCA permanent supportive housing, while searching for subsidized housing in a nearby city. She said Strive helped her address skills gaps that were holding her back, like email and Microsoft Word.
But she told YW staff that one thing about the class she ended up appreciating the most were the exercises on social scenarios. She said social challenges were the challenges that had made keeping a job difficult in the past. This resident said she now feels more equipped to accomplish her goals and is interested in going deeper and learning more skills.
As a bonus — now that she’s more comfortable with computers and now that YWCA Dayton’s computers are upgraded — she’s been enjoying designing custom buttons like the one pictured, which she hopes to eventually sell.
Setting the stage for future workforce development
YWCA Dayton’s Strive is funded by YWCA USA via grant funding from Google. YW also receives support from First Financial Bank to support our Resource Center where Strive is hosted.
Strive grant funding helped set the stage for more workforce development, classes and workshops by providing critical upgrades to our Resource Center. The funding upgraded our computers, supported new desks, and made the Resource Center a more inviting space for learning for years to come.