Women's Employment Network

The Women's Employment Network (WEN) was founded in 1986 to assist women in raising their self-esteem and achieving economic independence through sustained employment. Our vision is to advance positive change in the lives of women, their families, and the community, one woman at a time.
Sep 13, 2013

Teaching Common "Cents" Lessons

Clients receive individualized attention
Clients receive individualized attention

Without a job, it's hard to make ends meet. Not surprisingly, after sustained unemployment, many of the women who come to Women's Employment Network for help finding work also need help managing their finances and overcoming debt. Below is the story of one woman who WEN helped grow both professionally and financially. 

Eva's story is a classic example of the learning process women go through at WEN with regard to their finances. When Eva first came to WEN she had stopped even opening bills. She had a $119 assistance check that was supposed to cover her utilities, but had hundreds of dollars of bills to pay. As part of WEN's Employment Preparation and Career Transition Training Program, clients participate in a budget drafting exercise that asks them to assess their monthly income and expenses, an experience that Eva remembers as being difficult: "It was painful talking about money. It was the hard truth that I didn't want to accept. I was crying and so was the woman next to me. We were holding each other."

During WEN's five-week training program she learned about budgeting, saving, and responsible use of credit. Since getting a job and learning to budget, she has been able to buy things that she couldn't afford before, including a lot of things for her children. These things include: beds for the children, cooking supplies, and school pictures. She admits, "it sounds like little stuff, but when you don't have it you really notice. It's big." 

Her experience is not atypical of the women who come to Women's Employment Network for assistance. Seventy-five percent of WEN clients report income below the federal poverty line, with the other 25% not disclosing their income at intake. Of those who, starting in March 2013, have opted to work with WEN's Financial Coach, the average credit score is 539 and the average amount of debt in collection is $12,000. Without sufficient savings and with such poor credit, WEN clients are especially vulnerable to predatory lending such as payday loans, which feed into the cycle of poverty.

The Financial Coaching and Credit Building program was added to Women's Employment Network's program model in early 2013 to help WEN clients, graduates, women small business owners, and others in the community in build their credit and achieve their financial goals, so that their career gains are translated into increased wealth.  WEN's Financial Coach is responsible for the management of the program, which involves ongoing one-on-one financial coaching, community outreach workshops, assistance with credit disputes and settlements, and rebuilding credit with a secured credit card.

The Financial Coaching and Credit Building Program is a thrilling addition to WEN's services and will undoubtedly help WEN's clients regain control of their financial futures.

Jun 17, 2013

One Woman's Story of Growth

WEN graduates "Suited and Booted" at graduation
WEN graduates "Suited and Booted" at graduation

Each woman who complete's Women's Employment Network's 5-week training program concludes the classroom portion of their employment journey by writing a reflection on what the course meant to them. Please enjoy one of these essays from a recent graduate:

When I initially went to the Women’s Employment Network, it was just to help me get a job. That was it. Now, just five weeks later, I realize there were so many more obstacles than just “getting a job” that has been keeping me from finding “the job”, “the career”, “the happy and professional life I have been waiting for”. From the Women’s Employment Network I have had the opportunity to get to know myself for who I actually am and can be, thus having increased confidence and more positive energy in my personal and professional life.

I began my professional life as a teen mother. Although, I was determined that my being a teen mother would not get in the way of building a stable professional life for myself, I did not realize how many obstacles would arise. I found myself a single mother of two children with special needs. Even though I have continued to always fight to get myself on the right career path for my family, I’ve never found the right path that works for our needs. I tried going to college, hoping that would get me on the right track, and did quite well until times got tough in my family life and I needed to quit. I have fought against the grain for fifteen years and basically gave up hope. The Women’s Employment Network has shown me that I don’t have to fight against the grain and that I don’t have to give up hope.

An admirable aspect of the Women’s Employment Network is that while they are educating and nurturing the authentic you, they are also providing so many employment resources and tools. You will not leave the Women’s Employment Network lacking any tool you may need in your job search or beyond. I entered into the program without a real focus on what my plan was professionally. I am graduating the program with a better focus on what my individual plan is to search for a job that works for my needs and interests. I now have the confidence, proper attire and tools, strong support, and a great jumpstart to keep me on this new positive path that I have found through the Women’s Employment Network.

Thank you so much WEN for giving me the opportunity to grow.

Mar 19, 2013

Helping Women AND Families

One WEN family at a recent graduation
One WEN family at a recent graduation

The women who participate in Women's Employment Network's programs leave WEN with either a job or an action plan for employment. However, WEN is a transformative experience for their families too. Here are some snapshots of the families WEN helps.

One Woman's Story
Sandra, a stay-at-home mother of four, came to WEN looking for help transitioning back into the workforce after spending several years taking care of her young children. She knew she was ready to work again, but was worried about how she could continue to manage the household, run errands and help her kids with homework once she was employed. The Personal Development Workshop "Goal Setting & Time Management" gave her a solution that involved the whole family. During her job search, she made a list of all the tasks that needed to be done and got her children involved in housework, which opened up more time for her to apply to jobs. Sandra reflects, "I had to make them help me, but they're old enough to do that, and it let me accomplish more." Now Sandra has a full-time job at a print shop, walking-distance from her home, which allows her to make the most of her time and balance her work and home lives. She's pleased that her children still help by doing their chores.

Recognizing Mom's Achievements
At WEN's most recent class graduation ceremony, five of the nine women graduating had children in the audience, ranging in ages from infancy to teen. The presence of children made the day all the more poignant; reminding everyone in attendance just how important finding a job is to those with little ones who depend on them. The children listened patiently as Director of Program Services, Lynnette Williams, recognized the efforts of each of the women and presented them with a certificate of completion. Two of the children had drawn a special picture for their mother, and gave it to her as she received her certificate.

The women who graduate from WEN and find work are better able to give their families the resources and support they need to thrive, and even more importantly they become role models to their children and communities.

These kids brought a special picture for their mom
These kids brought a special picture for their mom
WEN graduation is a happy day for families!
WEN graduation is a happy day for families!
WEN Graduates are role models for their children.
WEN Graduates are role models for their children.

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