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Oklahoma City - An OSU Degree in OKC.

CFSI receives $5,000 grant from Merrick Foundation

OSU-OKC is proud to announce a $5,000 grant from The Merrick Foundation in support of the OSU-OKC Center for Social Innovation.

CFSI has spent more than two years building and testing an educational pathway for justice-involved Oklahomans. This work has been formalized into an effort known as the OSU-OKC Center for Social Innovation (CFSI), which officially launched on August 28, 2020. 

Through this first-in-the-nation model, OSU-OKC collaborates with Oklahoma non-profit agencies to help move people with challenged backgrounds toward self-sufficiency and stability by providing postsecondary education and training. Program participants are referred to CFSI after completing addiction recovery programs or jail diversion programs. Many have experienced homelessness, trauma, abuse, addiction, and many other challenges. Some have aged out of the foster care system and others are escaping abusive relationships. The program is designed to give hope to individuals overcoming a wide array of barriers such as these.

Participants complete an intensive nine-month program, which provides a solid start to a postsecondary education, college coursework, financial literacy, job readiness skills, assistance with removing civil barriers, and employment experiences in the form of paid internships. Participants receive participation stipends along with bus passes, campus meal vouchers, school supplies, scholarships for continued pursuit of academic programs, and more. Additionally, CFSI connects participants with an internship to gain workplace experience and credibility for their path forward.

“The sheer number of immediate successful outcomes is major in regards to credits earned, certifications obtained, skills acquired, and more,” said Ariel Moore, senior director of CFSI. “But it doesn’t end there. Part of being part of CFSI is rebuilding confidence, identity, and a community that they can always turn to.” That community includes friends, leaders, and businesses who partner with OSU-OKC and make a commitment to these students’ futures.

“Participants who complete the CFSI program gain invaluable skills, work experience, and certifications to add to their resume, are awarded up to nine college credits while enrolled in the nine-month program, and are positioned to successfully enter the workforce or assimilate into the general student body to continue working toward their chosen academic degree program,” said Jackie Weston, senior director of Institutional Grants and Compliance at OSU-OKC. “The services provided through CFSI will not only improve the lives of participants but will help Oklahoma achieve a more skilled and educated workforce.”   

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