The Racine County Workforce Development Board developed its ten-year workforce development strategy with a vision of developing by 2020 “a vital, dynamic economy characterized by a workforce that is fully employed.” At the time the plan was released in 2008, certain areas within the county suffered from extremely high and unacceptable rates of unemployment while many area employers could not find adequately trained, reliable workers. From the resulting report entitled Higher Expectations, six community challenges were identified and teams formed to take action toward addressing the challenges. Challenge 2. in the plan focused on “stronger, more financially stable families.”
For Challenge 2., United Way was asked to serve as convener of a coalition charged with creating a plan to empower low-income residents to function well in their day-to-day lives as employees, family members, and productive citizens of their communities. After community gatherings and much research, an approach was constructed, resulting in Advancing Family Assets, a new community impact initiative of United Way of Racine County.
AFA is now in its fifth year of delivering services to families and has been able to demonstrate positive results in the lives of participating Racine County residents. United Way will continue to monitor progress and provide leadership with the vision that AFA will be recognized as a successful approach to ensuring financial stability and family success for low-wage, working families, thereby becoming a replicable model for other social service providers and communities.