If you live in the Austin area, but haven’t heard of the St. David’s Foundation, there’s a good chance you’ve seen their funding at work. Perhaps you’ve taken a stroll on the Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail over Lady Bird Lake in downtown Austin, for which they were a major contributor. Maybe you’ve taken your children out for some fun at one of the many local parks that St. David’s has helped improve. Their vision to “make Central Texas the healthiest community in the world,” continually leads them to take on initiatives such as medical research, parks improvement, and funding affordable and quality healthcare for lower-income residents.

Capital IDEA has been privileged to have a strong and healthy relationship with the St. David’s Foundation for more than 10 years. Over this decade, St. David’s has invested in excess of $6 million in Capital IDEA. That funding has provided high-quality education and training to hundreds of low-income students pursuing rewarding careers in the healthcare industry.

Nancy Quiroz at ACC Job Fair 2018

One of those students is Nancy Quiroz. Nancy achieved her lifelong dream of becoming a nurse in the spring of 2018, and is now employed at St. David’s Medical Center as a RN Resident in the Intensive Care Unit. According to Nancy, in the zip code where she came from, 25% of the population lived below the poverty level. “Working to help pay the bills and contribute to their home usually outweighed the cost of going to college.” Nancy now sees herself as a role model and shares what she’s learned to help others in similar circumstances. In addition, Nancy also gives back to the community through charitable work with organizations such as the Special Olympics, Central Texas Food Bank, and the Ronald McDonald House. Thanks to the support of the St. David’s Foundation, Nancy’s future is bright.

Nancy is one of many whose life has changed through the community-building efforts of the St. David’s Foundation. More recently, the Foundation provided Capital IDEA with a grant to grow the number of nursing students in Hays County. This is significant as most of Capital IDEA’s funding is limited to Travis County and the City of Austin. Amy Silvey, Director of Development at Capital IDEA, explains it this way: “We recognize the need across Central Texas, but restrictions on funding make it difficult. That’s why flexible funders like St. David’s Foundation are so important to help us grow and meet the need. We hope it will encourage other funders to do the same.”

Prior to the St. David’s expansion grant, only two RN students were enrolled from Hays. Since receiving St. David’s funding, 56 nursing students from Hays County have been recruited. The expansion grant was also a key component, as Corridor Interfaith advocated to the Hays County Commissioners Court to approve a financial investment in Capital IDEA. With this new local funding, Capital IDEA is able to provide Hays County adults with the opportunity to change the trajectory of their lives and enter promising careers in the healthcare industry.

The impact of the St. David’s Foundation across Central Texas is immeasurable. Capital IDEA is excited to highlight St. David’s Foundation as our Partner Spotlight this month, not only to shine a light on the recent support for Hays County but to also thank our partner for their ongoing generosity and commitment to creating opportunities for people to live healthy and fulfilling lives. We look forward to continuing a strong partnership for many years to come.
 


St. David’s Foundation has asked its partners to help spread the word about the open enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act. Over one million Texans will purchase ACA insurance plans this year, and you can join them. You must apply by December 15th. This year, your healthcare premium may be lower than you think! Get a premium estimate using this calculator provided by St. David’s Foundation:  www.WhatsMyPremium.org


 

Thank you for your interest in Capital IDEA! We do not currently have any job openings, but as soon as we do, we’ll post the open position here, as well as on these job boards:


Employer Profile – What’s it Like to Work at Capital IDEA?

At Capital IDEA, we aim to empower our income-eligible neighbors with training and education so that they can fill a critical need in our community for caring, skilled, and highly motivated workers. Since our founding in 1998, more than 1,600 Central Texans have launched new careers and secured a brighter future for themselves and their families.

Capital IDEA has built a diverse and dedicated team that shares a passion for our mission. We reward performance through competitive salaries and merit-based raises. While we expect our team to go above and beyond in service to our community, we also believe that you must take care of yourself to take care of others. We offer a generous benefits package which includes a week of sick leave, two to four weeks of vacation (based on experience), plus extra paid time off for everyone during the holidays: we close from December 24th through January 1st every year. We provide medical, dental, and vision insurance, plus a three percent match on retirement contributions. When you join our team, you’ll have high expectations to meet and big goals to work towards. You’ll also have a team who supports you, and you’ll know you’re making a difference.

