Jefferson County United Way will host a program in March for self-starting county residents looking to improve their economic situation.

Classes will start March 4 at the Salvation Army and run from 10 a.m. to noon.

The program, "Getting Ahead in a Just-Gettin-By World," is designed to help build stability for people who find themselves struggling economically. Self-motivated participants can use the 10- to 15-week program to build their own path to a well-paying job, stable housing and learn how to save for a rainy day and old age, said Larry Cummins, local United Way director of community outreach.

"It kind of goes along with our mission statement, which is to work together in the community to improve the lives of folks in Jefferson County," Cummins said.

The program was made possible through a collaborative grant received by the Jefferson County United Way and nearby Jennings, Jackson and Lawrence counties, which also are providing classes for the program. Local organizations Pathways, WorkOne, Clearinghouse of Jefferson County and Salvation Army all are involved in sponsoring the classes.

Last year, Jefferson County hosted a seminar called "Bridges Out of Poverty," which provided social services and various community leaders ideas to reduce poverty in a comprehensive way.

Cummins said the class, which is the first of its kind for Jefferson County, serves as the next step in that process.

"Bridges Out of Poverty" author Ruby Payne co-wrote the workbook that will be used in the "Getting Ahead" program.

In the "Getting Ahead" program, the participants - referred to as investigators - create their own path for making a stable, secure life for themselves and their families. Cummins said the idea is to keep the class to 10 to 15 students, which he said will allow for more personal interaction and growth. He added that the teacher's role is more for guidance.

"The goal is to have folks maybe pursue a higher education and to improve their lifestyles," he said.

The deadline to apply for the course is Feb. 15, and participants must apply through a case worker.

For more information, contact Cummins with the United Way at (812) 265-2036 or, or Molly Dodge, Jefferson County Clearinghouse project director, at (812) 599-1996 or