DENVER (CBS4)– For many families living in Denver, it can be tough to make ends meet. For those living in poverty, it is nearly impossible to get ahead.READ MORE: Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Pause Deals Big Blow To Mountain Communities
Cross Purpose, a Denver nonprofit, is trying to change that.
Cross Purpose Director Cordelia Randall says they go beyond what a typical workforce agency can do.
“The goal of the program is so people can have careers,” Randall said.
It is a six-month career and community development program for unemployed or underemployed adults looking to become self-sufficient.
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Katalina Garcia is one of those people.
After losing her mother suddenly to a heart attack, Garcia turned her focus on caring for her siblings and took a job that paid the bills.
“Honestly, I always thought I was just going to work several jobs at a time… that really didn’t speak to me,” she said.READ MORE: COVID In Colorado: Food Pantry Will Close As Older Adults Can Now Safely Shop For Themselves
Then she found Cross Purpose.
It starts with a closer look at an individual’s strengths and interests; from there they develop the skills needed to land a high paying job, over $15 an hour in a growing profession.
“Careers that they can get training on in a short pathway under six months or no more than say six months because we know that a lot of times they don’t have the funds to put into it nor do they have the time,“ Randall said.
When Katalina graduated in 2016, she joined the Denver Chamber of Commerce and now works for the Colorado Workforce Development Council where she’s learning website development and coding.
“I actually look forward to going to work. I get to go to work,” she said.
While she’s focused on the future she knows, her past will always be with her and her mother will always be on her mind.
“I think she’s proud, I hope she’s proud, she better be proud,” she said with a laugh.
The best part, the program pays individuals to stick with it and go to school. Since it started in 2012, the organization has helped more than 250 people and nearly 93 percent are still employed.MORE NEWS: Palisade Peach Farmer 'Not Too Awfully Worried' Year After Devastating Crop Season
Karen Morfitt joined the CBS4 team as a reporter in 2013. She covers a variety of stories in and around the Denver metro area. Connect with her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter @karenmorfitt or email her tips.