Amber Bothne’s journey through nursing school was anything but easy. “I felt like I was challenged every step of the way.” Her experiences during nursing school would have kept most people from finishing. Yet, while the obstacles kept piling on, Amber believed that if she just kept showing up, and did her best, she would make it.

Amber has been drawn to nursing for many years. In 2010, her mother had complications giving birth to her little sister. While there were some good experiences with the medical care, it was the bad ones that motivated Amber to pursue nursing. “I wanted to make sure that patients got the care they deserve.”

Amber’s journey toward becoming a nurse began in 2012 when she enrolled at Austin Community College. After several years of pre-requisite classes, she applied and was accepted into the nursing program in 2016. At the start, Amber recalls being told that the intensity of the nursing program would require students to work less outside of school so they could focus on their studies. Not only this, but despite intensive coursework and about 16 hours of clinicals per week, the nursing program does not meet the government requirements to be considered full-time, so she would be losing about half of her financial aid. This would soon become a problem for Amber, as her father had recently gone through a job change which limited his ability to contribute to her education, and without her full-time job and full financial aid, finances would become tight at home.

Amber recounted her financial struggles to a friend who told her about Capital IDEA and the help they provide. Soon after applying to Capital IDEA, Amber got accepted into the program, and her financial strain was alleviated. Capital IDEA paid for her books, tuition, exams, scrubs, and even her pin. “When I tell people about Capital IDEA, I tell them that they pay for literally everything you need to get through nursing school. The financial support has been the greatest.”

Aside from the financial strain, Amber overcame two car crashes, helped support her family through her mother’s divorce from her stepdad, and grieved the passing of her beloved dog. The car crashes left Amber without a vehicle of her own, and she had to borrow vehicles to get around. Her mother’s divorce added an additional emotional element to the pressure of completing nursing school assignments on time. “It seemed like all of my family tragedies happened at the beginning of a semester, or around finals, so I had major, personal complications that were making it hard to get through nursing school.”

Amber was also facing challenges as a student. She dropped out her first semester in the program, because she was having a hard time taking tests. “Every time I asked someone for help they just told me to read the textbooks. It was really hard because I can’t read the textbooks. I don’t learn that way.” She eventually had to find a way of studying that worked for her.

As she neared graduation, Capital IDEA was able to help Amber with her studies by paying for her to take the Kaplan prep course. When she found out how much it costs, she was “extremely grateful,” and credits the course for helping her pass the NCLEX (National Council Licensure Examination).

After seven long years at ACC, Amber graduated from nursing school in May of 2019. If there is one thing that Amber would encourage others to do, it is to keep showing up.  “If you can just get yourself out of bed and to class, you would be surprised how far that can take you.” Often times we think of the financial strain as the biggest barrier to college graduation, but the pressures of reading textbooks, taking tests, and challenges of everyday life, typically go unnoticed by those who have never been through the intense nursing program.

Amber’s determination to finish, and motto to just keep showing up is an inspiration to those who struggle as students. Her advice to anyone is to “find what works for you. If you have the support that you need, you can do anything. You just need to keep showing up, and put one foot in front of the other.”

In October of 2019, Amber will begin her career as a Registered Nurse with Cedar Park Regional Medical Center. “I’m finally going to be doing the career I worked so hard for!” It is a statement of both joy and relief from someone who personifies the word perseverance.

Education is a powerful thing. It can open doors that were once thought to be non-existent, and it can change the trajectory of a person’s life. The people at Hindu Charities for America (HC4A) know this and believe it wholeheartedly because they lived it. “Most of us came to this country with two, half-full bags, as a student, or as an immigrant, and didn’t have much to live the American dream,” said HC4A board member, Dinesh Vakharia.  “All of our successes are because we had the opportunity for education.” It is out of this gratitude for the opportunities they were given in this country that HC4A wishes to do the same for others.

Capital IDEA’s partnership with HC4A began in 2014. Since then, HC4A has contributed $85,000 to Capital IDEA, providing financial support to students looking for a better life–students like Aaryan, Alicia, and Aurora.

Aaryan immigrated to this county in hopes of finding a better life. With help from Capital IDEA and donors like HC4A, Aaryan will graduate from the nursing program at ACC later this year. “Thanks again to Hindu Charities for America and Capital IDEA for supporting me to achieve my nursing degree and my dream of becoming a nurse.”

