The Monroe Housing Authority (MHA) is providing digital literacy and workforce development courses to residents of its housing community. MHA created the Family Self-Sufficiency Program (FSS), an interactive educational assistance program designed to help Section 8 residents become independent and self-supporting. The program provides services such as academic tutoring, academic testing prep work, and basic and advanced computer training to help residents achieve a variety of educational goals including obtaining a GED, college degree, or vocational and technical certifications. Participants also have access to computers, the Internet, child care assistance, transportation, and career counseling.
The program is making an immediate impact on its residents including Temika Benton. Without a high school diploma Temika discovered that her career opportunities were limited. Temika took a job at a fast-food restaurant for minimum wage and moved into the Burg Jones Lane family housing community. She soon discovered that this was not a dead-end road, but an opportunity. The adult education center located in the property’s community room had a very flexible class schedule and allowed her to work at her own pace. The computers and educational software coupled with her generous and compassionate educator, Anthony Garcia, provided a structured and positive atmosphere for her to develop self-discipline and achieve her goals. Using these resources, Temika received her GED and was able to obtain a management position at the restaurant. But that’s just the beginning of the story. MHA’s property manager, James Johnson, encouraged her to go further and set new goals. She took his advice and is now enrolled in Delta Vocational and Technical School.
All of these programs are made possible by funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.