CLIMB Wyoming, a nonprofit organization that trains and places single mothers in careers that successfully support their families, was recently recognized as a “Promising Program” by the Center for the Study of Social Policy in a report highlighting innovative strategies for serving the unique needs of young children and their families in rural areas through a multi-generational approach.

Titled “Strengthening Supports for Young Parents and Their Children: A Focus on Low-Income Rural and Suburban American Families” the report highlighted CLIMB as one of six rural and suburban organizations nationwide that fully integrates support for each generation, with practices that specifically reflect the developmental needs of both children and young parents, negotiate agreements among multiple service providers, and take action to influence the broader systems that can provide additional support.

“Among the programs that we reviewed, CLIMB had a unique focus on job training and placement as the goal of the program, with an overarching intent that recognizes the importance of parenting to success at work and in life,” said Cailin O'Connor, Senior Policy Analyst, Center for the Study of Social Policy. “Employment is certainly an important component of family well being.”

Under the philosophy that meaningful relationships drive lasting change, the nationally recognized CLIMB Wyoming program creates new opportunities for single mother families in poverty with a therapeutic approach. Each CLIMB program serves women in a group, leveraging the power of peer feedback to facilitate increased self-awareness and address personal barriers. CLIMB graduates often speak of the lifelong friendships formed during the program, recognizing the importance of social capital in their continued success. Group and individual counseling is a critical program component, alongside job skills and life skills training.

Over the next year, CLIMB Wyoming will explore ways to share components of its relationship-based direct services approach. Currently CLIMB Wyoming is partnering with the Butler Institute For Families to analyze mental health data collected from CLIMB program participants over the last decade.

“This report reinforces the negative impact of poverty on executive functioning skills that are critical for navigating daily life,” said Dr. Ray Fleming Dineen, CLIMB Wyoming founder and executive director. “As we enter our 30th year, we see how our approach intersects with new research and theories that provide more context to working with populations in poverty. We know that the structure and safety we create in our therapeutic model allows women who have been overwhelmed by the stresses of poverty to quickly improve cognitive functioning and work toward the goal of a job.”
CLIMB’s outcomes establish it as one of the most successful poverty reduction programs both in Wyoming and nationwide, with an 89% graduation rate and 74% of participants successfully employed two years after program completion. The average monthly wage for CLIMB participants typically doubles, increasing from $1,038 to $2,492 two years post-program. CLIMB graduates also consistently decrease their use of public support programs, on average decreasing use of food stamps from 52% to 32% and decreasing use of public healthcare from 32% to 13%.
About CLIMB Wyoming

Founded in 1986, CLIMB Wyoming is a statewide nonprofit organization that trains and places low income single mothers in careers that support their families. CLIMB serves participants in 12 counties across the state through sites in Casper, Cheyenne, Gillette, Laramie, Sweetwater Area and Teton Area. The comprehensive CLIMB program model includes partnerships with local employers to develop effective trainings, and researching workplace trends to create future opportunities. Program participants are supported through job training and placement as well as counseling and life skills. CLIMB graduates consistently double their monthly income and decrease their reliance on public assistance programs. As a result, CLIMB Wyoming was recognized in 2012 as one of the nation’s top ten organizations that move families out of poverty by the and in 2014 by the Wyoming Department of Family Services for helping single mothers climb out of poverty. To date, the program has helped more than 1,900 Wyoming families reach self-sufficiency, the effects of which will be felt for generations to come. For more information visit www.climbwyoming.org.