Alicia, a single mother of three, will soon graduate from ACC debt free and land a fantastic job as an RN. “I can never explain how grateful and appreciative I am for people like you giving me a fighting chance.”

Aurora had to drop out of college to help support her mother who had fallen ill. Without the help of donors like HC4A, there would have been no way back for her. “It has opened the doors for me and my son to have a better future, and I cannot thank you enough.”

Stories like these are only possible with donors like HC4A. Capital IDEA would not be able to provide people with these life-changing opportunities without the help of others. Capital IDEA student, Azhar Yousif, perhaps summed it up best when he said, “I feel safe now to know there are still good people in this world to help each other to stand on their feet.” Capital IDEA and its students are extremely grateful to HC4A and look forward to creating many more life-changing stories.

Since its founding in 2010, HC4A has focused on providing students with school supplies and vocational scholarships throughout Central Texas. When asked what he wanted the community to know about them, Mr. Vakharia noted that Hindu Charities does not have a religious affiliation, and the scholarships they provide can support anyone in the community. They strive to live out the motto of “Serve Where You Live™.” This year alone they awarded $104,000 in scholarships to students in the Austin area.

HC4A is expanding their work into other communities starting with Houston, Los Angeles, and Dallas. They are an entirely volunteer-run organization and host several fundraising events throughout the year to raise money for scholarships. The next event is the HC4A Gala on October 12th. This event is open to anyone in the community, and you can learn more about it at www.hc4a.org ».

“You can’t give up.” Jessica Jaimes holds this motto close to her heart and strives to live it out on a daily basis. It would have been easy for her to give up, and after enduring what she described as a “horrible and abusive” relationship, and the added responsibility of raising 6 kids, nobody would have blamed her.

“I want to set a good example for them,” was Jessica’s response to the impact she wanted to have on her kids. Giving up wasn’t an option for her as she overcame some of life’s most grueling obstacles to go back to school, get her degree, and realize her dream of becoming a nurse. Deep down inside, she knew that her kids needed an example of how you can take control of your life, and she needed to be that example. It just so happened she would find a way.

During an emergency room visit one day, Jessica got to chatting with a nurse about the realities of the profession. She had dreamed of being a nurse from a young age, but her life circumstances made it more of a dream than a possibility. As the nurse described the commitment it would take for her to get licensed, which included the cost of tuition, books, supplies, and exam fees, Jessica wondered how it could ever be possible. Then this nurse introduced her to Capital IDEA, an organization that would help pay for her education, help her with childcare costs, and walk with her every step of the way. The thought of going back to school was still a scary idea. With a new baby in hand, Jessica knew it would be extremely difficult. Her new husband would eventually provide the push she needed. “He asked me what I was waiting for,” then offered to take her to a CareerUp info session. “I wouldn’t have done it without him.” She was accepted into the program shortly thereafter.

The journey through college was not easy. She dropped out a few times for personal reasons and took a 2-3 year hiatus. But, “even when life would knock us down,” she was surrounded by support. In addition to her husband who never let her lose sight of her dream, her Capital IDEA Career Navigator also kept encouraging her. She pushed Jessica to rejoin the program even after she’d been gone for a few years.

This past May, Jessica reached an important milestone —she graduated from the Registered Nurse program at Austin Community College. A few months later, she passed the NCLEX exam and received her RN license. With her license in hand and applications in, there is no doubt Jessica’s dream job will soon become a reality.

Already, the impact this journey has left on her family is immeasurable. As the first person in her family to graduate from college, her kids have seen firsthand what a person can accomplish when they don’t give up. As a result of her hard work and determination, her kids have now opened their minds to the idea of attending college, and her older ones are already making plans to do so.

For Jessica, Capital IDEA was more than just an organization. It was a lifeline. “They never gave up on me…they could have easily said, ‘just let her go,’ but they just didn’t.” Giving up was not an option for Jessica, and it has made all the difference.

