Vince “Hoosier” first came to the Mary Rigg Neighborhood Center—long a partner with LISC in delivering much-need community services in West Indianapolis—at the start of 2011 after being laid off due to the economic downturn. He had been referred to the center by a friend, who suggested he enroll in a computer-training course with the hope of learning new skills that would help him get a job.
“My first impression of the Mary Rigg Neighborhood Center was a really good one,” said Vince. “Everybody wanted to help me by any means they could. They wanted to hear my goals and my dreams—and I knew they’d help me get there.”
The Mary Rigg Neighborhood Center is a Center for Working Families (CWF)—one of seven throughout Indianapolis supported by LISC. Centers for Working Families help low-income families gain stability and financial independence while also helping them develop long-term assets. They do this by focusing on three key areas: employment and career advancement, financial literacy and coaching, and access to income supports. LISC actively oversees the Centers for Working Families and has helped them develop their model for assisting families through education and coaching.
When Vince started his journey at the Mary Rigg Center for Working Families, he knew practically nothing about computers. But he stuck with the class, and began participating in employment and finance management workshops while meeting regularly with coaches to help get his life on track. This allowed him to develop his résumé and to start looking for jobs.
Vince graduated from his computer-training course with a job readiness certificate in March of 2011. This led to his finding a full-time job in construction. Unfortunately, he was laid off, but he quickly rebounded and found another position making a comparable wage.
In February of 2012, Vince was laid off again. He was frustrated, but his hopes for the future were high.
Vince found another job, but lost that one, too. The constant uncertainty about employment began taking its toll. “I started feeling like I was always taking one step forward, then two steps back. It was a very difficult time for me.”
For nearly a year, Vince was mostly absent from the Center for Working Families at the Mary Rigg Neighborhood Center. His coaches were concerned about him, and they had difficulty making contact. He just wasn’t showing the interest and motivation he’d had in the past.
Finally, in September of 2013, Vince stopped by the center and made an appointment with his financial coach. He had a serious desire to get back on track. He learned about the Center for Working Families Twin Account program and decided to enroll to help build his credit. People enrolled in the Twin Accounts program are given a small 12-month loan by LISC, which is put in a locked savings account. Participants make monthly payments, which are reported to the major credit bureaus. Each payment that is made on time is matched by LISC, and participants are allowed to withdraw the funds at the end of the 12-month period.
Despite the setbacks, Vince’s tenacity paid off. He found a full-time job in January of 2014 making $23.06/hour, and has the opportunity to purchase health insurance from his employer. He successfully paid off his Twin account this year, and as a result has a FICO credit score of 710.
Now, Vince is expressing interest in starting his own construction business.
“I’m in a really good place now,” said Vince. “I want to work toward owning a home, and I’m happy at my new job.”
Vince plans to attend a workshop sponsored by the Indianapolis Neighborhood Housing Partnership, which helps people realize their dream of home ownership. And he’s continuing to work with his financial coach on ways to improve his credit score.
Vince’s story shows what can happen with hard work and dedication. It shows that even with significant setbacks, you can achieve your goals if you continue to believe in yourself. Vince proves that becoming a success—with the help of a strong support system like the one found at Centers for Working Families—is always within your grasp. And he continues to prove that every day.