A Helping Hand Forever

The Center for Work Education and Employment helps low-income families transition from public assistance to the work force.

Photo by Ellen Jaskol

Personal and financial setbacks are intimidating, so the Denver-based Center for Work Education and Employment helps those in need get back on their feet. With a mission inspired by the “Let’s Get Off Welfare” campaign led by the National Women’s Employment and Education organization, CWEE provides impoverished families personal and professional resources to help them restore their independence.

“We help low-income Coloradans, primarily mothers, break the cycle of low-income poverty—it’s the heart of our work,” says CEO Katy Hamilton. “CWEE has been around for three decades and has evolved into one of Denver’s leading anti-poverty organizations. Public assistance in Colorado provides families with narrow, shortterm assistance. We provide a safe environment for participants to strengthen their skills, which sets them up for long-term success.”

Photo by Ellen Jaskol

Breaking barriers
“The through-line to CWEE’s work since 1982 is a commitment to poverty reduction. Our goal is to help low-income families transition from public assistance to long-term employment by promoting self-sufficiency. We offer participants in our programs family support services, education, and career management tools,” says Hamilton.

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Strength in numbers
“In 2018, 25 percent of our participants reported not having a trusted network of support. The journey through self-transformation can be incredibly lonely. Participants begin by working with a case manager to help articulate goals and barriers to success. Once they are connected with appropriate resources, including housing and childcare, participants move through each phase of the program with a cohort. They build friendships and camaraderie.”

Career coaching
“We have more than 150 employer partners, who work with us to make sure our participants have support within the job. To be considered a partner, the employer must pay above minimum wage, be located within a mile of a transportation hub, provide predictable schedules, and have access to job training.”

A lifetime of support
“One of the distinctive things we offer to alumni is a lifetime of support. Alumni are welcome to return to us for help updating their résumé or for emergency support. It’s important to us that alumni retain employment. We help families plug holes that may appear after graduation from CWEE.”

How to help
“Contributions to CWEE help pay for services that are essential for single parents who want to escape poverty. Donations help us maximize the effectiveness of our public programs.”

MARK YOUR CALENDARS For the CWEE’s annual Harvesting Opportunities event, Sept. 19 from 6 to 9 p.m.

Center for Work Education and Employment
Assists low-income families transition off public assistance