Capital IDEA

What they do:

The mission of Capital IDEA is to provide unemployed and underemployed Central Texas adults with access to economically self-sufficient growth jobs through long-term training and support services. Capital IDEA’s program includes:

Jobs-driven education and training. Capital IDEA, employers, and participants work together to ensure that all participants will secure a career job after graduation. It collaborates closely with employers, ensuring that education and training meet the needs of their openings. ACCGraduationandPinningCeremoniesMay2007051.jpg

Family wage jobs with benefits with a career path. Capital IDEA’s goal is for participants to reach jobs that offer at least $12 per hour, benefits, and further career advancement. No participant enters a training or employment path unless it leads reliably to such a job.

Financial Assistance and Support Services. Capital IDEA pays for tuition, fees, and books for all participants in training. Participants may also receive childcare, transportation, emergency assistance, and counseling so that they can focus on their education.

Case Management and Counseling. Participants meet weekly throughout the program with their Career Counselor and with other participants in their occupational track in a peer support session guided by Capital IDEA staff. Counselors meet individually with participants on an ongoing basis.

Creating a Customized Training Strategy for Each Person. Applicants are tested and evaluated by Career Counselors who partner with participants to develop a training strategy that best suits their needs. Capital IDEA begins training wherever a participant enters the process: GED Preparation, English as a Second Language classes, college entrance exam preparation, or college-ready.

Institution-based community commitment and accountability. Participants enter Capital IDEA through relationships with institutions, such as congregations and schools, whose leaders commit both to support them and to hold them accountable. In return, participants make commitments back to the community by helping the students who follow them or other volunteer work.

ACC_Graduation_and_Pinning_Ceremonies_May_2007_029originalLong-term training and post-placement support. Leaders of neighborhood institutions and professional staff support participants for as long as three years as they proceed through the pipeline to community college-level training and enter career employment.

The challenge:

The Capital IDEA board engaged in an intensive strategic planning process and produced a five year strategic plan which committed to achieving three primary goals by 2008:

  1. Triple job placements to 300 per year and double enrollment to 800 to address the huge demand for Capital IDEA services
  2. Double funding for the agency, and diversify funding sources in recognition of the agency’s dependence on public funding
  3. Develop new high skill careers to meet the demands of a changing marketplace

What we funded:

Recognizing that Capital IDEA and its students must commit to each other for an average of three years to ensure successful outcomes, and recognizing that increased and diversified funding sources requires an increased community of funders, the Silverton Foundation partnered with the Sooch Foundation in a funding program designed to provide Capital IDEA with resources to meet the goals of its five year strategic plan. Silverton and Sooch Foundation funding is designed to (1) underwrite the cost of ten new participants through the Capital IDEA program, (2) ensure the addition each year of five new participants, and (3) both provide and fulfill matching grant incentives which, if fully leveraged, will result in the addition of a total of $410,000 in new funds from a variety of new private funding sources over a three year period. Read about the outcomes of this collaboration here.


Click here to view recent independent examination and evaluation of workforce development programming in central Texas demonstrating that Capital IDEA programming is uniquely effective in providing meaningful and sustainable increases in employment and earnings to program participants while moving them towards sustainable “living wage” employment.

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