JCC Starting SPREE Program for Single Parents

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Jamestown Community College

Single Parents Reaching Education to Employment (SPREE), an initiative made possible through the Empire State Poverty Initiative (ESPRI) and the WNY Women’s Foundation, is under way at Jamestown Community College’s Jamestown Campus.

SPREE, a program based on the WNY Women’s Foundation’s MOMs: From Education to Employment® model, assists students who are single parents by helping them develop skills and credentials that can lead to family sustaining employment or transfer to a four-year school.

The SPREE program will serve up to 100 students through the spring 2019 semester. Funding to support 50 single mothers is provided through the WNY Women’s Foundation, while ESPRI funds up to 50 other single parents from the city of Jamestown.

SPREE achievement coach Courtney Reardon and project navigator Linda DeJoseph will help students stay on track to complete their academic program by providing strategic support through peer-to-peer mentoring, financial literacy guidance, career exploration services, and more.

According to Eileen Goodling, JCC’s vice president of student development, “It is not uncommon at JCC to have students who have great capacity to achieve and succeed academically but who find that external factors such as inadequate child care, food insecurity, transportation, or housing become barriers to their college success.

“The SPREE program will be in place to offer resources and support to single parents from the region with the goal of assisting these parents to reach sustainable employment,” added Dr. Goodling, noting the program model, developed by the WNY Women’s Foundation in 2013, has been implemented at Niagara County Community College and Erie Community College through funding from the foundation.

“The programs have yielded very positive results,” noted Dr. Goodling, “and we anticipate the same transformative outcomes at JCC and are excited to be working toward that end.”

According to the Jamestown Poverty Reduction Initiative Needs Assessment, children in non-poverty households achieve better outcomes related to academic performance and physical, mental, and emotional health than do children in poverty.

JCC will partner with other local service providers to provide support for tutoring, financial aid and career counseling, transportation, childcare, job placement assistance, soft skills training, books, emergency, and basic needs.