As workforce opportunities shifted during COVID-19, The Academy of Goal Achievers saw an increase in the need for services.
With a mission of developing youth leaders to impact communities while preparing youth and families for post-secondary success, The Academy of Goal Achievers (TAGA) was forced to find new and innovative ways to deliver services during the global COVID-19 pandemic.
While working to provide comprehensive mentoring services to their client base of Charlotte-area high school students from mostly single-parent families, TAGA worked to transition their programming to virtual methods due to COVID. In the face of mounting needs for their clients and community, TAGA faced their own challenges with funding. Thankfully, the City of Charlotte awarded the organization a Workforce Partner Support Grant, which helped keep their virtual doors open and directly supported over 70 students.
“The Workforce Partner Support Grant was so important during this time because it allowed us to meet the needs of our families, pivot strongly, and provide more financial support to eliminate barriers for our alumni students,” said Courtnie McIntosh, TAGA’s CEO.
Grant funding directly supported TAGA’s program operations, including staff salaries, technology, supplies, and other program-specific expenses for TAGA’s Intensive Mentoring Groups, Career Exploration and Educational Mentoring Programs, and Parental Education Classes.
As TAGA’s multi-year mentorship program guides students throughout high school to either post-secondary education or career placement, grant funding also covered career training certification fees for four program students. Unique to this program year due to the devastating impact of COVID-19, TAGA was able to provide direct payments for college tuition gaps and textbooks.
“This grant allowed us to exceed our goals for the program year,” McIntosh said. “We helped students complete their post-secondary education and paid for four students to receive career certifications. Our students were less worried about their financial troubles and more focused on their education.”
Although TAGA faced difficulties shifting its programs and keeping up with the demand, the students expressed gratitude for the organization’s efforts.
“This support from the Academy of Goal Achievers will help me beyond measure,” college student Katimah Irving said. “Not having to worry about how I am going to pay my rent or buy books for classes and many other important things is a heavy load taken off my shoulders. By receiving this support, I can stress less and focus more on my finals.”
Program Alumni Ryann Asbury added: “The Academy of Goal Achievers restored hope, belief, and drive in my future. … Assistance from The Goal Achievers will allow me to focus on my studies and relieve the anxiety and burden of expenses created with a college degree.”
The demand for student support provided through the Workforce Partner Support Grant funding was higher than expected for TAGA’s administrative team. As the pandemic persists, the organization is seeking additional financial support to provide services and opportunities to their program participants.
The Academy of Goal Achievers received a Workforce Partner Support Grant from Charlotte Open For Business. Through the grant program, the City of Charlotte has awarded $3.5 million to workforce partners to provide programs for our community.