TEAMWORK & STUDENT SUCCESS | Capital IDEA is growing and is looking for an experienced case manager (3+ years of day to day case management experience working with adults receiving direct services and/or high school students transitioning into college). The Career Navigator provides case management for about 100 adult students and guides them through successful completion of their academic plan in preparation for job placement. To be considered for this position, applicants’ resumes should clearly include a track record of teamwork and student success. Please highlight in your cover letter and resume the skills you’ve developed to help students succeed, and how you’ve contributed to effective teams in the past.

Employer Profile – What’s it Like to Work Here?

At Capital IDEA, we aim to empower our income-eligible neighbors with training and education so that they can fill a critical need in our community for caring, skilled, and highly motivated workers. Since our founding in 1998, more than 1,600 Central Texans have launched new careers and secured a brighter future for themselves and their families.

Capital IDEA has built a diverse and dedicated team that shares a passion for our mission. We reward performance through competitive salaries and merit-based raises. While we expect our team to go above and beyond in service to our community, we also believe that you must take care of yourself to take care of others. We offer a generous benefits package which includes a week of sick leave, two to four weeks of vacation (based on experience), plus extra paid time off for everyone during the holidays (we close from December 24th through January 1st every year.) We provide medical, dental, and vision insurance, plus a three percent match on retirement contributions. When you join our team, you’ll have high expectations to meet and big goals to work towards. You’ll also have a team who supports you, and you’ll know you’re making a difference.

To Apply
Read full job description and qualifications: Career Navigator Job Description (PDF)
Email resume and cover letter with salary requirements to Program Manager, William Askew, Jr. employment_ci@capitalidea.org.
Deadline: Sunday, June 9, 2019
Salary range: $44-47,000

The Digital Engagement Coordinator is a social media sharing machine. He or she knows how to repackage old content in fresh ways as well as generate ideas for new content that engages with different online audiences while staying true to our organization’s identity, voice, and mission. We’re looking for 1-3 years’ experience but will also consider applicants with equivalent education and training. If you don’t have every skill we’re asking for but you’re passionate about the job and mission, please apply. We’re willing to train the right person.

Employer Profile – What’s it Like to Work Here?

At Capital IDEA, we aim to empower our income-eligible neighbors with training and education so that they can fill a critical need in our community for caring, skilled, and highly motivated workers. Since our founding in 1998, more than 1,600 Central Texans have launched new careers and secured a brighter future for themselves and their families.

Capital IDEA has built a diverse and dedicated team that shares a passion for our mission. While we expect our team to go above and beyond in service to our community, we also believe that you must take care of yourself to take care of others. All employees earn sick leave and vacation. Plus we offer extra paid time off for everyone during the holidays (we close from December 24th through January 1st every year.) When you join our team, you’ll have high expectations to meet and big goals to work towards. You’ll also have a team who supports you, and you’ll know you’re making a difference.

TO APPLY
Read full job description and qualifications: Digital Engagement Coordinator – Job Description (PDF)
Email resume and cover letter to Senior Communications Officer, Liz Ramon capitalidea@capitalidea.org. Please include the minimum and maximum number of hours you’d prefer to work per week.
Deadline: Monday, June 3, 2019
Expected start date: end of June – early July
Pay: $15.00/hour, approximately 20 hours a week


Dear Friends,

This past year, Capital IDEA celebrated 20 years of lifting adults out of poverty and into living wage careers through education. As an avid runner, I can say that leading Capital IDEA these past two decades has been much like a marathon with progress coming one step at a time. We’ve not only kept the pace, we’ve adapted along the way to the needs of our students and our local workforce. When Capital IDEA started, jobs in the semi-conductor industry were in high demand. Today, that demand is in healthcare and information technology. We’re training students for the best careers of the day and keeping an eye on what’s ahead. Of the students we’ve invested in, 1,600 have crossed the finish line so far, and that number keeps growing. Thanks for reflecting with us on our past accomplishments while we gear up for the miles ahead!

Read now: 20th Anniversary Edition — 2018 Annual Report (PDF) »

– Steve Jackobs, Exceutive Director


GRADUATE SPEAKER

Jeremy spoke at Captial IDEA’s Celebration of Achievements in February 2019 and was featured in Capital IDEA’s 2018 Annual Report.


Good afternoon, my name is Jeremy Acosta and I’m honored to be here as a Capital IDEA alumn and one of the first graduates to come from the IT Career ACCelerator when it was just a pilot program. I’m glad to be here to speak about my experience and the obstacles that I overcame to get to where I am today.

