YWCA’s Economic Empowerment Program (EEP) is a nontraditional, holistic, gender-relevant workforce development program. In addition to job training, EEP offers workshops on digital literacy, healing justice, and legislative advocacy. What makes it so unique? The program prioritizes collective care and personal growth. The training is trauma-informed and centered on empowerment, healing, and storytelling, all within a social justice framework. EEP offers entry-level and intermediate skill building opportunities and position womxn for living wage jobs within in demand industries. The EEP training period includes 10 weeks and up to 6 months (200 hours minimum) of work-based learning (skills training, project management, direct service and marketing / storytelling) that takes place at the YWCA Olympia through our front office, administration processes and Kathleen’s Closet professional clothing boutique. Participants also engage in workshops and classroom training to develop core competencies focused on communication, computer and digital literacy and healing justice.
As part of their skill development, EEP participants are responsible for running the YWCA’s Front Office and Kathleen’s Closet (professional clothing boutique). Through their work, and with the support of the Comcast Learning Lab, participants gain strong digital literacy, organization and communication skills necessary in all professional sectors.
What really sets us apart however is our unique framework and practice of trauma informed care and healing. Womxn enter our program with histories of trauma, mental health challenges and experiences of ongoing racism, sexism and discrimination. We define trauma as the multitude of harms done by systems of oppression which undervalue our individual and collective humanity. This definition is shaped by lived experience as well as emerging research primarily being led by Women of Color. We, as staff, are accountable to our shared vision and commitment to create safer, trauma informed space where womxn can grow and heal together while gaining skills to move them toward their professional goals.
Our program builds time and space to understand collective healing within a larger social justice framework, while developing embodied practices to recognize emotional disregulation in ourselves and each other and increase emotional regulation and executive function.
To learn more about the Economic Empowerment Program, contact Heather Penny at (360) 352-0593 or EEP@ywcaofolympia.org.
The Comcast Learning Lab, funded by a grant from the Comcast Foundation, is a critical component of the Economic Empowerment Program (EEP) fueling EEP’s job training activities and skill building workshops. The Economic Empowerment Program is also generously supported by the WSECU, KeyBank Foundation, The Allstate Helping Hands Foundation, Ronelle Funk Insurance, the Nisqually Indian Tribe, HomeStreet Bank, USBank Foundation, The Satterberg Foundation, The Employees Community Fund of Boeing, and individual donors.
We are also grateful to honor our transformational capacity building partner, The Satterberg Foundation.
OUR EEP STAFF
EEP Program Facilitator