ECS is celebrating Economic Mobility Month by reflecting and sharing how community members and participants use ECS programs and resources to better their lives. This installment highlights the impact of ECS’ MindSet program through the story of Stefen.
In November 2019, Stefen (also known as Stef) returned to his Philadelphia roots, facing unemployment, and lacking personal transportation. Waiting at a SEPTA bus stop, he noticed an unfamiliar program advertised on the bus's side – MindSet. Little did he know this moment would initiate a profound four-year journey of self-discovery, professional growth, and goal attainment.
Within ECS’ MindSet program's nurturing environment, Stef cultivated essential skills, paving the way for a life characterized by prosperity and upward mobility. MindSet is a program that pairs individual coaching with group workshops to develop skills related to long-term personal, professional, and relational improvement. The program helps residents of the Greater Philadelphia region achieve goals, develop executive functioning skills, and reach self-sufficiency for themselves and their families.
Stef's primary ambition was to shift his career into the technology sector. Despite holding advanced degrees in public health management, he found himself unsatisfied professionally. MindSet became the catalyst for his transformation, guiding him to formulate a plan to secure technology certifications. Once he achieved that goal, Stef found himself certified but without a job in technology. With the help of ECS’ professional network, Stef found an internship and leveraged that experience into a full-time position at Visual Sound, earning a family-sustaining wage of $60,000 and access to affordable employer-sponsored benefits.
Embodying a commitment to collaborative economic mobility, ECS played a pivotal role in Stef's journey. Graduating from MindSet requires dedication, time investment, and a commitment to the goals set during initial meetings. Stef's perseverance, coupled with the program's support, underscored the importance of regularly reassessing and adjusting goals throughout the challenging but rewarding journey.
In 2023, Stef proudly graduated from the MindSet program, surpassing his set objectives. Today, he not only thrives in the technology sector but also directs a team addressing the needs of the School District of Philadelphia. Stef's credit improved, and he saved over $10,000 towards the home he now lives in with his family. Stef credits the MindSet program and its coaches with helping him make life choices with dignity and agency. He often thinks of that rainy November day with gratitude for how far he has come.