I have a great job as a Help Desk Technician at LifeWorks, and I enjoy every moment. LifeWorks is a local nonprofit that provides pathways to self-sufficiency for more than 4,000 youth and families, many of whom are facing life’s most difficult challenges, including homelessness, trauma, and abuse. In addition to help desk support, I also work on their network and servers.

Before all this, I was a trouble maker. My parents separated while I was still young, and it was just me and my mom. I never had a father figure in my life, and my clearest memory to this day is watching my mom struggle to make ends meet and do what she had to take care of me. With no guidance in my life, I ended up getting into all kinds of trouble and ultimately landed myself in jail, just like many statistics would have predicted.

After I got out on probation, I had fines to pay and restrictions on where I could go. I did my best to find a job so that I could pay my dues, but it wasn’t easy with a record. Frustrated and feeling stuck, I started considering some of the same things that got me in trouble in the first place.

Luckily, my mom saw the signs, and she decided to intervene. She told me that I had a choice – to give up on myself and go back to jail, or do the right thing because I was a smart man. I made the right choice and decided not to go down those old roads.

I moved to Houston to look for work. I found a fire and water restoration job. It was physically demanding and I was always on call, day and night, including weekends and holidays. I typically worked over 130 hours a week. I was finally paying my fines and earning good money, but the job was taking its toll. I couldn’t keep it up so, I decided to go back home to Austin.

When I got back, my mom told me about this program called Capital IDEA. She said they could help me earn an associate degree and get into a high demand career. I went to the information session to learn more, and I remember thinking to myself, “What’s the catch? This is way too good to be true. All this support!”

I took a leap of faith and applied anyway. I got in, and I was on my way to college. I thought college would be like an extension of high school, but I was wrong. Fortunately, I had the support of Capital IDEA, most of all, I was glad I had James, my Career Navigator. He was there when I needed to talk. It was like I had an extended family.

I had to learn how to use my time wisely, especially when I took the Career ACCelerator route, which allowed me to go at my own pace. I ended up pushing as hard as I could, taking up to 15 credit hours in one semester. I changed my work schedule, taking on 18-hour weekend shifts, so I could be at school during the week. Because of the reduction of hours, I was hurting financially, but none of that mattered because I had a goal, and I was trying to make good on an important promise I had made to my aunt. She was sick, and doctors told us she didn’t have much time left. My promise to her was that she’d see me walk the graduation stage.

I delivered on that promise. My aunt was there when I graduated in 2017, as was my whole family. It was one of the proudest moments of my life. I was the first in my family to graduate from college. Since then, one of my cousins has followed in my footsteps. I now enjoy encouraging others to take a leap of faith to improve their lives, just like I am doing every day.

Since graduation, I have been working for LifeWorks, where I get to serve more than 200 employees on all their computer and connectivity needs. So far, I have earned four pay raises and I was voted what is like our Employee of the Month. I’m no longer struggling like I used to. It wasn’t easy to get here, but now, I find it very easy to do this job I love. I have hit some major milestones in my life, and the newest one is my little one. I have a great partner: my wife, a great motivator: my son, and a steady job that helps me enjoy what I have. As for my future, I am taking the steps to become a homeowner. I also plan to continue to sharpen my IT skills and would like to earn my Bachelor’s Degree. Whatever else comes after that, I know how to set goals and take action to reach them. Thank you Capital IDEA for giving me this second chance.

Job Description: Digital Engagement Coordinator
part-time | social media, web, and email marketing

POSITION SUMMARY: The Digital Engagement Coordinator is a social media sharing machine. He or she knows how to repackage old content in fresh ways as well as generate ideas for new content that engages with different online audiences while staying true to our organization’s identity, voice, and mission.

Capital IDEA is growing and is looking for an experienced case manager (3+ years of experience strongly preferred) with demonstrated leadership skills. The Career Navigator provides day to day case management for about 100 adult students and guides them through successful completion of their academic plan in preparation for job placement. To be considered for this position, applicants’ resumes should clearly include day to day case management experience working with adults receiving direct services and/or high school students transitioning into college. Please highlight your leadership skills as well.

In addition to case management duties, the Career Navigator will work on strategies to develop and improve our program. This may include working with other staff and partner organizations to achieve the goals of increased retention and completion rates. Please indicate your interest or previous experience contributing to this sort of effort.

