Outreach’s LifeWorks program celebrates its 3rd anniversary 

Published 12:42 pm Friday, April 26, 2024

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COLUMBUS—Outreach’s LifeWorks program, which helps individuals obtain full-time, living-wage jobs to move out of poverty and obtain economic security, is celebrating its third anniversary. The program is a true extension of Outreach’s core mission to serve Polk County families and individuals needing assistance with daily necessities such as food, heat, and housing.    

“The LifeWorks program is our game changer,” says Executive Director Margot Carter, “It  changes the trajectory of people’s lives and enables adults to support their families without having to rely on other services.”

LifeWorks participants typically stay in the program for one to four years, depending on their personal goals. During this time, they work with Michelle Reedy, Client Service & Life Works Case Mentor, to set goals and address what will help them achieve them best, whether it be furthering their education, finding a career, or achieving financial goals. 

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“In our three years, we’ve witnessed some truly inspiring transformations,” says Reedy. “This program is a catalyst for change, lifting participants out of poverty while they learn to network, make new friends, and experience lifestyles they’ve not been exposed to.”

The LifeWorks program focuses on providing a holistic approach to self-sufficiency. It works with participants and their families across various aspects of their lives to help them achieve their goals. Some services it offers include job coaching, mock interviews, problem-solving, soft skill building, budgeting, money management, parental support, study tips, and education support.

“The LifeWorks program came to Outreach through Community Action Opportunities, a community-minded agency active in western North Carolina,” says Reedy. “They didn’t have an office in Polk County, so they came to us about putting the program into action in our area.”

Reedy, the primary LifeWorks coach, has an extensive background in social work and managing client programs. As a coach, she advocates for individuals and their families, provides meaningful referrals, and assists with resource coordination. Participants may also receive financial assistance for tuition, uniforms, housing services, and childcare. 

However, in order to qualify for these services, individuals must meet certain criteria. They must be ready and able to work, have a household income below the poverty guidelines for their household size, demonstrate effective communication, and be able to work with others to complete goals. Space is limited, so if an applicant does not meet the eligibility criteria, LifeWorks coaches will provide referrals to other helpful programs in the community. 

To apply for these services, individuals must fill out an application, attend an information session, and provide work, education, and financial history forms. They must also complete a one-on-one follow-up interview, work with a LifeWorks coach to determine eligibility, and provide requested income verification for all related household members.

For more information on Outreach or their LifeWorks program, visit tboutreach.org.