Michelle knew what she wanted to do, but just couldn’t catch a break to get there. Michelle was a TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) client barely getting by, when she walked through the doors at Oregon Coast Community Action (ORCCA). Her case manager suggested she enroll in the EmPower program, an innovative energy assistance program.
EmPower offers intensive case management that works with motivated households to improve their circumstances. Services go beyond energy use, and support a comprehensive approach including education, nutrition, employment, and medical resources to help clients achieve their goals.
Through the EmPower program, ORCCA helped Michelle find and keep her housing, reduce her energy bills, go back to school, and two of her children enrolled in Head Start. Along the way she worked with South Coast Business Employment Corporation (SCBEC) to get more training and experience.
Michelle worked with SCBEC and South Western Oregon Community College (SWOCC) to complete the Oregon Green Tech Certificate program. With help from SWOCC, Michelle was connected with Oregon Tradeswoman, Inc., and completed an 8-week intensive training program in Portland that allowed her to get the credentials she needed to work as a carpenter.
“I have come a long way,” said Michelle. “It has been awesome, we wouldn’t have survived without the help of so many people”
Having completed the program in the fall, Michelle applied for work and, in a twist of fate, the first job she was offered was working for P&C Construction on the new Child and Family Resource Center, which will house new classrooms for Coos Bay Head Start. As a Head Start parent and Policy Council Member, it is a full circle as Michelle is now on post-TANF and has strong prospects for the future.
The new Child and Family Resource Center is expected to open in Fall 2012. The new building will house 7 Head Start classrooms, parent education rooms, client resource and intake rooms for the Essential Services department, and office space for other departments. Under the design and supervision of Scott Edwards Architecture as well as the development expertise of Carroll Community Investments, P&C Construction has been working hard to move dirt, cut trees, and get the site ready to house the future home of Oregon Coast Community Action. Many of the suppliers and subcontractors are local, adding jobs and funds to the local economy.
“Michelle is doing an outstanding job for us. We’ve been impressed with the talent and strong work ethic of the local craftspeople. It’s still a tough economy and it’s great when we can help drive the dollars back into the community.” Says Brian Shoemaker, project manager for P&C Construction.
Oregon Coast Community Action is a non-profit network of programs that help feed, house, warm and educate the communities of the South Coast. For more information about ORCCA, please call (541) 435-7080, or learn more at www.orcca.us.
About P&C Construction
P&C Construction Company is a third-generation Oregon-based, commercial construction company, in business for 50 years. Known for community partnering, P&C’s past Oregon Coast projects include Neah-Kah-Nie Middle School, Clatsop Community College, and Columbia Memorial Hospital.
Michelle Humiston, EmPower client
Brian Shoemaker, P&C Construction
Patricia Gouveia, ORCCA Essential Services Director