Employer Profile – What’s it Like to Work Here?

At Capital IDEA, we aim to empower our income-eligible neighbors with training and education so that they can fill a critical need in our community for caring, skilled, and highly motivated workers. Since our founding in 1998, more than 1,600 Central Texans have launched new careers and secured a brighter future for themselves and their families.

Capital IDEA has built a diverse and dedicated team that shares a passion for our mission. We reward performance through competitive salaries and merit-based raises. While we expect our team to go above and beyond in service to our community, we also believe that you must take care of yourself to take care of others. We offer a generous benefits package which includes a week of sick leave, two to four weeks of vacation (based on experience), plus extra paid time off for everyone during the holidays (we close from December 24th through January 1st every year.) We provide medical, dental, and vision insurance, plus a three percent match on retirement contributions. When you join our team, you’ll have high expectations to meet and big goals to work towards. You’ll also have a team who supports you, and you’ll know you’re making a difference.

Read full job description and qualifications: Career Navigator Job Description (PDF)
To apply, email resume and cover letter with salary requirements to Program Manager, William Askew, Jr. employment_ci@capitalidea.org
Deadline: Sunday, February 10, 2019
Salary range: $44-47,000


Capital IDEA is requesting proposals from qualified firms to provide comprehensive, up-to-date, and cost-effective services of a Professional Employer Organization (PEO). Capital IDEA currently employs a passionate, professional staff of 26 individuals who support our mission. We aim to provide our staff with a comprehensive benefits package with maximum support and minimal payroll and benefit distractions and disruptions.
All proposals must be received by 5:00 p.m. July 31, 2018.
VIEW:
PEO RFP posted 7-6-2018 (PDF)

Join our team! The Development Officer is a key contributor to the success of Capital IDEA. You’ll be joining a passionate team and supporting our fund development efforts through grant writing and reporting, event coordination, prospect research, and donation tracking and acknowledgment. We’re looking for three years’ professional experience in nonprofit fund development, grant writing, grants and contract management, or related field. Additionally, we’d love to hear from candidates who share our vision of a thriving Central Texas where non-traditional students have the opportunity to get an education and reach their full potential.

View full job description: Development Officer at Capital IDEA (PDF)
To apply, email cover letter, resume, and three references to Amy Silvey, Development Director at employment@capitalidea.org. No phone calls.
Deadline: Sunday, July 15, 2018 | Estimated start date: August 20, 2018
Salary: DOE

Highlights From an Oustanding Year
2017 ANNUAL REPORT

Capital IDEA’s 2017 Annual Report is now available online. We are proud to share these highlights from an outstanding year of lifting working adults out of poverty and into living wage careers through education. We hope you enjoy reading about student successes because this report is chock-full of amazing stories and impressive numbers!

2017 was an excellent lead-up year to 2018 — Capital IDEA’s 20th anniversary! We are honored to have served the Central Texas community these past two decades, and we look forward to supporting Central Texans’ career dreams and financial goals for years to come. You can help us mark this milestone year with a gift of $20 (or $200!), and thank you! Donate »


2017 Annual Report (pdf): Read it now! 


Highlights From an Oustanding Year
2017 ANNUAL REPORT

Capital IDEA’s 2017 Annual Report is now available online. We are proud to share these highlights from an outstanding year of lifting working adults out of poverty and into living wage careers through education. We hope you enjoy reading about student successes because this report is chock-full of amazing stories and impressive numbers!
2017 was an excellent lead-up year to 2018 — Capital IDEA’s 20th anniversary! We are honored to have served the Central Texas community these past two decades, and we look forward to supporting Central Texans’ career dreams and financial goals for years to come. You can help us mark this milestone year with a gift of $20 (or $200!), and thank you! Donate »

2017 Annual Report (pdf): Read it now! 


Capital IDEA is honored to be a grantee of the United Way of Williamson County. UWWC unites people and organizations to build stronger communities and improve lives. By stabilizing families, helping kids succeed academically, and empowering good health, United Way is working towards a community where people thrive, lead healthy lives, and everyone has the opportunity to reach their full potential.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

On Wednesday, April 5, 2017, Capital IDEA was one of many hosts for UWWC’s “Day in the Community” for students from Hernandez Middle School in Round Rock. At Hernandez Middle School, all 6th-8th grade students are part of the International Baccalaureate Program. In addition to high academic standards, students participate regularly in community service and action learning.

