ANDERSON — Helping single parents obtain post-secondary education and break the cycle of poverty is a goal of JobSource for Madison County.

JobSource officials are working with the Family Scholar Program in Louisville to develop a similar program that assists single parents in obtaining the education required to find a well-paying job.

According to the STATS Indiana website, there are 5,574 households in Madison County that are headed by a single parent. The Family Scholar House program provides free housing and assistance for its participants to obtain a higher paying job with an 88% success rate.

The intent is to bring representatives from Family Scholar House to Anderson to make a presentation on their program this summer.

Doug Eckerty, executive director of JobSource, said following a visit to Louisville that his overall impression was consistent with what he reviewed about the program.

“That is one operation that doesn’t make mistakes and doesn’t leave things out,” he said. “They execute really well.”

Cathe Dykstra, CEO of Family Scholar House, said there has to be broad-based community support to develop a program.

“I don’t know how difficult it will be to get the Madison County community to buy into the program locally,” Eckerty said. “The Madison County program will have to start slow and grow over time.”

He said local people can get started in some of the programs before a housing component is included.

“We can start getting people into the system which will come before we begin looking at housing,” Eckerty said. “Family Scholar House is taking a population that is disadvantaged when it comes to education and providing opportunities to single parents. That is the story we have to continue to tell.”

Jennifer Davisson, deputy executive director of JobSource, said over the past five years the agency has developed a good network of community service partners.

“What I’ve found is when we reach out to the partners and ask them to think about this program, they are supportive,” she said. “I saw an incredibly efficient program and was impressed with the physical state of the facilities and the additional services that were included.”

Davisson said Family Scholar House built the program from the ground up and they know every pitfall.

She said they work with their affiliates to customize the program for the local community.

“We want to make it right for Madison County and learn from each other,” Davisson said.

She added that it’s a program that is interested in the clients and they have an interest in seeing the program grow.

“They know what they’re doing and will give Madison County the support to make for a successful program,” she said.
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