Artina McIntosh, a full-time college professor and entrepreneur for over 30 years, saw a gap in the needs of her students. Realizing that many of her students were not prepared for college, especially in the disciplines of writing, math and life skills, she wanted to help. While there were many resources for this in Los Angeles, there were not that many opportunities for students in the Inland Empire.

Empowering Success Now, based in Fontana, was founded to bridge this gap 22 years ago and continues to find new ways to help students transition into college, trade school, the military and in the workforce with the skills and tools they need to succeed. The organization offers a suite of services, including an after-school homework program, skill and agility training through a basketball camp, low-cost internet and computers, youth programs and workshops that help students gain skills.

Three years ago, the organization received one of 50 grants awarded through Microsoft to create a program that increases the skills of potential employees. The program increases applicants’ value and potential for success in the workforce. The Inland Empire Institute of Business and Technology (IEI), a division of Empowering Success Now, offers the community low and no-cost technical and workforce skills.

Through IEI, clients are offered 30-day online digital skill badges, certificates and industry certifications that can help a jobseeker whether they are in high school, changing careers or transitioning back into the workforce.

Every class offered online is created to teach skills needed for success in the overall workplace, a student’s industry of choice and in their life. Classes are fast-paced and created to be engaging. The hope is that the skills offered can help students change their lives quickly. Currently, classes are free and supported by the grant from Microsoft. In the future, they will remain low-cost.

Ultimately, IEI will provide a place where employers can send staff to build skills they may be missing, and potentially build skills badges based on employers’ needs. Currently, this includes business communication, professional etiquette and leadership. Online courses are taught by business professionals who are relatable.

One of the organization’s clients who took three classes during the soft launch of the badge program was able to procure a raise in her job.

“It is less expensive to have current staff gain skills than to hire new staff,” McIntosh said. “People want to become lifelong learners and they are telling us what badges they want to be available.”

Empowering Success Now also recently received a job placement grant from the State of California. Interested clients can receive a skills assessment and be partnered with career specialists who will help them into internships and job placements. They are also directed to skills badges courses to procure the skills they need for the jobs they wish to secure.

Recently, Empowering Success Now received a grant from Youth Grantmakers through the Inland Empire Community Foundation. The organization will need further funding to help grow its programming and assist more people in the region. There is a need for sponsors, partners and employers who are willing to pay to send employees to classes. The organization also invites anyone who is passionate about teaching to help create and offer a class for free or at no cost to those looking to build their skills.

“We want the community to know that we are sincere about what we do,” McIntosh said. “Our number one goal is the success of others. We are a group of educators who are passionate about education.”

More information  or 844-883-3822 for organization information and for badges and skills training.

This article originally appeared in the Press Enterprise, January 2023.

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