The April event provided opportunities for students to explore STEM-focused careers. As hosts, Capital IDEA staff were on hand to welcome Hernandez Middle School students to the Austin Community College Eastview Campus, home to many of the healthcare and paramedic training facilities at ACC.

We took this opportunity to share with students the advice Capital IDEA is known for—how to turn a career goal into a realtiy. We covered the basics of healthcare career opportunities in our area; the academic credentials that can get them into those careers the quickest; and the best opportunities for them to fund a college education without getting into serious debt.

The tour of ACC’s Eastview campus included nursing classrooms, surgical tech clinical training rooms, phlebotomy and radiology labs, and a visit to the EMS training rooms. Responses from everyone, students, teachers, and staff, were positive and engaging. We were delighted to meet these bright young adults and be a part of this Day in the Community.

Dear Friends,

We are pleased to share the below report with you. The success of any workforce development program is cause for celebration, and we are especially thrilled for the success of Project QUEST. The leaders of COPS/Metro and the San Antonio business community generously shared the Project QUEST model with Austin Interfaith and business leaders when they came together in 1998 to create Capital IDEA. We appreciate their support and we appreciate them undertaking this rigorous, demanding, long-term random assignment study. It provides the gold standard of scientific proof of the Project QUEST model.

Capital IDEA, like Project QUEST, invests multiple years and multiple thousands of dollars in the community college education of unemployed and working-poor adults as they acquire the necessary education, credentials, and soft skills to become productive professionals in health care and other technical fields. This study’s findings of “large, sustained impact on participants’ earnings” gives us confidence in Capital IDEA’s “significant gains in… average quarterly earnings of those employed” as found by the University of Texas Ray Marshall Center in its June 2015 report, “ Evaluation of Local Investments in Workforce Development.” Moreover, the Ray Marshall Center estimated Capital IDEA’s economic return on investment to taxpayers at 501 percent over 20 years. That’s the equivalent of a 17 percent annual rate of return. Read the Ray Marshall Brief

As any parent will tell you, nurturing development in children is neither quick nor easy nor cheap. And it will take you years before you know the results of your daily efforts. We should not be surprised that transformation in adults demands equally persistent effort, investment, and patience. Thank you for your faith in the people of Central Texas.

Sincerely,

Mary Molina
Founding Board Member
Austin Interfaith

Mark Melliar-Smith
Founding Board Member
Retired CEO SEMATCEH, Canon Nanotechnologies

Steve Jackobs
Executive Director


Findings Featured in the Austin American-Statesman

Texas job program shows unusually strong, lasting gains, study finds

by Dan Zehr – American-Statesman Staff

“Other programs have had large earnings impacts, but they haven’t taken people completely out of poverty into the middle class,” said Mark Elliott, a co-author of the study. “That is a stunning achievement.”

“Project Quest served as a model for at least three nearly identical initiatives in Texas, including Capital IDEA in Austin. Elliott said results at those organizations almost certainly would match the successes found in this study.

“To me, this is the best economic development program anywhere,” he said. “Employers are struggling to fill positions, and you’re training residents who are really unlikely to make it on their own to fill those positions.””

READ FULL ARTICLE


Escalating Gains: Project QUEST’s Sectoral Strategy Pays Off

April 2017 By Mark Elliott and Anne Roder, Economic Mobility Corporation

In 2005, QUEST agreed to take part in a randomized controlled trial (RCT) study to assess its impacts on participants’ earnings. The evaluation focused on individuals who were pursuing training for health-care jobs, including licensed vocational nurse, registered nurse, medical records coder, and surgical, sonography, and radiology technician. Between April 2006 and October 2008, 410 individuals enrolled in the study, of whom 207 were assigned to the treatment group and 203 to the control group.

The Conclusion: QUEST has demonstrated that investing in low-income individuals’ skills can have a meaningful and lasting impact on their lives.

