• Ellamae Arbuzinski

Coaching for Life Skills

Updated: Mar 22

Humans are naturally cooperative, as evidenced by our tendency to group together and create communities. We all have goals we wish to accomplish, whether it be finishing school, gaining financial literacy, or overcoming obstacles in our path, and it can be difficult (at times, impossible) to reach these objectives on our own. A proper support system can make a world of difference.


This is especially true if you are experiencing poverty. Sometimes it feels like there’s no way out of the struggle, which is why Community Action Duluth offers the free support of highly trained coaches who help you attain your goals. There’s no shame in needing assistance, and you shouldn’t have to struggle on your own.



Educational Coaching

Completing your education can be a grueling process. There can be many obstacles in the way, especially for people struggling with poverty or those who are the first in their families to go to college. Some of these barriers can include lack of financing, work and family obligations, and time constraints. CAD aims to address these complications by offering a variety of educational coaching. We offer the chance for participants to study for and complete their GED in order to expand employment opportunities for those who need a high school degree. Childcare is available during all classes for those who have children. Coaches also assist with enrolling in college. Secondary education can be especially complex and difficult to navigate. Coaches will help you set and achieve goals like finding financial aid, researching a career path, and addressing other struggles that present themselves. In addition, coaches guide you in paying off student loans and bringing loans out of default. We also offer regular classes to help you become a Certified Nursing Assistant. The course ends with a test to certify you and a job fair to assist you in gaining employment afterwards.


Financial Literacy

One thing many people struggle with is attaining financial literacy. There seems to be a common frustration because of the lack of formal education when it comes to finances. People often feel lost when it comes to the credit system or learning how to budget. This is not a personal failing by any means, as teaching financial literacy is not a priority for most schools. CAD’s financial coaches assist in navigating these issues, most notably with their Common Cents program. Common Cents is a free 16-hour course which aims to teach financial literacy. It covers a plethora of topics, such as creating a budget, improving your credit score, avoiding identity theft and predatory lending, and more. There are no barriers for eligibility so anyone who is interested in becoming more confident with their finances is welcome to sign up. If you would like to participate in the next class, please email porsha@communityactionduluth.org for more information. Coaches will often also work with you one-on-one in tandem with attending the class. Their goal is to meet you wherever you are in regards to your objectives and work from there, creating personalized plans to fit your individual needs.


Bridge to Employment

Those who are enrolled in the Minnesota Family Investment Program can request to work with a CAD Employment Counselor through the St. Louis County office. The MFIP program assists parents and their dependents in meeting employment, education, and other goals. The program offers a combined support of SNAP food assistance as well as financial assistance. The Bridge to Employment team is here to help with any questions, concerns, and requirements of the program as well as other CAD and community resources.



Path to Homeownership

Homeownership has long been a symbol of financial stability. However, it can seem like a lofty, at times unattainable, goal for many struggling with poverty and debt. A major obstacle for people is saving up for a down payment and dealing with closing costs. An imbalanced debt-to-income ratio can make it difficult to get a loan in the first place. CAD’s coaches are prepared to assist in the home-buying process every step of the way. The Common Cents class covers many topics concerning homeownership, but coaches also work on a personal level with you in order to set attainable goals like improving your credit score or learning how to budget savings for a down payment. In addition, coaches support participants with other aspects of buying a home, such as how to navigate getting a loan from a bank or credit union, signing closing paperwork, and finding down payment assistance programs. CAD also offers the FAIM Matched Savings Account, where you can apply to get $3 for every $1 you save. This is put into an account to accrue money as you save for your down payment or other major financial goals. The main objective of our coaches is to meet people where they are at in their journey to homeownership and help them reach a true understanding of the process.


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Community Action Duluth

2424 W 5th St. Suite 102

Duluth, MN 55806

218-726-1665

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