The New Choices program, which offers free classes in both Macon and Jackson counties, provides participants with the skills, knowledge and resources to transition back into the workforce or school.
New Choices Coordinator Ashley Freeman says participation in the program is beneficial in both the short term and long term.
“The New Choices program is about education,” said Freeman. “Education can change lives, it can improve your life and make it so much better than you thought possible.”
The program is not geared towards domestic violence or sexual assault, but is mainly for single parents and displaced homemakers.
Anyone over the age of 18, including men, can participate in the program, as long as the individual meets the following criteria: Has worked unpaid at home for at least five years; is unable to secure gainful employment due to a lack of required training or experience; is unemployed and has been dependent on the income of another and is no longer adequately supported by that income.
Classes meet once a week, on Tuesday in Macon County and Friday in Jackson County.
Topics include building a resume, financial management, fitness and nutrition, and much more. Upcoming financial classes will be taught by OnTrack Financial Education and Counseling of Western North Carolina.
Upon completion of the program, participants are eligible to receive assistance with funding for tuition/books, childcare and gas vouchers. New Choices also helps with the process of returning to college, including assistance with filling out forms, financial aid and college applications.
For more information about New Choices and how to enroll, contact Ashley Freeman at (828) 369-5544 or visit www.reachofmaconcounty.org.