CAP Services’ Skills Enhancement Program recently graduated its 900th participant.

CAP’s Skills Program, which serves individuals and families in Outagamie, Portage, Waupaca and Waushara counties, helps motivated individuals increase their ability to provide for themselves. The program provides financial assistance for tuition, books, and other training-related needs, as well as helping to cover the cost of training-related child care and mileage. The program also provides case management to assist participants in overcoming obstacles and reaching their goals.

“CAP Services not only provided financial support but they also gave encouragement and direction,” said Ashley Bosquez, a Skills graduate. “It was like having a personal life coach rooting in your corner and giving you the resources to get your goals accomplished.”

Program participation requires that individuals are residents of one of the four counties served, work a minimum of 20 hours per week, and have household income at or below 150 percent of the federal poverty guidelines (for example, $30,630 for a family of three in 2017).

The 47 individuals who graduated the Skills program in 2016 saw an average increase in annual income of $12,590; the average hours worked increased from 28 to 36 hours per week; and almost 70 percent of the graduates gained access to employer-sponsored health care benefits.

Results have been even stronger so far this year, with average annual increases in household earnings of $17,793 and nearly 80 percent of graduates gaining access to employer-sponsored health insurance.

“The Skill Enhancement Program recognizes the need for short-term workforce training balanced with family and work obligations,” said Kim Calmes, Skills Program Coordinator. “Our participants carry the lion’s share when balancing these priorities in the program, and in the end they benefit and the community wins too as we create a higher-skilled workforce.”

There are currently openings for new Skills Enhancement participants. For more information, visit

CAP Services is a private, nonprofit community action agency that has been advancing social and economic justice for people and communities in Marquette, Outagamie, Portage, Waupaca and Waushara counties since 1966.

The Skills Enhancement Program helps working-poor individuals and families increase their earned income and access to employer-sponsored benefits. CAP Services began offering the Skills Program in Outagamie County in 1991 and has since expanded to Portage, Waupaca, and Waushara counties.