Working with Single Mothers


I invite you to read No Matter What Obstacle is Thrown My Waya report written by Sandy Goodman and Mina Reddy. The report identifies the needs of addressing education for single mothers who represent 11% of the undergraduate population. From the report, key practices that led to increased retention are identified. Some ideas (supported by research) include personal support, academic support, financial support, childcare, workforce development;l, family-friendly spaces and events,and community partnerships. 

Please review the information and share your thoughts. How are you serving single parents? 

Kathy Tracey


Wow, thanks Kathy. I was just logging in to the Community to circulate the paper, and you beat me to it. I appreciate that so much. I look forward to hearing community members' responses to the work. I hope you'll share your programs' or neighboring community colleges' targeted strategies to support single mothers. 

Thanks for joining us, Sandy, and for posting this paper, Kathy.  Reading the pages that Sandy mentions (21-25), I was struck by the following quote.

While high demand and high growth may ensure that there are job openings when a student completes training, these indicators do not guarantee that the wages lead to self-sufficiency without additional training and advancement. Career advising, to help single mothers make well-informed education and career choices, is critical. The curriculum should equip them with specific occupational training as well as broader, transferable employability and lifelong learning skills needed for continued advancement and the changeability of the 21st century workforce.

The paper goes on to mention that many programs use their college’s career services and job placement offices, and campus-based American Job Centers (One Stop Centers) to provide needed counseling to mothers.  I wonder what, if any, differences there are in the advising provided by colleges, versus One Stops?  One Stop Centers are fortunate to have staff trained to locate and advise based on local, regional, and national employment data and projections, including wages.  Colleges, on the other hand, know their programs and the pathways they have laid out for completers.  Ideally, these two would be working in collaboration to provide the most comprehensive advising services.  

I'm curious what recommendations members have for the two to work more collaboratively, and ensure that they advise students around both demand/growth and family-sustaining wages?

Mike Cruse

Career Pathways Moderator

Hello Mike and others,

From my experience, successful collaborations between organizations and/or their collaborating divisions begin with a clear understanding by both organizations of their own and each others': 1) organization and/or organizational division's mission, goals and other purposes; 2) their incentives; and 3) their constraints. Each organization or division, in this case perhaps the community college's employment training program and the campus-based American Job Center (One Stop), needs to understand very clearly what the benefits are not only for their own organization or division but also for  the other  organization or division, specifically how the other organization or division benefits from the collaboration. Good collaborations take staff time and sometimes other resources. Periodic check-ins are a good idea, during which each organization speaks frankly from their point of view about the collaboration's benefits, challenges, and resources, and says directly how they are are feeling about the future of the collaboration. Sometimes, especially in new collaborations, these check-ins need to be often, quarterly for example.

Often, good collaborations also depend on having leaders in each organization or division who understand the benefit of the collaboration and champion it, who keep it alive and vibrant amid their many other responsibilities.

David J. Rosen