“Many people are so used to facing challenges on their own. But there is support out there. You don’t have to figure out things on your own.”

Claire is one of four women who graduated last month from EMPath’s five-year program, Career Family Opportunity (CFO). In CFO, program participants work one-on-one with a mentor to set and achieve goals across various areas of their life, with the ultimate aim to become financially stable.

Even in the face of the pandemic and ever-present systemic barriers, this year’s graduates made incredible strides. Together, these four women:

  • increased their earnings by a combined total of more than $228,000/year
  • raised their credit scores by a combined total of 181 points
  • earned two associate’s degrees, one bachelor’s degree, and one master’s degree

“Despite the pandemic raging and all the challenges that came with that, these graduates never gave up,” says Bryna Ramsey, Coordinator of CFO. “They continued to stay engaged with their mentors and to identify, work on, and complete goals. They progressed forward, even if at times that meant just putting one foot in front of the other.”

This year’s graduation – the first in-person celebration in two years – was held at the Boston Nature Center in Mattapan on July 23. Graduates and their families, along with EMPath staff and those participants still in the program, gathered to celebrate graduates’ accomplishments and wish them well. Attendees heard remarks from Bryna as well as CFO mentor Michael Morin, EMPath VP Mary Coleman, and EMPath President & CEO Kim Janey.

In order to graduate from CFO, participants must have been in the program for at least two years, have a career job that is making at least 60% Area Median Income (AMI) for their household size (and that provides opportunities to work towards 80% AMI), accumulate $3,425 of their own money in an IDA matched savings account (which is matched by EMPath if they meet all other graduation requirements), attend eight hours of financial literacy education, and meet with one of EMPath’s financial specialists to discuss plans for their IDA savings.

CFO was the first program at EMPath to pilot the organization’s signature coaching approach, Mobility Mentoring®. In the approach, mentors support participants in setting education, career, family, well-being, and financial goals. This comprehensive model – used across all EMPath programs – is rooted in the idea that effective, empowering coaching involves mentor and participant partnering to work toward the participant’s goals. In total, there are about 50 participants in CFO at any given time.

“We all need guidance and support at some point in our lives,” Bryna explains. “Having someone by your side oftentimes makes all the difference when tackling obstacles and achieving goals.”

Program staff work hard to build community among families in the program. That way, in addition to their mentors, families have support from others who are working towards similar goals.

Congratulations to the 2022 graduates! EMPath is so proud of your resilience.

Learn More About CFO