< Back to Search

HPOG Promising Practice: Zepf Center, Training and Supportive Services

Published: May 15, 2019
Health Profession Opportunity Grants (HPOG)
Technical Assistance

Toledo, OH

It takes both support and understanding to break through poverty.

The Northwest Ohio Pathway to Healthcare Careers (NOPHC) is building a new mindset for both staff and program participants in the city of Toledo and Lucas County, Ohio. Understanding the unique circumstances of each of its participants is the backbone of the success of NOPHC, a part of the NetWORK division at Zepf Center.

NOPHC empowers Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipients, persons with disabilities, homeless, veterans, and young people to enter and advance in the field of healthcare. Around 52 percent of program participants are working poor. They are employed at least part time, but scarce hours and minimum wages leave them with only enough to cover basic expenses. Out of 521 NOPHC participants, 273 had a job at intake but still fell below federal and state poverty guidelines.

Lucas County is a Bridges Out of Poverty community, a support program that takes a comprehensive approach to alleviating poverty through the lens of economic class. It offers training to community organizations like NetWORK, local employers, and social service agencies to understand the frame of mind of individuals living in poverty. It helps organizations and their staff find the right tools to assist participants to grow and thrive in the next chapter of their lives.

Implementing Bridges Out of Poverty and its Getting Ahead component was a major part of NOPHC’s original proposal for Health Profession Opportunity Grants (HPOG) funding. Getting Ahead is a 20-session training program geared toward participants rather than staff. Each session has a Getting Ahead facilitator, co-facilitator, and small peer group as personal support. They create a safe space for NOPHC participants struggling with poverty and allow them to discover the resources needed to succeed in and out of healthcare training and employment. Resources range from financial to spiritual and mental. Participants examine and discuss their own life experiences and the impact of poverty in their community.

The program is always looking for new ways to tailor its services to bolster participant success. Obligations to work, school, and family make it hard for some students to engage with Getting Ahead. NOPHC incentivized Getting Ahead attendance and broadened training locations and times through a partnership with Owens Community College. Participants receive $25 for each session. Incentives are in the form of gas cards, bus passes, training-related gift cards, or saved for the payment of utilities, internet, or a laptop.

Compensating NOPHC students for time boosts enrollment and individual success by mitigating stresses in and out of the classroom.

This Promising Practice was self-identified by the grantee and information contained in this document was provided by the grantee.

Last Reviewed: May 15, 2019