WE3 program and United Way help single moms increase their earning capacity

When Sharonda Hall applied for the WE3 (Women Empowered, Educated, and Employed) initiative, she was a single mother with a job that lacked financial stability and a clear path to a career. A friend had heard about the community collaborative with which United Way partners, which helps single moms increase their earning capacity, and encouraged her to apply.

“Two-thirds of the working poor in Lorain County are single head-of-household women, and WE3 aims to help improve their lives,” says WE3 project coordinator LaToya Miller. “WE3 uses a collaborative model with a collective impact to partner with resource organizations to maximize available services.”

At first, Hall was unsure the program was for her.

“I was surprised that I would have to attend so many classes to learn skills I wasn’t sure would be helpful,” says Hall, who applied through Oberlin Community Services. “I was skeptical this would help me get a job.”

But as Hall met mentors who had gone through the program, she began to understand.

“I learned what to expect in interviews and from employers, and how to project myself in predominantly male fields,” she says. “They also helped me pass exams and get through training.”

The program teaches single mothers skills for finding, securing and retaining employment to establish financially stable lives for themselves and their children.

“LCCC is proud to offer a program that provides services the county truly needs,” Miller says. “We are the community’s college — not just here for education alone, but to create a better community for all.”

WE3 pledges to help every woman who comes its way.

“No woman need go without help and support,” Miller says. “Call us. We’re here for you.”

With the help of WE3, Hall landed a career position as an emergency responder at Columbia Gas, and today she is a homeowner.

“WE3 made this possible,” Hall says. “I want to encourage others and help them see the bright side of any situation. The place you’re at today doesn’t have to be where you are tomorrow, and there are people who can help.”

Education at LCCC is a family affair

Sharonda Hall’s success with the WE3 program set an example for her daughter, Ariana Hall, who graduated from LCCC’s Early College High School program in May 2018 and is attending The Ohio State University this fall.

“I developed an interest in the business world, particularly international business studies,” says Ariana Hall of her time in the program. “And I think attending Early College helped OSU conclude that I am a highly qualified candidate for the class of 2022.”

Sharonda Hall also has a son in elementary school, and she is hopeful he will follow in his big sister’s footsteps.

 

WE3 partner organizations

  • Lorain County Metropolitan Housing Authority
  • Oberlin College Bonner Center for Service and Learning
  • Oberlin Community Services
  • Ohio Means Jobs Lorain County
  • United Way of GreaterLorain County
  • YWCA of Elyria
  • Lorain County Metropolitan Housing Authority
  • Oberlin College Bonner Center for Service and Learning
  • Oberlin Community Services
  • Ohio Means Jobs Lorain County
  • United Way of GreaterLorain County
  • YWCA of Elyria