Student loan debt is a real problem. According to a 2019 article in Forbes magazine, student loan debt in America has hit 1.5 trillion dollars.[1] Saddling new graduates with debt can have serious consequences for their futures. New graduates often have to settle for lower-paying jobs so they can start paying their student loans right away. They are also 36% less likely to buy a house, or buy a car, and are more likely to live with their parents.[2] It seems that students have a choice to either go into debt and earn their college degree, or stay out of debt but settle for a lower wage job.

Fortunately for Marco and Irineo, they found a third option with Capital IDEA.


Irineo Martin Acosta-Arroyo

Marco and Irineo are not brothers, but they have a bond that could be described as such. Despite the fact that Marco is the more outspoken of the two, both of them are Mexican immigrants, went to the same high school, graduated from the same automotive program at Austin Community College (ACC), and now work side-by-side at the KIA of South Austin dealership making the most either has ever earned at a job. Both of them also realized that the only way they would be able to attend college is to find a way to pay for it without incurring debt. It just so happened that their high school counselor introduced them to Capital IDEA, and after hearing a presentation, they were hooked.

Marco and Irineo realized that they could not waste an opportunity like this. It was too good to be true. Capital IDEA would pay for their entire tuition while attending ACC, and would also pay for the tools they needed as a requirement in the automotive program and to get started in their future careers. (Automotive techs bring their own tools to work.) While the majority of their former high school classmates were either opting to not go to college, or digging themselves into debt at a four-year university, Marco and Irineo made the decision to join the Capital IDEA program, graduate debt-free, and obtain good-paying jobs. Without the financial burden of student loan debt, both of them are able to give back to their families who have been so supportive of them throughout. Marco also got the chance to purchase what he calls a “project car” in the form of a ’93 Mustang GT, which he is excited to fix up with his newly acquired education and income.


Marco Rodriguez

When asked why he thinks most students choose not to go to college straight out of high school, Marco answered, “they get scared of going into debt.” Irineo agrees. He was motivated to apply to Capital IDEA because “it gave me an opportunity to explore something I wanted to do for free.” Capital IDEA was able to provide an opportunity for these two young men to earn a college degree and do so without the stress of having to pay anything back once they were finished. With their newfound financial freedom, both of them are set up for long-term success whether they choose to climb the ladder at their current job or continue their education.

Capital IDEA can help you earn your degree without incurring the burden of student loan debt. Are you ready to get started? CareerUp »


[1] https://www.forbes.com/sites/zackfriedman/2019/02/25/student-loan-debt-statistics-2019/

[2] https://scholarshipamerica.org/blog/the-far-reaching-impact-of-the-student-debt-crisis/

TEAMWORK & STUDENT SUCCESS | Capital IDEA 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 is 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: Friday, January 31, 2020
Salary range: $44-46,000

It was a long road for Lud Guerrero to get where she is now. In a society that values instant results, such as free 2-day shipping, and drive-thru windows, it takes a special kind of courage to keep fighting when things take longer than expected. Lud never expected to take such a long road, but thirteen years after getting married at a young age, and three kids later, she finally made the decision to go back to school, and take control of her future.

Lud and her mother emigrated from Panama to the United States when she was nine months old looking for a better life. Growing up, Lud was raised in a loving home by her mother and her aunt. Still, Lud’s mother suffered from a mental illness and alcoholism. Struggling to deal with her home life, Lud started acting out during her adolescent years which caused her to graduate from high school a year late, and at the age of eighteen, she was pregnant with her first child.

Raising her child became Lud’s top priority. She got married and put her personal ambitions on hold. Thirteen years and three children later, Lud felt the urge to go back to school and fulfill one of her life goals: to earn a college degree. Going back to school proved to be a challenge. With her husband not working and unable to pay the bills, she had to forego her aspirations of a college education a while longer just to survive. After being evicted several times, Lud separated from her husband and moved into the Texas Baptist Children’s Home with her kids. “I needed some stability and help. I knew I needed a change for my family,” Lud realized.

The Texas Baptist Children’s Home (TBCH) was able to provide Lud stable housing and enabled her to take a part-time job to keep providing for her kids, but she was still at a loss about how she would pay for school. Fortunately, through a friend and a family care coordinator, Lud was introduced to Capital IDEA. “When funds were available for Williamson County, I quickly acted and began my journey with Capital IDEA. It was the best decision I made for my future.”

