MOMs: From Education to Employment®

"Since entering the program, it has helped me remain in a positive position in my life to help me understand how to stay diverse, educated, open minded and accept the challenges towards success."

- Alicia O., 30-year old single mom with three girls ages 3, 7, and 11

WNY Women's Foundation's most recent large investment is the pilot program MOMs: From Education to Employment® Program participants are offered a variety of academic and career supports which are continually enhanced based on participant feedback as the program progresses. Working closely with program coaches, we have already seen movement towards the goal of family sustaining jobs for single mothers in the program.  

The program is in it's 4th year at Niagara County Community College(NCCC) and expanded to Erie Community College in Spring, 2017.

Click here to read the article about the MOMs: From Education to Employment®  program in our most recent newsletter.

Program Successes at NCCC:

After 8 semesters, 291 mothers have been served by the program (267 students, 24 alumnae). These mothers represent over 400 children who have also benefited from the program. Eighty-One of these students have graduated!

The program has achieved the following outcomes at NCCC:

  • 145 mothers have found new employment.
  • 96 mothers have found internships.
  • 64 scholarships have been awarded.
  • On average, graduates of the program earn 68% more per week than enrolled students ($589/week compared to $351/week).
  • Single mothers are reporting increased flexibility and accommodations from faculty.
  • Campus sensitivity for single mothers has made a palpable gain.


  • 54% of mothers are over 30 years old - 20% over 40.
  • 70% of students are attending full time, while 30% attend part time.
  • Approximately 33% of the women who completed FAFSA forms self-reported that they receive public assistance upon entry to program.
  • 65% of students are residents of Niagara County, 34% Erie County and 1% "other"

This initiative was originally designed to reach 80-100 low-income single mothers each semester over three years, and we will likely have the opportunity to serve more women than expected. Students in the program have the opportunity to participate in career and academic coaching, peer mentoring, financial aid and career planning workshops, and study groups specifically created for the participants and supported by childcare opportunities through NCCC's accredited Child Development Center.

The single mothers in the program are empowered to complete their education, secure a self-sustaining job, and provide for themselves and their families into the future.

"[This program] makes me feel so empowered. When I left the merchant marines to have kids, I felt like nothing, like no one noticed me. Now I am part of study groups on campus. When I missed a class all these 19-20 years-old kids would text me: Where are you? Are you alright?"

"It is nice to be together as a group.  We are a support system for each other.  If we didn't have this program, we wouldn't know/have each other - we wouldn't inspire one another."

"MOMs helped me build my confidence up.  I always turn to Kelly to figure out the next step.  My son started day care when I stared school. My son watching me go to school was motivating."

"My 12-year-old daughter recently said, 'When I'm older I want to go to college like you.' And my son wrote something up about how proud of me he is.  He said that I have inspired him to try harder in school.  He also said about me, 'She doesn't know that I am watching and paying attention but, I notice.' I have noticed a difference in his grades."

Erica's Story:

According to our Pathways to Progress Report, education and career development are the most powerful tools for developing sustainable career pathways and economic independence. For women raising children on their own and living in poverty, in order to get back on her feet and headed toward economic security, she may need support with life skills - from parenting to managing money - and ultimately education and training geared toward sustainable employment. The MOMS: From Education to Employment initiative is a tailored program that coordinates education, experience and skills development, and aligns both educational goals with careers that provide a family-sustaining wage.


 Thank you to the following for making this program possible:

Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, First Niagara Foundation, Grigg Lewis Foundation, Joseph and Anna Gartner Fund,
Josephine Goodyear Foundation, Joy Family Foundation, 
Patrick P. Lee Foundation, Phil & Nicole Nobel, 
WNY Power Authority, Hodgson Russ LLP, Niagara Area Foundation, National Grid, Garman Family Foundation, Elf Foundation
and United Way of Buffalo and Erie County.