The Bucks County Opportunity Council (BCOC) hosted the 25th annual Economic Self-Sufficiency Graduation on April 20 at The Warrington Country Club.
This year’s celebration honored 14 graduates, bringing the program’s new total to 1037 people in 373 households.
BCOC welcomed guests back in person for the event as it is the first one since 2019. Bucks County Commissioners Diane Ellis-Marseglia and Bob Harvie, as well as U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick were just a few in attendance at the celebration.
The Economic Self-Sufficiency Program (ES) is a successful program that provides one-on-one coaching and resources to those living in poverty who commit to working toward economic self-sufficiency. The graduates have worked, most for several years, on an intense, structured plan to become self-sufficient.
The 2022 class began the program with an average starting income of $14,211. In the 39 months’ average time it took for the class to graduate, they increased their income to an average of $49,906. The key to success has been acquiring the additional education and training necessary to earn a living wage. Ten of the 14 graduates have new jobs since beginning the program; four improved their position within their company.
Graduation is based on 10 benchmarks recognized nationally as standards of self-sufficiency: full employment; free of all subsidies (food stamps, cash assistance, housing subsidies); balanced household budget; resides in safe, affordable housing; reliable transportation; health insurance coverage for all family members; checking and savings account; acceptable credit rating or approved Credit Repair Plan; completed education/training program (if needed); and basic employment skills such as interviewing and resume preparation.