Restore Education offers college readiness and job training programs to anyone in San Antonio age 16 and older. The pandemic has made this mission even more important with so many people losing their jobs or having their hours reduced during the crisis. But the pandemic has also expanded the need.
People not only need training, they need help with tuition because they have lost their current job. With schools closed or offering distance learning, many are struggling with childcare issues they didn’t have before.
“We’ve barely been able to keep up,” said Kelli Rhodes, Executive Director of Restore Education. “We’ve gotten anywhere from 1,200 to 1,500 applications for our programs since July—so it’s double what we would normally get.”
The nonprofit is a key partner in the city’s $75 million, four-year initiative to get 50,000 San Antonians trained and into the workforce by 2025 in the post-COVID-19 economy.
But Rhodes said as the number of clients grows, so will the need for flexible funding to be able to fill those gaps to help keep their students on track.
“That’s the importance of why we’re here: which is to be that bridge and that first step, that ladder … they’ve got to be ready for those programs or else they’re just gonna drop out,” Rhodes said.
Restore Education has grown so much in the past 12 years. Originally a tiny church-based nonprofit formed to help teenagers get their GEDs, it now offers 11 programs and maintains multiple partnerships with other social services providers. Services range from English as a Second Language for adults, to helping immigrants prepare for citizenship exams, to short-term career certification tracks.
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