NexStep Alliance Helps Wichita's North End Community
WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – NexStep Alliance will soon be available to the public at the Evergreen Recreation Center and Library.
This week, KSN’s Andrea Herrera talked with those behind the new program about what it will bring to the community. The program’s main goal is to help Wichitans and residents around the area thrive and become self-sufficient citizens.
“Sometimes, especially in this day in age, it’s tough to really grasp those ideas of, you know, ‘We can do this, or we can accomplish that,’” said Yamir Lozada, director of Next Step Alliance.
Lozada will be working hand in hand with the executive director of Empower, Ariel Rodriguez, to help bring this program to the community.
“It is an important resource for the north end to create accessibility for our local neighbors to be able to advance their skills and education levels,” said Rodriguez.
Rodriguez said this project has been in the works for over a year.
“It’s exciting to see that students can walk right in and access this. That’s really one of the big pieces behind Empower,” said Rodriguez.
Both directors said it was essential to create a program that can help a community that is often under-served, saying many individuals don’t have a lot of opportunities to continue their education.
“It’s going to bring the ignition to help the Hispanic community get out of their comfort zone because you know it’s something new,” said Lozada. “It’s really going to be something special that is going to impact many people to come.”
Enrollment for this new GED program will begin Feb. 28 and will run until March 3, with classes starting in March at the Evergreen Recreation and Library. The cost for the whole school year is $50. The course duration is different for each student who will decide when they feel ready to take the GED exam. Once they are, they can schedule a testing session.
“With our GED program, not only will they get that face-to-face instruction or digital if that’s an option that they want to part take in, but they’re going to be exposed in a wonderful adult education program that is full or resources,” said Lozada.
About Goodwill Industries of Kansas, Inc.
As a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, Goodwill Industries of Kansas provides opportunities for people with disabilities and barriers to employment seeking independent and productive lives. Hundreds of people with disabilities receive case management services and develop life and job skills through employment at Goodwill’s home office and in the community. Whether it be recycling donated items or preparing insulation for local aviation manufacturers, Goodwill clients and employees have found success and become more independent through work in our contracts division.
In addition, adults work toward their GED and other certificate programs through NexStep Alliance, a partnership between Goodwill and WSU Tech. More than 1,400 individuals receive services through Goodwill each year. These programs are supported by 18 retail stores in Kansas along with an online division at shopgoodwill.com/ks. For more information about Goodwill, visit goodwillks.org.
About Empower, Inc.
Empower, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization founded in 2020, provides the North End residents of Wichita, a predominantly Hispanic community, connection to a continuum of educational opportunities, work-readiness preparation, and small business development resources in a culturally inviting, bilingual, and comfortable space at the Evergreen Community Center and Library. For more information about Empower, visit empowernorthend.org.