Dorothie Ferdinand is a
Public housing students represent 44% of all
CHA provides homework centers at each of its three site offices. Next to each is a fully equipped computer lab with internet access. When students turn 15, they are eligible to work in what the program calls “try-out jobs,” paid internships with local employers who agree to serves as mentors to the students. Starting in the 8th grade, however, students engage in college prep activities that provide constant exposure to admissions officers, college students and alumni. There are trips to local and out-of-state colleges, and help with applying for financial aid and admission. There’s a modest in-house scholarship for every program graduate who enrolls in post-secondary education, and five competitive, multi-year scholarships.
“We want them to envision, from an early age, what the college experience will be like,” said Steven Swanger, CHA Director of Resident Services and founder of The Work Force. “This program helps prepare them for it academically, experientially, and socially.”
Some academic components are funded by the public schools, including a summer literacy camp and SAT prep for 11th and 12 graders.
“The staff treat us like family,” said Shanna Pringle, a current Work Force student. “This isn’t a program where people just come and go. It is a program that helps you with every aspect of your life.”
“My job provided me with a sense of maturity and responsibility,” said Ms. Ferdinand. “The program turned out to affect my life more than I ever dreamed it would.”
Read more about the Work Force Program