The persistent issue of poverty continues for more than one reason, and as such single vector solutions are ineffective. For persons to come out of the poverty class and enter the middle class requires not only financial resources and/or training in job skills, but a change from poverty class cultural thinking to middle class cultural thinking. As such, for any solution to actually work, one-on-one mentoring is requisite.
According to Payne, DeVol, and Smith in “Bridges Out of Poverty” (ISBN 978-1-934583-35-7, p285) necessary resources can be divided into eight groups:
6. Support Systems
7. Knowledge of Middle Class hidden rules (expected behaviors)
8. Role Models
Some of these resources can be provided through existing government programs, but more often than not, government programs simply sustain the status quo: they don’t normally change the way people trapped in poverty think so that they choose to become self supporting members of the middle class.
For this reason the multi-faceted approach that we use at Adult Life Training is important: it provides hard and soft job skills in the most current computer technology, but through group interaction and mentoring it also transfers knowledge of the hidden behavioral rules and expectations of the middle class. Without this kind of one-on-one attention the rest is ineffective.