BMO Harris Bank has granted $4,000 each to CAP Services’ Skills Enhancement Program and Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program. The funds will help CAP assist individuals in Portage, Waupaca, Waushara and Outagamie counties.
“CAP Services plays an important role in providing educational opportunities for many people in our communities,” said John Tubbs, BMO Harris Bank Regional President. “These opportunities lead to better jobs and stronger communities, which is why we continue to support this critical initiative.”
The Skills Enhancement Program, which is available in Portage, Waupaca, Waushara and Outagamie counties, is a locally designed workforce development program that assists working, low-income individuals obtain the skills needed to compete for living wage jobs. The program assists with tuition, books, and training-related transportation and child care costs that participants could not otherwise afford.
In 2014, the Skills Program helped 48 households obtain the training needed to obtain living wage jobs and health insurance. The average annual increase in household earnings for individuals who completed the program was $11, 639. Approximately 60% of those individuals gained access to employer-sponsored health insurance benefits.
VITA, available in Portage, Waupaca and Waushara counties, helps individuals and families maximize their tax returns. IRS-certified volunteers provide free basic income tax return preparation and inform taxpayers about special tax credits for which they may qualify, such as Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), Child Tax Credit, and Credit for the Elderly or the Disabled.
In the 2014 tax season, CAP Services served 662 households and helped these families to secure more than $1.2 million in state and federal refunds.
“BMO Harris Bank continues to be a great partner in CAP Services’ mission of helping the people and families in our area get on the path to self-sufficiency,” said Mary Patoka, CAP President and CEO. “We are grateful for their generosity and continued dedication to the people we serve.”