YWCA Olympia Economic Empowerment Program (EEP) is a holistic, cultural and gender-relevant workforce development program preparing unemployed and underemployed Womxn for careers in Administration, Bookkeeping and Social Services. EEP prioritizes collective trauma-informed empowerment, healing, and community care within a social justice framework while building marketable skills aligned with in-demand industries.
As part of their skill development, EEP participants are responsible for running the YWCA’s Front Office, the Other Bank (community hygiene product bank) and Kathleen’s Closet (professional clothing boutique). Some participants choose to move into our bookkeeping track which trains them as professional bookkeepers and results in paid bookkeeping contracts. 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.
We also offer Financial Literacy workshops in partnership with Ronelle Funk from Allstate Insurance and Tulip: Financial Empowerment Center by Harborstone Credit Union. Our Financial Literacy partners have the skills and framework needed to provide financial management resources that are both accessible and relevant to folks experiencing poverty.
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. We have built participant feedback into our program in such a way that we are consistently growing and adapting our work together to better meet the needs of our current participants.
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. Utilizing the Comcast Learning Lab, the EEP offers training in frequently used programs such as MS Word, Outlook, QuickBooks, PowerPoint and Excel. Other technology trainings and hands-on real world experiences include professional social media management, program marketing, successful email communications, and organization of electronic files, all of which help create attractive job candidates and successful employees. The Comcast Learning Lab ensures that women enrolled in EEP gain the full benefit of the program by providing all participants with access to equipment and hands-on training opportunities, increasing their technology skills and confidence.
The Economic Empowerment Program and The Other Bank are generously supported by the Comcast Foundation, Women United, WSECU, KeyBank Foundation, RHD Enterprises, The Allstate Helping Hands Foundation, Ronelle Funk Insurance, Soroptimist International of Olympia, the Nisqually Indian Tribe, HomeStreet Bank, USBank Foundation, State Farm (Kevin Hayward, Lacey), Ludlow Foundation and individual donors.
We are also grateful to honor our transformational capacity building partner, The Satterberg Foundation.