Capital IDEA was able to provide Lud with the funds necessary to pay for her college education without her having to incur any debt. Yet, funding was only part of the challenge. “I was excited and bombarded at the same time because you forget how much time you have to put into studying, and I also had a family to raise.” With friends and daycare resources provided through TBCH, Lud was able to dedicate time to her school work.

In addition, Lud received motivational support from her Capital IDEA Career Navigator, Sara Hernandez. “When I wanted to quit or give up, she would talk me out of it and would help me with anything I needed. I know she had other students, but she would always find a way to help me.” It was a long road, but with the help from Capital IDEA and the Texas Baptist Children’s Home, Lud graduated in December 2017 with her Associates Degree in Surgical Technology. Shortly after graduating, Lud secured a job with St. David’s Medical Center as a certified Surgical Technologist. “I wanted to show my children how hard work pays off and that having a college education gives you opportunities. I love what I do.”

Lud is now in a place where she is able to provide for her family, and she sees a bright future ahead. If there is one thing Lud would like for others to take from her story it’s this: “There are resources available to help you. It may be a long process, but it’s worth it. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, and don’t be discouraged if the process takes longer than expected.”

The journey may be long, but as Lud has shown us, with courage, perseverance, and the right support, overcoming life’s obstacles is possible. Capital IDEA is here to help support you on the road to providing a bright future for your family.

This year Capital IDEA student, Alicia Gonzales, is a featured family in the Austin American Statesman Season for Caring. Since 1999, Statesman readers have generously donated more than 11 million dollars in cash and in-kind goods and services, all of which have benefited the featured families and hundreds of others like them who are also supported by these agencies. To donate items found on Alicia Garcia’s wish list (see graphic below) contact Capital IDEA at 512-457-8610.

DONATE NOW »
Remember to check the box next to Alicia’s name.


Statesman.com | Alicia Gonzales: Aspiring nurse, single mother working to give family a bright future

By Luz Moreno-Lozano
Posted Nov 26, 2019 at 10:49 AM

Photos by Lola Gomez / American-Statesman
View on Statesman.com »

Alicia Gonzales’ day starts at the crack of dawn. She wakes up around 4 a.m. to take her mother, Zonia Garcia, 62, to her 5:15 a.m. dialysis treatments at Davita, a 10-minute drive from her Georgetown apartment.

Her three sons — still half asleep — pile into the car for the trip, and by the time they return home, Gonzales says, it’s time to eat breakfast and get ready for school.

AJ, 6, takes the bus to school at 7:15 a.m. Ezra, 4, and Felix, 3, are dropped off at day care at 7:30 a.m. Gonzales then races to Round Rock for an 8 a.m. lecture or a test at Austin Community College, where she is studying to become a registered nurse.

ComForCare, a home and senior care organization, picks Garcia up from her appointments and takes her home. Shortly after, a home nurse meets Garcia and monitors her for a few hours after her treatments. Garcia then sleeps most of the day.

When school lets out around 3 p.m., Gonzales picks up the boys from school, heads home to check on Garcia, does homework with the boys and then starts dinner. By 7 p.m. the kids are in bed and ready for a book. They each pick a book and lie with Gonzales, 40, before falling asleep.

While her schedule can be demanding, Gonzales says she knew she had to find a way to earn more money, and going back to school to become a nurse was the way to do that.

“I was perfectly happy with my medical assistant salary, but once the kids started going to school, I knew I need to make better money,” Gonzales says. “I thought going back to school and becoming a nurse would be easy, but it is way more than I expected. It’s made me respect that job even more, and now that I have been working so hard to get (a degree), it’s not just a piece of paper anymore.”

Gonzales had no idea when she went back to school four years ago that she would give birth to her third son, separate from her husband, quit her part-time medical assistant job and become the primary caregiver for her mother, who has kidney failure, along the way. Garcia has been on dialysis three times a week since June 2018 and is not yet on a transplant list.

Knowing that Gonzales needed to continue working, they found Garcia an early morning chair time so she could have time to rest before taking care of the boys in the evening.

Gonzales worked as a part-time medical assistant at Lone Star Circle of Care and went to school during the day, but when her grades started to drop and it started to become too much for Garcia to take care of the boys after dialysis treatments, Gonzales says she dropped the job to focus on studying and taking care of the family.

