Austin Interfaith calls on the Mayor and City Council to fund Capital IDEA to 2.5million in this year’s budget. Capital IDEA is Austin’s most effective strategy to prepare low-income, minority, first-generation in college adults to fill Austin’s abundant opportunities in nursing, other health care and IT. This increase of $700,000 in city funding would allow 85 more adults, in addition to the 900 students already in the program, to lift themselves out of poverty and into living wage jobs. Capital IDEA contributes to Austin’s economic development, as the average Capital IDEA student enters the program earning on average $10,461, and upon completion earns on average $40,914.
Earlier this year when the increase in the homestead exemption was passed, the council gave assurances that this would not negatively impact programs which invest in human development, like Capital IDEA, after school programs, and Parent Support Specialists. Our city’s investment in these programs needs to keep pace with our growing population and persistent inequality and poverty rates in Austin. A recent independent evaluation showed a 950 percent return on investment to the federally-funding, City-managed “patient to practitioner” project. It turned low-income clients using our safety net institutions into health care professionals staffing them.