Currently, 10% of the Olmsted County population is living in poverty, and the poverty rate is nearly double—19.3%—for single mother households. While more than ever a college degree is a predictor for family prosperity, single mothers face an especially daunting journey on the path to earning a post-secondary degree. They must juggle classes, homework, childcare, work, and running a household alone. In Rochester, the impact of a college degree on household income is especially significant: the poverty rate for women without an AA or a BA degree is twice as high as for men with the same level of education.
Olmsted County’s growing economy—due to the Destination Medical Center (DMC) initiative and increasing numbers of baby boomers leaving the work force—has resulted in a shortage of qualified workers. Jeremiah Program Rochester will both strengthen the economic vibrancy of the area and proactively help young families headed by single mothers walk the path from poverty to prosperity.