Green River Star -

By David Martin
Editor 

Program may return to county

 


A program geared towards giving single mothers job training in high paying fields may return to Sweetwater County.

Tomorrow, CLIMB Wyoming’s founder and executive director Dr. Ray Fleming Dinneen, along with a number of funding and community partners, will make a formal announcement in Rock Springs, but the details of that announcement have yet to have been made public.

“Our future plans are unconfirmed until the press conference,” CLIMB’s director of communications, Shannon Brooks Hamby, said.

According to a media release from Hamby, the announcement concerns the future of CLIMB Wyoming in Sweetwater County. The organization pulled out of the county last October, citing decreases in available program funding. The organization’s website shows a list of six office locations, with Sweetwater County included on the list, though without an address included for a physical office.

“The decision to discontinue services in Sweetwater County was not a short-term, reactive response to our most recent TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) award. We are grateful that the Wyoming Department of Family Services has recognized that their recent investment of $1.542 million will have significant impact on the most vulnerable families in 10 counties across our state,” Dr. Dinneen, said in a release regarding the closure of CLIMB’s Sweetwater County office.

The funding decrease came from an unexpected $1 million decrease in federal funding, which would have resulted directly in a $700,000 budget deficit for CLIMB.

In their budget approved last month, the Sweetwater County Commissioners included a $30,000 allocation to CLIMB. According to the organization’s funding request to the county, CLIMB was able to diversify funding, as well as nearly triple its private funding from $500,000 to $1.3 million. The document also states new funding from the Department of Family Services, which became available in July, would be used for a program expansion if the state’s investment portfolio performs at or above expectations.

Sweetwater County’s CLIMB office helped more than 100 single mothers and more than 250 of their children since 2007.

Average monthly wages for program graduates increased from an average of $1,117 to $3,101 and approximately 90 percent of program graduates remain employed two years after their graduation. CLIMB has provided training programs for careers involving commercial driving, warehouse technician and nursing.

 

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