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Oklahoma City - An OSU Degree in OKC.

About CFSI

About CFSI

CFSI’s Mission: Purpose and Hope

CFSI is a developing initiative which creates educational pathways for individuals with social barriers so they can reach their career goals and meet the workforce needs of the community. This is achieved through not only a like-minded and supportive community, but also through higher education, training, and personal and professional development. 

Program Information

CFSI was created as a professional and career development initiative specializing in growing individuals who have overcome many different social barriers including mental health disorders, foster care involvement, addiction, trauma, incarceration, homelessness, domestic violence, and more. Participants become students of OSU-OKC and pursue various individualized degree paths such as graphic design, small business management, accounting, administration, marketing, production/media, social work, general business, addictions counseling, information technology, and more. Career paths are developed around each student’s individual interests, abilities, and goals. 

Students are given a participation stipend to come to campus Monday through Friday and participate in various trainings such as Brene Brown’s Dare to Lead, Crucial Conversations, GiANT Worldwide’s 5 Voices and Leadership Tools, Public Speaking, Peer Recovery Support Specialist (PRSS) certification training as well as listen to numerous industry leaders share insight and encouragement about how to navigate a career as a new professional. The students also take part in a spinoff of Toastmasters, have a college club called Things That Matter where they organize and coordinate their own community outreach projects led by their elected officials (President, Vice President, Treasurer, etc.), take numerous noncredit certifications tailored to their interests and degree paths, and take college courses.  

Students are able to apply to CFSI through the OSU-OKC website where they are directed to write and submit an essay about why they want to be a part of CFSI, provide referrals, take assessments and placement tests, and are then vetted through an interview process by a selection committee. The cohort is selected during the summer, begins with the academic semester each August and then ends with a completion ceremony in May of the following year. After program completion in May, students assimilate into the general OSU OKC student body and/or immediately begin their employment. They are also indefinitely a part of the CFSI community where they lean on and support each other – similar to the experience of being a part of a fraternity or sorority in college! 

Internship Program 

As a part of the CFSI initiative, each student receives an internship position at an organization that either directly relates to their desired career path or one that gives them the development opportunity necessary to get them to the next stage of their career goals. Internship hours are 1:00pm -3:30pm, Monday through Thursday, and are paid for by the program (so at no cost to employers). Interns are expected to enhance their professional and presentation skills (including verbal/nonverbal communication), industry knowledge, and career skills. Internship activities include: entry-level administrative tasks, scanning/copying projects, answering emails or phone calls, general business tasks, customer service, controlled or noncontrolled opportunities to carry out tasks in which the intern has responsibility for and can take pride in the outcome, company projects or events, participation in company meetings, operational problem-solving opportunities, and other duties as assigned. Each student will learn about their company's mission, culture, and goals and present an internship project to all internship employer partners on Presentation Day in May. 

Who Qualifies? 

Anyone with social barriers such as a history of incarceration, addiction, trauma, poverty, homelessness, abuse, mental health disorders, or domestic violence. 

Program Elements 

  • Paid internships
  • Participation stipends 
  • Laptops
  • School supplies and books
  • Campus meals
  • College Courses
  • Trainings and certifications
  • Assistance with Driver’s Education
  • Wraparound support services from partner agencies
  • Field trips, cultural events, and group activities
  • Community and fellowship with other second chance professionals