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Oklahoma City - An OSU Degree in OKC.

About CFSI

Program Information

CFSI stands as a beacon of hope, offering a comprehensive workforce development initiative tailored to the needs of Oklahomans transitioning from various challenging situations, including incarceration, homelessness, foster care, domestic violence, substance abuse addiction, or mental health disorders. This transformative program not only provides post-secondary education and training but also cultivates a supportive environment conducive to long-term recovery and personal growth. At CFSI, participants embark on a journey towards empowerment, equipped with the tools and resources necessary to secure meaningful employment. Through an intensive curriculum, students gain invaluable skills and hands-on experience via internships, all while earning college credit hours and supplementary credentials. In the previous academic year alone (2022-2023), our dedicated students collectively engaged in over 3,800 hours of immersive learning experiences and contributed nearly 3,400 hours to internship opportunities, underscoring their commitment to self-improvement and community engagement. Upon successful completion of the program, graduates seamlessly transition into the broader student body, continuing their academic pursuits with newfound confidence and determination. By fostering a culture of inclusivity and opportunity, CFSI not only transforms individual lives but also plays a pivotal role in shaping a more skilled and educated workforce for the state of Oklahoma. Join us in our mission to empower individuals and build a brighter future for our community. 

Funding Source and Mission: CFSI receives partial funding through a Congressionally-directed Community Project Fund, as stipulated in the Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2022. This support enables us to serve a diverse range of individuals, including justice-involved individuals, Oklahomans who have experienced homelessness or domestic violence, individuals in long-term recovery from substance abuse addiction or mental health disorders, and former foster-involved youth. With this backing, CFSI is dedicated to providing essential resources and opportunities for academic and professional achievement. 

Participant Acceptance Criteria: Candidates interested in joining the program undergo a thorough selection process to ensure alignment with our mission and readiness for post-secondary education. The application process includes an online submission, an essay component, and the provision of three character references. Then, applicants engage in an in-person interview conducted by a panel of various OSU-OKC staff members, representing diverse areas such as Academics, Disability Services & Diversity, Career Services, and other campus federal grant programs.

Selection Committee Evaluation: The interview committee evaluates each candidate based on several criteria, including levels of college-readiness, stability factors such as mental health, sobriety, housing, and support systems, as well as their commitment to and enthusiasm for pursuing post-secondary education. Importantly, the committee assesses the compatibility of OSU-OKC's program offerings with the applicant's desired career path, ensuring a meaningful and supportive educational journey. 

Commitment to Continuous Improvement: While we uphold rigorous standards for program acceptance, we recognize that individual circumstances and aspirations may evolve over time. Therefore, individuals who are not accepted into the program for any reason are encouraged to reapply for consideration in subsequent CFSI cohorts. Those individuals are also provided with multiple alternate options to assist with their pursuit of higher education and workforce readiness. This commitment to inclusivity and ongoing support underscores our dedication to empowering individuals on their path to success. 

By upholding these standards and values, CFSI remains steadfast in its mission to provide transformative educational opportunities and support for individuals facing unique challenges, ultimately creating a more resilient and empowered community.

Learning Outcomes

Campus Integration: Students develop a deep understanding of campus resources, effortlessly navigating tutoring services, SOAR program offerings, student clubs, professor interactions, advising department communications, and financial aid channels. 

Emotional Intelligence: Cultivating heightened self-awareness, empathy, and social acumen, participants emerge with refined emotional intelligence crucial for personal and professional success. Beyond sobriety or mental health stabilization, this skillset empowers individuals to properly navigate interpersonal dynamics, defuse conflicts gracefully, and harmonize with diverse perspectives, fostering an environment of mutual respect and understanding.

Communication: Participants refine their communication skills to become adept problem-solvers, risk mitigators, boundary setters, and self-advocates. Recognizing the pivotal role of effective communication, participants leverage their newfound proficiency to excel in networking, leadership opportunities, and public speaking engagements.

Identity and Personal Branding: Through individualized experiences such as Clifton Strengths Finder assessments, GiANT Worldwide’s 5 Voices, and engaging team activities, participants embark on a journey of self-discovery and personal branding. Inspired by guest speakers and industry exposure, participants craft their unique identities, bolstered by professional headshots and the creation of LinkedIn profiles.

Direct Employment Skills: Participants acquire vital employment skills, including PRSS certifications, personalized career services, and immersive trainings such as Dare to Lead by Brené Brown and Hope Champion by Lynn Institute. Opportunities for paid internships, computer classes, and diverse training modules ensure participants are primed for professional success. 

Engaged Community Leadership: Participants assume leadership roles within the peer-led student club, Things That Matter (TTM), from program launch. Through collaborative community projects, budget management, and team-based initiatives, participants foster a culture of morale enhancement within the CFSI program while simultaneously serving and uplifting the OSU-OKC campus and the broader Oklahoma City community.

Who Qualifies? 

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

CFSI Student Handbook

For additional program information and guidelines, please review the current CFSI Student Handbook.