While Gonzales has found some balance, she still has several months before she finishes school in May, and with limited income, things at home have gotten tight.

The family relies on monthly child support and leftover funds from Gonzales’ school grants to get by.

With the help of Capital IDEA — an Austin-based nonprofit that provides financial support and professional guidance to nontraditional students who want to move up in their career — she is able to receive funding for tuition, books and school supplies, but everyday appliances and household items have been put on the back burner until she can earn more money.

 

“We make it work,” Gonzales says. “We pray a lot, and I know a lot of the strength comes from God. I know I wouldn’t be able to do it without him. I give him glory every single day.”


Season For Caring Donation Form

Remember to check the box next to Alicia’s name to ensure your donation goes directly to her family.

Please note that by completing this donation form, you are donating to Austin American Statesman Season for Caring Fund, a component fund of the Austin Community Foundation, a 501(c)(3) public charity.

When Melinda Sertuche decided to go back to school, her 8-year old daughter didn’t understand why. “It was hard for her at first, because it was new. I don’t have any family members that had gone to college, so it’s not something that’s a normal thing in my family.” For Melinda, it meant spending less quality time with her daughter in order to study. It’s one of the challenges that most student-parents have to face. According to a report by the Government Accountability Office[1], one in five undergraduate students are parents. That same report also showed that about half of those student-parents left school without a degree.

Many parents decide to go back to school because of their children, hoping to provide a better living for their families, as well as inspire their children to seek higher education opportunities themselves. Sometimes, that desire is met with challenges that prevent them from doing so. This was true for Melinda. The desire for a better career and life was there, but she didn’t know how she could ever afford college, and pay for childcare. “It’s a huge stress,” describes Melinda, “how are you going to pay for everything, when you have to take a pay-cut to take classes?”

Capital IDEA understands the struggles that parents face when returning to school or work. According to the Economic Policy Institute, the average cost of childcare in Texas for an infant is $9,324 per year. For a four year old it’s $7,062 per year. To put it into perspective, infant care in Texas costs 7.8% more per year than in-state tuition for a four-year public college.[2] At the end of the day, many parents find that the best economic solution is to stay at home with the kids and save on daycare costs.

Capital IDEA was able to provide Melinda with the support she needed to move forward with her college plans. Not only did we pay for Melinda’s tuition, books, and fees for her education, we were also able to provide her with financial assistance for childcare through our partnership with Workforce Solutions. Melinda says, “To be honest if it wasn’t for Capital IDEA, I wouldn’t be in school right now. There would be no way that I could afford going to school and work part-time, to get a new career. It would be almost impossible on my own to do that. [childcare] was a huge factor.”

Melinda would like other parents in her situation to know that there are solutions. There are ways for them to go back to school and work towards getting the job that will provide for their families and their futures. She is a testament to that. It hasn’t been easy, but she knows that in the end, it will all be worth it. As for now, Melinda has already started to see a positive impact of her decision on her daughter. “She used to not want to go to school. Now I’m getting notes from her teacher telling me that she’s eager to learn, and how good of a student she is. It’s pretty exciting to see my daughter excited about education because she sees what I do and how hard I work.” Melinda is currently finishing up her last pre-requisite class and is anticipating starting the nursing program at Austin Community College shortly thereafter.

If you or someone you know is interested in going back to school, but are having problems covering the costs of childcare, contact Capital IDEA to see if we can help you reach your career goals. We’re committed to removing the barriers that prevent adults from obtaining living-wage careers in Central Texas. We provide tuition and childcare assistance, as well as additional resources to help student-parents realize their dreams for a better career and life.

[1] https://www.gao.gov/assets/710/701003.pdf

[2] https://www.epi.org/child-care-costs-in-the-united-states/#/TX

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! 


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

Guide Star Gold

News & Events

Graduate Spotlight: They Found A Better Way

Student loan debt is a real problem. According to a 2019 article in Forbes magazine, student loan debt in America has hit 1.5 trillion dollars.[1] Saddling new graduates with debt can have serious consequences for their futures. New graduates often have to settle for lower-paying jobs so they can start paying their student loans right […] Read More

For previous stories visit us here

Receive News & Updates

If you’d like to keep up with our success stories and newest milestones,
sign up for our newsletter today!

News and Update