Eastside Financial Center Expands Career Development for Job Seekers

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Medical professional helping a patient.

Jennifer Davis loves helping people by working in the healthcare industry. Through a special career development program at the Eastside Financial Center in St. Paul, she mapped out her career path that started with certification as a nursing assistant and more recently, a phlebotomist. Her long-term goal is to become a nurse.

The Eastside Financial Center, a program of Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota (LSS), is helping more people like Jennifer by expanding its already successful Bridges to Career Opportunities program with support from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. The $100,000 grant is designed to continue eliminating educational and training barriers to ensure more people of color, women and people with disabilities have opportunities for successful careers.

“Many we serve on Saint Paul’s Eastside are proud, hard-working people, however low-paying jobs can make it hard for families to make ends meet,” said Viva Yang, senior program manager at LSS Eastside Financial Center. “Increasing access to training and education opportunities for people who want more fulfilling and higher-paying jobs, coupled with financial counseling can help people achieve financial wellness.”

Yang said that while most people served by the Eastside Financial Center live on the Eastside, anyone who is age 18 and over can participate. Participants are not only matched with a career counselor to help them create and implement an action plan that fits their unique skills and interests, they also receive financial counseling to set customized financial goals. In addition to training, Jennifer has already made strides to improve her credit score, address her debt and is working on a college fund for her daughter.

“This is about more than just the job for now, it’s about your career, your future, your family, your financial wellness. Our career exploration and personal development program is a great way to help people work toward their career and financial aspirations and live secure and rewarding lives that they envision for themselves,” Yang said.

The Eastside Financial Center, a program of Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota, is a unique community-based center that provides a continuum of financial wellness services through a social and economic justice lens. The EFC empowers people to create and build assets, protect themselves from predatory financial practices, and create a strengthened and equitable community. The EFC offers financial counseling, career coaching, screening for public benefits programs, banking and financial products, free tax preparation services, and customized matched savings programming.