READ FULL REPORT


As Capital IDEA approaches its 20th year, we are seeing impacts extend beyond simply good careers for our graduates and new skilled workers for the economy. We celebrated our 1300th graduate last year, Amy Lopez-Escobedo—she not only has gone from struggling in unskilled, low-income jobs to becoming a Registered Nurse, she has now become a career navigator for her husband, enrolled in construction management at Austin Community College. AND together they are preparing their three children for higher education. Her story, on page 5 of our 2016 Annual Report, is one of individual, family, and community success. On to 2017!

– Steve Jackobs, Executive Director


2016 Annual Report (pdf): Read it now!


As Capital IDEA approaches its 20th year, we are seeing impacts extend beyond simply good careers for our graduates and new skilled workers for the economy. We celebrated our 1300th graduate last year, Amy Lopez-Escobedo—she not only has gone from struggling in unskilled, low-income jobs to becoming a Registered Nurse, she has now become a career navigator for her husband, enrolled in construction management at Austin Community College. AND together they are preparing their three children for higher education. Her story, on page 5 of our 2016 Annual Report, is one of individual, family, and community success. On to 2017!
– Steve Jackobs, Executive Director

2016 Annual Report (pdf): Read it now!


amy1

Hello, my name is Amy Lopez-Escobedo, and I am a proud Capital IDEA graduate, mother of three, and Registered Nurse at CommUnity Care. I always felt destined to become a nurse. Since I was little, my mom noted I had a caring nature and would try to help people when they weren’t well. Knowing my destiny, I enrolled in nursing school right after high school, but only lasted a semester before life happened and the years went by.

When I had my children, the nurses that helped with deliveries were superstars, and again I knew I wanted to be a nurse one day. Then my middle child who has medical conditions had us in and out of the hospital and again I saw some amazing nurses not only help him as a patient, but us as parents. That inner calling grew stronger.

I found out about Capital IDEA through my husband’s coworker who was in the program. We attended an information session in August of 2011 and I took my first real step toward my future since leaving nursing school all those years ago. I was accepted as part of a cohort of six nursing students supported by the federal Medicaid 1115 Waiver DSRIP program, administered locally by Central Health and the City of Austin. With the support I needed in place, I was on my way.

I worked hard, made good grades, and gained the skills I would need to be a successful student and a nurse—which I loved! However, life continued to intervene and somewhere around December 2015, things got really hairy. I ended up with pneumonia in the hospital for three days right before finals. I studied in my hospital bed and even more when I returned home. Despite doctors’ orders, I took and passed my finals, but because of how hard I’d pushed myself, the pneumonia lingered for six weeks, followed by bronchitis. Coming up on my final semester, I wasn’t sure if I would survive my last clinical rotation!

Just when I started to recover, my extended family suddenly needed me: two family members ended up in the ICU, my cousin passed away followed a few weeks later by my father-in-law, bringing on more heartache while I tried to study for exams and make time to travel to Mexico for the funeral. I had to be there for my family to grieve with them yet stay emotionally together enough to perform at school and in clinicals.

The added struggles impacted my grades and threatened to delay my graduation, but because of the tremendous support around me, I pushed through and I made it to the end! Thanks first and foremost to God, through and with Him, all things are possible, along with my amazing counselor Suzanne, my awesome professors, the student health sciences counselor, my WIOA counselor and, of course, my backbone: my husband Roman, my kids Ruben, Roman Jade and Ava, and all my extended family – you gave me the support and guidance that I needed to complete the roughest semester of my life!

Now that I have finished, it’s my husband’s turn to complete his degree. Our three children are already considering their college options, and I’ve got my sights set on a BSN with a long-term goal of become a Nurse Practitioner…the sky’s the limit!

I was thrilled to be the first of my graduating class to be hired – I started as a Registered Nurse soon as I had my degree. I am also deeply honored to represent the milestone 1,300th Capital IDEA graduate! The impact that Capital IDEA has had on my life and the lives of my fellow RN students is almost impossible to describe but thanks to Capital IDEA and Central Health, I have my dream job, financial security, and the ability to plan for a future I could not have otherwise imagined.

1600

Capital IDEA students have been placed in new careers

3X

Most graduates TRIPLE their previous earnings

$22/hr

was the average starting wage for all 107 job placements in 2018 including 17 early placements

1139

individuals received direct support from Capital IDEA in 2018

$22M

has been invested in our students’ tuition and books since Capital IDEA first opened in 1998

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