PACT’s Poverty Prevention and Workforce Success initiative uses the Bridges Out of Poverty community development model as a framework for engaging and educating partners and champions in understanding the root causes of poverty and instability as it relates to Hawaii and our residents. The collective work is intended to drive conversations and develop a community- and relationship-based approach to addressing poverty and instability in our communities.

We provide education and awareness around the issues of poverty and instability through hosting 1) Poverty Simulations and 2) Bridges for Leaders Workshops with community members and employers. We also partner with cross-sector employers to deliver a resource-building curriculum that engages and empowers low-wage, entry level employees to build self-sufficiency through 3) Getting Ahead cohorts. We are also building out partnerships with local employers to develop a system of support for entry level employees through the establishment of an 4) Employer Resource Network with on-site Resource Coaches. In addition to our current services in our Family and Economic Opportunity Center, we  also have employment and financial literacy coaching as part of a holistic 5) Financial Opportunity Center. Program components are described in detail below:

What services are provided?

  1. Poverty Simulations – Participants are sensitized to the realities of living in poverty while experiencing what it’s like to live for one month in poverty.  Participants learn to understand why people make the decisions they do when living in daily instability. (4-hour experience for 60-80 individuals)
  2. Bridges for Leaders Workshop – Facilitated trainings tailors for business executives and community leaders to explore how mental models and the hidden rules of economic class affect organizational behavior, culture and decision making and how leaders can integrate best practices to ensure that employees and their business continue to thrive. Multiple sessions allow for a deeper dive into understanding poverty/instability, the effects on employees and businesses and what organizations can do to maximize returns on employee investments. (Typical workshops are 1-2 hours and can be customized to suit your organization’s needs.)
  3. Getting Ahead Cohorts – A program partnership with community and local businesses to increase employee engagement and retention while supporting individuals/employees in building resources and skills that can help to increase opportunities for advancement and earning potential. Interested individuals are also encouraged to apply. 16-session course geared toward individuals who are interested in building resources and getting ahead both personally and professionally.
  4. Employer Resource Network and Resource Coordinators – An employer collaborative dedicated to improving workplace productivity, retention, advancement and financial stability for employees. Pulling together job retention services, work supports, education and training to help employers minimize employment barriers for their low- to moderate-wage workers and maximize the support employees need to be successful. Resource Coordinators are available to be on-site to provide one-on-one coaching and help employees access resources.
  5. Financial Opportunity Center (FOC) – A comprehensive career and financial coaching service center that helps families living on a low- to moderate-income build effective money habits and focus on the financial bottom line and economic mobility. FOCs provide “bundled” employment and career counseling, one-on-one financial coaching and education and low-cost financial products that help build employability and/or job retention, credit, savings and assets. FOCs also connect clients with income supports such as food stamps, utilities assistance and affordable health insurance and other resources.

Who are services for?
Educational programming (workshops, simulations) are open to all interested in participating.

Getting Ahead cohorts and Financial Opportunity Center  services are geared towards low – to moderate – income individuals and families who are interested in building skills and resources.

Is there a fee?
Family and Economic Opportunity Center services are FREE of charge (with the exception of our Employer Resource Network and Resource Coordinators).