Technical Training Program Equips Tucson Mothers for Self-Sufficiency

Single moms are beginning a new journey towards self-sufficiency with technical education training offered in partnership with the Women’s Foundation of Southern Arizona (WFSA) and Pima Community College.

The Pathways Program began this week on May 24 and prepares single mothers for careers in growing fields that pay sustainable wages. The program consists of one year of paid tuition towards a CTE certificate, childcare support, transportation assistance, emergency funds, and career coaching.

“The Pathways approach focuses on the intersection of education, childcare, and income – all important facets that, if inaccessible, prevent women from achieving economic independence,” says Dr. Amalia Luxardo, WFSA CEO. The program, which has received national recognition, is designed to address the barriers that limit the economic advancement of mothers.

Pima Community College’s classes begin in late May for this year’s cohort, who will work towards their certificate in logistics and supply chain management. This is a growing field that pays living wages with ample employment opportunity, as determined by the Norton School of Family and Consumer Sciences research at the University of Arizona.

Pathways Program Manager Emily Wilson wishes a program like this existed when improving her own career path.

“I understand it can feel so conflicting to know you want a better life for you and your kiddos, but also know that it is either financially or logistically out of reach (or both) because I have been in that position,” she said.

The direct path to employment is one of many benefits of the program, according to Wilson. “A bonus is this adds a missing section of strong, skilled workers to our community who are awesome multi-taskers, proven problem solvers, and no strangers to overcoming adversity- no one is more agile than a single mother!”

According to research released in 2019 by WFSA in partnership with The University of Arizona, investing in training or education for low-income single mothers coupled with childcare can positively impact family economic independence and generate cost savings for the state. When a family achieves financial independence, Arizona can save nearly $20,000 per year per family from parents who no longer rely on public assistance.

The Pathways program is funded by The David and Lura Lovell Foundation, the ECMC Foundation, and the Governor’s Office.