Community Action Inc. of Rock & Walworth Counties (CAI) is expanding its employment and training programs in Walworth County. The anti-poverty agency is working with the Walworth County Educational Consortium (WCEC) Alternative High School and United Way Walworth County to enroll low-income individuals in its Fatherhood Initiative and Fresh Start programs. Both programs have proven successful in Rock County.

“Community Action has long been known in Walworth County for our Twin Oaks Shelter for the Homeless—thanks to its high visibility and strong community support,” says Lynn Jones, interim executive director.

“As we advocate for our clients in Walworth County, our Board of Directors and staff are finding additional community needs,” says Jones. “Now we’re able to use several new and expanding partnerships to address those needs.”

The Fatherhood Initiative is currently operating as a pilot program with United Way Walworth County. Fatherhood staff members plan to partner with ResCare at the Walworth County Job Center to assist those who need work experience while in the program. Each session of the Fatherhood Initiative in Elkhorn is scheduled to last 30 days. Staff will follow-up with participants after they graduate from the program and work with local employers.

The Fresh Start program will be working with WCEC students at a home build in Whitewater. WCEC recently earned a Department of Labor YouthBuild grant, and they are contracting with Community Action through Fresh Start for the construction component of the program. Fresh Start will be teach the students construction skills while building the new house in Whitewater, a project that will last roughly three years. Gateway Technical College and the Elkhorn School District are also instrumental in the Fresh Start project. This program is funded in part by a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor and is an equal opportunity program.

These program expansions join Community Action’s other poverty-fighting programs at work in Walworth County, which include Rapid Rehousing, Permanent Supportive Housing, Personal Responsibility and Education Program (PREP), Prairie View senior housing, The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), Transitional Jobs, Twin Oaks Shelter for the Homeless, Weatherization, and Work & Wheels.