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Young people in Georgia on the brink of reshaping political landscape; Garland faces down GOP attacks over Hunter Biden inquiry; rural Iowa declared 'ambulance desert.'

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McConnell warns government shutdowns are "a loser for Republicans," Schumer takes action to sidestep Sen. Tuberville's opposition to military appointments, and advocates call on Connecticut governor to upgrade election infrastructure.

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An Indigenous project in South Dakota seeks to protect tribal data sovereignty, advocates in North Carolina are pushing back against attacks on public schools, and Arkansas wants the hungriest to have access to more fruits and veggies.

TX Model Transforms Low-Income Students Into Skilled Professionals

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Monday, February 6, 2023   

For more than two decades, a workforce development program in El Paso has invested in the economically disadvantaged to help them attain the education and job skills needed to earn higher wages.

Project ARRIBA - Advanced Retraining and Redevelopment Initiative in Border Areas - connects residents of low-income neighborhoods with resources that can prepare them for higher education and job training.

President and CEO Roman Ortiz says ARRIBA promotes living-wage jobs that will help residents stay in the El Paso area.

"In order to be able to get a good career, you're going to need post-secondary success," said Ortiz, "either at the community college level, or higher, in order to be able to get into better-paying jobs."

In December, the El Paso County commissioners awarded Project ARRIBA a 20-month contract worth $1 million in American Rescue Plan funds. Ortiz said he expects to see about a 30% increase in overall growth, allowing ARRIBA to serve twice as many new participants.

Ortiz said the program - which has a 94% job-placement rate - typically guides participants into health-care, information-technology and other professional careers.

"We're only going to train for jobs that we know that in El Paso are going to be in demand and pay a family-sustaining living wage," said Ortiz. "Our goal is $14 an hour with benefits and a career path - but on average, we're job-placing people close to $58,000 a year."

In El Paso, about one out of every two women lives below the poverty line established by the federal government, according to Ortiz.

He said that makes ARRIBA's success stories very encouraging - including one about a participant who received financial assistance to graduate with a nursing degree.

"She is the cardiovascular nurse manager for our top-tier university medical center here in El Paso," said Ortiz, "who manages almost 100 nurses herself and hires our nurses that we graduate today."

He said ARRIBA, which spends about $6,500 per participant, has helped some 1,800 graduate, and another 1,600 with job placement.

Support for this reporting was provided by Lumina Foundation.




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