Catholic Charities USA is pleased to announce that nine agencies, from across the ministry, are finalists in its Innovation Challenge competition. The CCUSA Innovation Challenge seeks to inspire member agencies to propose a fresh solution toward alleviating, reducing or eliminating poverty. The agency proposals were required to address a specific area of poverty and must be achievable, measurable, replicable, sustainable and scalable. Check out the finalists and their “Big Ideas” below.



Catholic Charities of Boston

Healthcare Bridge ESOL Program (HBEP)

CCAB will address the critical shortage of healthcare workers in Massachusetts (MA) through the Healthcare Bridge ESOL Program (HBEP), supporting individuals with emerging English proficiency to develop the language, math, and digital literacy, and systems navigation skills required to access employment opportunities in healthcare. Many adults graduating from ESOL programs still lack the needed skills to enter healthcare skills training programs and jobs, a largely undressed gap in the continuum of workforce development services in Massachusetts.




Catholic Social Services, Columbus

Career Navigation

Everyone needs to get through their ABCs – A job, a Better job, a Career. Catholic Social Services’ (CSS) Career Navigation program is designed to help low-income workers overcome barriers to keeping their jobs and moving up the ladder. Career Navigation responds to the personal, economic and social barriers to career success by partnering with employers to provide multi-tiered case management, job training, and emergency financial assistance.




Catholic Charities of Southeast Michigan

MI Oportunidad Childcare Workforce Development Program

MI Oportunidad will prepare immigrant Spanish-speaking women to begin a career in childcare either by working in a facility or opening their own childcare at home. Training will be provided in Spanish with integrated English and will cover ESL, adult basic education, job readiness and childcare safety trainings that would be compliant with state requirements. In addition, it will provide mentorship for women who wish to open a childcare at home. The program will provide free inhouse childcare for participants which will allow them the opportunity to practice under the supervision of qualified staff.




Catholic Charities Archdiocese of Hartford

BOOST 2.0 – Boosting Opportunities for Social and Economic Mobility for Families

BOOST 2.0 provides an innovative, two-generation, career pathway credentialing program linked to family-sustaining wages for two City of Hartford, CT, target groups ages 18 to 35 who face multiple barriers to upward economic mobility: 1) young parents from Catholic Charities, Inc. -Archdiocese of Hartford’s four Neighborhood Equity Centers in Hartford; and 2) previously incarcerated young fathers in our Fatherhood Program in Hartford. In the next three years, expected outcomes are that 90 participants complete industry-recognized trainings and certifications; 60 are placed in jobs in their field of training; and 45 complete advanced training. Participants’ children will be on track for school readiness and meet developmental milestones.




Catholic Charities Diocese of Nashville

Public Sector Pathways to Prosperity in Middle Tennessee

Public Sector Pathways to Prosperity (PSP2P) is Catholic Charities, Diocese of Nashville’s project to provide direct pathways to public sector jobs in four largely rural Middle Tennessee communities. By leveraging partnerships with American Jobs Centers and the nation’s first federally registered teacher apprenticeship program, Grow Your Own Tennessee, Catholic Charities-DON will help 40 households move out of poverty to economic stability in the first year and will expand the model by 50% each year until we have served clients across Middle TN.



Catholic Social Services, Rapid City

Uplifting Parents Certification Program

The goal of the Catholic Social Services-Rapid City Uplifting Parents Certificate Program (CSS-CP) is to empower single parents to achieve greater financial and socioemotional stability and aid in ending generational poverty by assisting parents in advancing their education/careers through certificate programs and wraparound services. Participants will receive comprehensive support services such as mentorship, stipends, community referrals, and other wraparound services as they work toward completing their respective certificates.



Catholic Charities Archdiocese of San Antonio

San Pasquale

The San Pasquale program is a social enterprise that aims to empower people to cook sustainable and delicious food. San Pasquale was born out of the same spirit as its namesake: San Pasquale was a Franciscan Monk who served in the monastery’s kitchen and is the patron saints of cooks. The program is inspired by his mission to create as little food waste as possible while joyfully cooking nutritious meals. The program participants are similarly empowered to rise above their circumstance by engaging in culinary training and working to achieve self-sufficiency. The program partners with two shelters: Seton Home for pregnant and parenting teen mothers, and Guadalupe Home for at-risk homeless mothers. Catholic Charities’ mission through San Pasquale is to propel mothers toward future success by offering critical services, including individual case management services, mental health counseling, as needed, and paid work experience.



Catholic Charities Eastern Washington

From PSH to Paycheck: Activating a National Partnership between Source America & CCUSA Housing

Millions of people with disabilities (PWD) opt out of work for fear of losing disability, housing, and other benefits, depriving them of the dignity of work, costing the government billions, and degrading the Common Good as families stay in poverty. CCEW crafted a partnership with Skils’kin—a Source America affiliate and part of the federal AbilityOne program—to welcome into the workforce low-income PWD in CCEW housing. Skils’kin helps PWD enter the work force without risking benefits. CCEW brings Skils’kin to permanent supportive housing (PSH) sites and provides a warm introduction for qualified residents who want to work. Our person-centered models create a synergy that can be replicated nationwide through 400 Source America and 167 Catholic Charities affiliates in 48 states.


Catholic Charities Diocese of Venice

Workforce Development for Victims of Human Trafficking

Catholic Charities Diocese of Venice proposes an innovative Workforce Development program focused on helping victims of human trafficking transition to self sufficiency. The program builds on the agency’s Human Trafficking Victim’s Assistance Program, by expanding a comprehensive social service model to include assistance with job readiness and employment. Survivor engagement is critical for empowerment and establishing effective victim-centered and trauma-informed strategies and interventions to create a path for survivors out of crisis and into thriving self-sufficiency.