By Makenzie Winkler
On Oct. 26, 2022 the Richmond community was introduced to the Workforce Pathway at Kit Carson Commons, the newest housing development on Eastern Kentucky University’s campus. For 30 families, it’s more than just a housing development, it’s their home.
Kit Carson Commons is a combination of a scholar and workforce development house geared toward providing affordable housing, childcare and educational support for its residents.
According to the Single Mother Guide, nationally, the annual cost of center-based infant care averaged over 40% of the state median income for a single mother. Kit Carson Commons provides 30 single parents with the opportunity to focus on school without having to worry as much about those two expenses.
The Single Mother Guide article goes on to say that single mothers usually spend over half their income on housing expenses and a third on child care, leaving them with less money to pay for educational expenses.
Dominique Kellam, an Ohio native, along with her three children, moved to Kentucky into the Eastern Scholar House in 2020 during the pandemic.
“I was out of work, and I thought it’d be a good time to go back to school. I Googled where the best colleges for single parents were, and EKU was first on the list,” said Kellam. “Plus, I have family in Louisville who have wanted me to move to Kentucky for forever; the stars had just aligned. In August of 2020, my children and I moved.”
Kellam and her family moved into Kit Carson Commons for the additional space. Prior to living in Kit Carson Commons, the family of four shared a two-bedroom apartment.
Kellam said, “I was very excited when I found out we would be able to move in. I never thought I’d be able to move into a three-bedroom apartment. I have my own bathroom now and the apartments are brand new and there’s much more space.”
Kellam says living in Kit Carson Commons has been an amazing opportunity for her children. As a family, they have been able to participate in several on-campus events. Her two daughters were able to attend the middle school girls summer camp, and the Kellam family attended their first homecoming game this semester.
“My son asked me one day if he would be able to attend EKU like me, so it’s really great being able to set an example for my children and show them what they can accomplish,” Kellam said.
Thanks to the Workforce Pathway at Kit Carson Commons, Kellam is on track to graduate in May 2024 with a bachelor’s degree in computer science and a minor in mathematical sciences.
“I have a work placement here on campus that is in my career field, so that’s helping me build experience to enter the workforce,” said Kellam. “Now, I also have the opportunity to focus on my education without having to worry about paying outrageous prices for rent. It has given me peace of mind to be able to focus on my education.”
EKU’s nationally accredited computer science degree program provides students with opportunities for professional development and skills training in computer science, digital forensics and cybersecurity, cyber systems technology, and computer information systems. The program also allows students access to diverse concentrations, hands-on and project-based learning, and co-operative learning opportunities and internships. To learn more about EKU’s computer science programs, visit programs.eku.edu/academics/computer-science
The Workforce Pathway at Kit Carson Commons promotes self-sufficiency and economic stability, preparing residents to secure gainful employment from the educational support, social services and workforce training provided. To learn more, visit https://foothillscap.org/workforce-pathway-at-kit-carson-commons/.